All-Star weekend has come and gone in a highlight filled weekend. The Minnesota Timeberwolves showed off their young pieces in rising stars MVP Andrew Wiggins, and dunk contest monster Zach Lavine. Meanwhile the rest of the NBA showcased their stars with guys like Steph Curry, Kyle Korver, and Klay Thompson lighting up the 3-point contest, and then Russell Westbrook set the world on fire in the All-Star game itself on Sunday.
During all the fun and games there was an NBA team that felt kind of left out of all the fun. The Charlotte Hornets only had two people representing them all weekend and one of them only kind of counts. Cody Zeller had a solid game in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, but nobody went to bed that night thinking of all those screens he set. Then on Saturday the Hornets were represented in the Shooting Stars Challenge by color commentator Dell Curry. It was fun to see Curry in a group pairing with his son, but he was quickly ousted in the first round thus ending the Hornets representation in All-Star Weekend.
It was fun to see the Hornets get a little representation but fans want more. They want their players all over All-Star weekend from Friday to Sunday! Of the current roster these players have the best chance of making an appearance in a future All-Star Weekend.
Jefferson's first year with the Bobcats started off plagued by injuries. He got off to a very rough start and didn't manage to find a groove until January. Unfortunately for him Charlotte wasn't a team over .500, and even though he played some incredible basketball before the big event, the coaches decided to leave Big Al off the team. This was disappointing for Hornets fans, because it's generally agreed that Jefferson won't be able to replicate what he did in his first year in Charlotte.
However, if by some chance Jefferson is able to come into a future season firing on all cylinders, and the Hornets manage to grab a handful of wins before the break in February, maybe Big Al will find himself playing on Sunday with the rest of the NBA's big stars.
This one feels even more unlikely than Jefferson just because the NBA is stacked with incredible point guards. Kemba Walker has improved some facet of his game every year he's been in the NBA, and he appears ready to really break out and have a fantastic year for Charlotte. The problem is even if he does that he has to top this year's group of point guards, Kyle Lowry, Jeff Teague, John Wall, and Kyrie Irving, as well as the immensely popular Derrick Rose. It's a really tough road for Walker if he wants to find his way to sunday, but maybe he can participate in the weekend in other ways.
Nobody said that Walker can't take part in Saturday night's skills challenge. This year's adaptation of the skills challenge featured players racing against each other in a bracket style tournament to try and complete the course the fastest. This is just the kind of event that Walker's speed was made for, and there's just enough random chance to give him a chance of winning it all as well. After all, any event that says Patrick Beverley is the most skilled player in the NBA is probably winnable for Walker.
Nobody is really sure what to make of MKG at the moment. He's shown lots of improvement in his game this season on the offensive end, and he might already be the best perimeter defender in the NBA. Is he on pace to become the Hornets best player, and perhaps, a star in the NBA? He has all the physical tools to become one of the NBA's best players, and his mentality is shifting towards that as well, but where he stands among the NBA's elite is highly dependent on his offense. If that part of his game ever comes around then we could see him playing in an All-Star Game one day in the future.
When Stephenson arrived in Charlotte there was a lot of excitement surrounding him. He had an All-Star caliber season in his final year with Indiana and the potential of him getting better had fans over the top excited. That was until he started playing and everybody saw that his fit with the team was an absolute nightmare. While it's unlikely Stephenson will ever become the Hornets best player and get to an All-Star game that way there is the potential of him contributing to a very successful season and getting there with teammates, like the Hawks this season.
While an All-Star game doesn't appear to be in the cards for Stephenson he is a possible skills competition player. He's been compared to a point guard in his play style and it would be fun to see him attempt to win the event. He doesn't have the speed of a lot of his competitors, but this year showed that speed isn't everything to winning the event.
Hairston hasn't gotten a whole lot of time to shine this year and that's part of why he didn't get a chance to play in this year's Rising Stars Challenge. With the Gary Neal trade a spot has opened up in the rotation for Hairston and the gunner role fits his play style perfectly. He's not the best young player out there, but his increased role will give him the numbers that appeals to an event like the Rising Stars Challenge.
Of course, there's also the 3-point contest. Hairston loves to fire 3-pointers and I can't see how he doesn't end up in the event at least once during his career. Curry, Korver, Wes Matthews, and Thompson can't compete in it every year can they?
The limited game time of Vonleh this season means we have no idea what kind of player he can become. However, if he gets a larger role next season we could see him in the Rising Stars Challenge.
Brian Roberts will most likely never play in an All-Star game. He's just not that type of player, but he's not too bad a 3-point shooter. Maybe he makes a 3-point contest appearance sometime in his career? It's a bit of a stretch but still a possibility.
While all these names are fun it should be noted that a few of them might not even be on the Hornets that much longer. There's also the possibilities of trades and free agency, or the draft bringing in future all-stars, but for now the Hornets chances at taking part in All-Star weekend relies on the more specialized events rather than the All-Star game itself.