Since he can’t get long weekend vacation out of it, Toronto Raptors Fred VanVleet is instead looking to make the most of his All-Star weekend. According to reports, the first-time All-Star will participate in the 3-point shootout on All-Star Saturday Night.
With VanVleet now participating on both Saturday and Sunday, and Precious Achiuwa and Scottie Barnes participating in Friday’s Rising Stars game, that means we have a local hooper to cheer for each night!
VanVleet is shooting 39.3% from downtown this year, on an insane (at least to me) 9.9 attempts per game. He’s cooled off slightly from that insane hot streak he had from mid-December to mid-January, where he shot 43.7% on 12.6 (!) attempts per game over a 12-game span, but hey, 39% is still pretty dang great.
Of course the raw numbers don’t account for the massive clutch threes he’s been hitting all year, perhaps none more memorable than the one that cost him $15,000:
That shot and celebration alone makes his selection in the 3-point content mandatory, as far as I’m concerned!
So far, no other participants have been named, but I would be pretty surprised if Trae Young, James Harden and Steph Curry aren’t soon named as well.
Now — are we done with All-Star news? Maybe, but maybe not! I’m still in Pascal Siakam’s corner when it comes to injury replacements for Kevin Durant, and hey, don’t you think a power forward averaging a career-high 5+ assists per game sounds like a pretty good addition to the Saturday night skills contest? Siakam last participated in the skills challenge in 2019, narrowly losing to eventual champion Bam Adebayo in the second round. I think it’s time for a rematch!
NBA All-Star Weekend kicks off on Friday, February 18 with the Rising Stars game, featuring rookies (including Barnes), sophomores (including Achiuwa) and select participants from the G-League Ignite team in a round-robin tournament. All-Star Saturday Night features the Skills Challenge, the 3-Point Shootout, and the Slam Dunk Contest. Finally the 71st NBA All-Star Game takes place on Sunday, February 20 at (roughly) 8:00 p.m.