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KAT wins Three-Point Shootout, Slam Dunk Contest leaves fans yawning

Karl-Anthony Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 All-Star festivities were in full swing Saturday, as we witnessed a high-scoring Three-Point Shootout, a new Skills Challenge format, an anticlimactic Slam Dunk Contest and a very cringey drinking game between the Currys and 2 Chainz. The All-Star Game is Sunday between Team LeBron and Team Durant, but I’m going to break down all of Saturday’s activities and provide some fun facts and history to put a bow on it. Are you ready?

2022 Skills Challenge

Antetokounmpos: Giannis, Thanasis, Alex

Cavs: Jarrett Allen, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley

Rookies: Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, Josh Giddey

Rather than a single-person head-to-head event as we’ve seen in years past, the 2022 Skills Challenge mixed up the format with a three-team competition that consisted of the usual passing, dribbling and shooting drills.

The Antetokounmpos were knocked out in the first round, and the Cavs took home the trophy by hitting a half-court shot faster than the Rookies with a heave from Mobley on his second attempt.

Rating: 4/10

It was fun to see a change of format, and the team aspect was enjoyable, but there wasn’t much wow factor.

2022 Three-Point Contest

Participants

  • Fred VanVleet, G, Toronto Raptors: VanVleet averages 4.0 triples per game on 40.1% shooting this season.
  • Desmond Bane, G, Memphis Grizzlies: The talented second-year man has hit 2.9 threes per game at 41.9% this season.
  • Luke Kennard, G, Los Angeles Clippers: The two-time Ohio Mr. Basketball is averaging 2.7 threes on 44.8% shooting. He ranks just behind P.J. Tucker for highest three-point percentage, and he’s hit at least 44% of his threes in two straight seasons.
  • CJ McCollum, G, New Orleans Pelicans: The new Pelican has hit 15-of-30 attempts from beyond the arc in his last four games.
  • Patty Mills, G, Brooklyn Nets: Mills is hitting a career-high 3.2 triples on 41.9% shooting this season. He averages 39.2% shooting from beyond the arc for his career.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves: The only center in the contest, Towns is shooting better than 40% from beyond the arc for the fourth straight season.
  • Zach LaVine, G, Chicago Bulls: ZLV has averaged 3.1 triples on 40% shooting over the last three seasons.
  • Trae Young, G, Atlanta Hawks: He’s hitting 3.0 triples per game for the second time in his career.

Luke Kennard (28), Trae Young (22) and Karl-Anthony Towns (22) advanced to the final round behind strong first-round scores. All three had solid final rounds as well, but KAT mopped up with a final-round record of 29 points. He becomes the first center to win the award and just the third player 6’10 and over to win it (Dirk Nowitzki, Peja Stojakovic).

Rating: 7/10

There were some strong shooters in this one, and it was fun to see Big KAT come away with the trophy in a competitive event.

2022 Slam Dunk Contest

Participants

Jalen Green, G, Houston Rockets

Cole Anthony, G, Orlando Magic

Obi Toppin, F, New York Knicks

Juan Toscano-Anderson, F, Golden State Warriors

The lack of star power in recent dunk contests culminated in Saturday night’s snoozer. Jalen Green took 50 attempts in Round 1, and Juan Toscano-Anderson had a combined score of 69 out of a possible 100 in the finals after failing to complete his second dunk. Obi Toppin captured the win with a final dunk that had no business getting a 47. Overall, this was one to forget.

Rating: 0.5/10

This will likely go down as one of the worst dunk contests in NBA history due to a complete lack of creativity, horrendous execution and dearth of star power. Yawn.

All-Star Game History and Records

The first All-Star Game was held on March 2, 1951 at Boston Garden, and the East beat the West 111-94. The MVP Award was created in 1953, but it was retroactively awarded to Ed Maccauley of the Celtics, making him the first to officially win it. The most recent All-Star Game MVP is Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Lakers have had eleven winners, and the Celtics have eight. Giannis is the only international player to ever win the award. Bob Pettit (1958, 1959) and Russell Westbrook (2015, 2016) are the only players to win ASG MVP in two straight seasons.

Most ASG MVPs: Kobe Bryant and Bob Pettit (4 each)

Three-time winners: Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James

Two-time winners: Bob Cousy, Julius Erving, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Allen Iverson, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant

Youngest to win ASG MVP: LeBron James (06) at 21 years old

Players to win MVP and All-Star Game MVP in the same season: Bob Pettit, Bob Cousy, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, Willis Reed, Dave Cowens, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson - Jordan is the only one to do it more than once with three times.

Most appearances: LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabar (18 each)

Most All-Star selections

Top all-time scorers

  1. LeBron James 389
  2. Kobe Bryant 290
  3. Michael Jordan 262
  4. Kareem Abdul-Jabar 251
  5. Kevin Durant 250

Most points per game

  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo 28.8
  2. Kevin Durant 25.0
  3. LeBron James 22.9
  4. Oscar Robertson and Anthony Davis 20.5 each

Highest combined scoring

  1. 2017: 374
  2. 2016: 369
  3. 2019: 342
  4. 2015: 321
  5. 2021: 320

Highest-scoring games

  1. Anthony Davis: 52 in 2017
  2. Wilt Chamberlain: 42 in 1962
  3. Russell Westbrook: 41 in 2015 and 2017. He’s the only player to score at least 40 twice.
  4. Paul George: 41 in 2016
  5. Michael Jordan: 40 in 1988

Most rebounds: Bob Pettit (27) in 1962 - a 60-year-old record that will likely never be broken

Most assists: Magic Johnson (22) in 1984

Most steals: Rick Barry (8) in 1975

Most blocks: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6) in 1980

Most FG made: Anthony Davis (26) in 2017

Most 3-pointers made: Paul George (9) in 2016

Most FT made: Elgin Baylor in 1962 and Oscar Robertson in 1965 (12 each)

Three-Point Contest History and Records

Larry Bird won the first three from 1986-88 and Craig Hodges won from 1990-92. They remain the only two players to win three times and win three consecutively. Other multi-time winners are Mark Price (93-94), Jeff Hornacek (1998 and 2000), Peja Stojakovic (02-03), Jason Kapono (07-08) and Steph Curry (15, 21).

Rimas Kurtinaitis participated in the event in 1989, making him the only non-NBA player to ever participate. He finished in last with just nine points.

The final round of the 2019 Three-Point contest saw Joe Harris beat the next two winners in Buddy Hield (2020) and Steph Curry (2021)

The Bulls and Celtics have each had four victories, while the Kings, Warriors and Cavaliers have had three apiece. Steph Curry had the longest layoff between wins and is the only multi-time winner not to win the event back-to-back (Hornacek won consecutively, as there was no All-Star event in 1999).

Most shots made in one round: Craig Hodges (21)

Most consecutive shots made: Craig Hodges (19)

Fewest points: Detlef Schrempf (88) and Michael Jordan (90) with five each… yes, Michael Jordan holds this dubious honor

Youngest player to win: Kyrie Irving (20)

Slam Dunk Contest Awards and History

The first-ever Slam Dunk Contest was held in 1976 by the ABA, where unsurprisingly, Julius Erving took home the title. The contest was adopted by the NBA eight years later. The very first NBA Slam Dunk Contest was won by Larry Nance Sr. in 1984. The Knicks have five champions, the Hawks have four, and the Heat and Timberwolves have three apiece.

Shortest player to win: Spud Webb (5’7)

Most titles: Nate Robinson (3) - he’s the only player to win it three times

Multi-time winners: Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan, Harold Miner, Jason Richardson and Zach LaVine

Greatest Moments in Dunk Contest history:

Zach LaVine vs. Aaron Gordon (2016)

Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilikins (1988): Jordan’s foul-line dunk

Dwight Howard’s Superman cape dunk (2008)

Vince Carter’s “It’s over” to the cameras (2000)

Skills Challenge History and Records

The Skills Challenge ran in its traditional format from 2003 until 2021 as a single-player competition. The format changed this season with three trios facing off against one another. The only two-time winners of the original event were Dwyane Wade (06-07), Steve Nash (05, 10) and Damian Lillard (13-14). Centers won four of the last six.