The NBA announced late last night who this year's participants for All-Star Saturday are, which includes the skills challenge, the 3-point shootout, and the dunk contest. You can find the full list here (skills), here (3-point), and here(dunk). To save you a few clicks, there are no Hornets. The crop's good, though.
That got us at At The Hive thinking: What Charlotte Hornets would we want to see in Saturday's events?
While we're not banking on any Hornets participating this year, it's possible that we'll see a couple next season with the 2017 All-Star Weekend being hosted by Charlotte. Anyway, here's what our crew had to say.
Assuming the skills challenge goes with the big guys entry this year, I think you send Frank Kaminsky to represent the Hornets. If it's the same small guy competition in the past, Kemba Walker is the obvious choice. Interestingly enough, you'd think they both have good shots to participate in events next year when the All Star weekend is in Charlotte (!), Frank in the Rising Stars Challenge and Kemba in the skills. Of course the hilarious choice would be Spencer Hawes. No no, Tyler Hansbrough.
Kemba Walker. His ball handling would force Nikola Mirotic to turn off the TV.
Backup Option: Nic Batum
A chance for Walker to show off his ball-handling skills? Who wouldn’t want to see that. In fact, can we turn the event into a crossover-off between Walker and Kyrie Irving? THAT I would pay to see.
I feel like this could be a lot of fun for some reason. I mean, no one would be guarding him, right? Besides, tell me it wouldn't be fun to see a big guy win with behind the back dribbles and things like that.
For the 3-point shootout, it really comes down to two guys, Troy Daniels and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. MKG IS (at the time of this writing) 100% on the season from three but I'd vote to send Daniels. He's clearly the best shooter not named MKG on the team right now, and he's hit some pretty big shots when called upon. He'd be a classic 3-point participant too as the scrappy role player made good.
Troy Daniels. He's not the flashiest, but is probably the most dead-eye 3-point shooter on the team. 3-point specialists have excelled in this competition (Jason Kapono, anyone?) which makes Daniel the best choice.
Backup Option: Marvin Williams
Troy Daniels has taken 70 3-pointers so far this season. He has made 35 of them. That’s 50%, which last I checked, is pretty darn good at any level, and particularly in the National Basketball Association. To put into perspective just how good that is, the current qualified leader in 3-point percentage is J.J. Redick, who is making 48.2% of his 3s. Let Daniels in to show his greatness!
I don't care if Walker has never shot at this level in his career. I want chaos, and what better way to do that than him blowing minds and winning the 3-point shootout?
As for the dunk contest...there haven't been too many memorable dunks for the Hornets this year...but I digress, you probably go with Jeremy Lamb. The fluidity with which he moves and his length, plus jumping ability, make him the best participant. Nicolas Batum might be a dark horse but I'd still go with the young legs on Lamb.
Frank Kaminsky (hear me out). The dunk contest these days is more about flash than substance. Dunking on athletic ability alone won't win the contest anymore; creatively counts for a lot now. Kaminsky is an unique character, and I could see him spending a lot of time crafting up a goofy routine for the contest.
[Frank picks up a mic]
Frank:"I'd like to call my dad to the floor"
[Kemba steps onto the floor, embarrassed and grinning]
Frank: "You've always been an inspiration to me dad!"
[Kemba throws Frank an alley-opp]
[Frank finishes the dunk, and celebrates by firmly shaking Spencer Hawes' hand]
Lord, how my mind wanders sometimes.
Backup Option: Cody Zeller
This was actually pretty tricky, since the Hornets are the second-worst team in the NBA when it comes to dunks — only one team (Boston, 79) has fewer than Charlotte (81). Cody Zeller leads the team with 38 dunks, which is slightly more than a quarter of what the NBA leader — DeAndre Jordan (142) — has, and the majority of Zeller’s dunks are more power than flash. Unless Pau Gasol is allowed in as a prop, my vote goes to Jeremy Lamb. He seems like the kind of player who would have a few surprise dunks that could win a contest based on shock value alone.
Is it wise to put someone coming off of shoulder surgery in a dunk contest? I don't know; I'm a basketball writer, not a doctor. What I do know is that Kidd-Gilchrist could probably throw down some good ones.
HiveTalkLive also jumped into which Hornets they'd like to see at All-Star Saturday