The Dallas Mavericks are on a break for the 2022 All-Star game, but that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about the Mavericks while watching all the all-star festivities over the weekend. If you’re on this website during the week the Mavericks aren’t playing, you’re probably thinking about them too. So here’s a running diary of my thoughts during every event held during the 2022 All-Star weekend in Cleveland, Ohio:
Rising Stars Challenge
For the second year in a row, Josh Green wasn’t selected to the Rising Stars Challenge. You could say a lot of that has to do with playing time. Rick Carlisle kept him nailed to the bench last year, and Jason Kidd did the same early in this season. Maybe that’s why, or maybe he’s just not on the same level as a lot of the young players who participated both years. Argue in the comments.
It is a little depressing to see guys like Desmond Bane, Saddiq Bey, Precious Achiuwa, and Jaden McDaniels in this game, because the Mavericks could have drafted them instead of Green. And yeah, it’s been two years, and maybe you’re at home screaming “Get over it, they drafted Josh Green and he’s on the team now!” But I will never get over it, I will never log off.
Clutch Shooting Challenge
This was a new event for this year’s all-star weekend, and while it was a little weird, it could be fun with some tweaks. Essentially, teams made of two players each had to hit a series of shots from five locations on the court. The shot locations were based on clutch shots from NBA playoff history, such as a Magic Johnson baby hook from 1987 against the Boston Celtics and Damian Lillard’s deep 3-pointer against the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019.
Bane and Tyrese Haliburton won the challenge, with Haliburton hitting four of the shots and Bane hitting the deep Lillard 3-pointer to seal the game. Seeing Bane do well always hurts. Haliburton does as well, but at least the Mavericks tried to trade up to draft him.
The NBA revamped the Skills Challenge as well this year. Instead of individual players competing, three teams of three players each faced off against each other. The Antetokounmpo brothers made up one team, rookies Josh Giddy, Cade Cunningham, and Scottie Barnes made up another, and Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Darius Garland suited up as the Cavs team.
The competition featured four different contests — shooting, passing, obstacle course, and a half court shootout for the top two teams. The Cavs team ended up winning on a Mobley half court shot.
Luka has participated in the Skills Challenge before, but I couldn’t help but think this format would be perfect for him. Team him up with Brunson and Finney-Smith and they would do well. Or go beyond the Mavericks, and pair Luka with Jokic and Trae Young. That would be a blast.
No one from the Mavericks has competed in the 3-point contest since Dirk Nowitzki in 2019. Dirk is also the only Dallas player to ever win the 3-point contest, in 2006. Will Luka ever compete in it?
Karl-Anthony Towns won this year’s contest by the way. He’s made a total of three 3-pointers in the playoffs. Dirk made 149 in his career. Just some trivia.
Slam Dunk contest
I racked my brain for a while trying to figure out who could compete in the dunk contest for the Mavericks. I guess Josh Green? He’s athletic but I’ve never seen him dunk in a way that makes me think he could do something creative here. Frank Ntilikina? Nah.
The answer is Boban. He probably wouldn’t win, but it would be weird, and it’s fun when the all-star festivities get weird. Obi Toppin took home the trophy for this year’s contest, something I witnessed in a state of sleep paralysis brought on by eating too many chicken strips.
The expectations are always low for Luka in the All-Star Game. He’s just not super interested in it, and perfectly content to let the other all-stars shine. But a surprise! Dirk introducing Team Durant. It’s always nice to see Dirk.
Luka didn’t enter the game until late in the first quarter, then promptly hit a pair of 3-pointers to close the quarter. I had a fleeting hope that maybe Luka wanted to show out in the NBA’s showcase for once. I was very wrong. Luka continued to drift around the court, mostly watching. Maybe one day we’ll get All-Star MVP Luka.
Another surprise appearance by Dirk! Talking to...Dwyane Wade? It’s always good to hear Dirk talk basketball, and because he’s an ambassador for the NBA for their 75th anniversary celebration this year, we’re getting to see him more than usual. But I have Wade, D-Wade, Dwyane Wade, and several other instances of his name muted on Twitter for a reason. So I didn’t enjoy that part. We got to see Dirk once more at halftime, when he was honored as part of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.
Checking in on Luka — he did a promo bit for the 75th Anniversary Team at halftime, and hit a layup late in the third quarter. His lone fourth quarter contribution was getting in the way of a Jarrett Allen put-back.
The rest of the game was incredibly entertaining, with Steph Curry going supernova, scoring 49 points. LeBron James hit a game-winning fadeaway, and remains undefeated as a team captain at the NBA All-Star game.
If you were looking for Dallas Mavericks representation at NBA All-Star weekend, this year was a little weak. Hopefully in the future we’ll get a Maverick in the 3-point contest, because that’ll mean Luka has a sharpshooter on the court with him. And maybe a young guy in the dunk contest, because Dallas desperately needs more athleticism on the court.
Best of all, a fully engaged Luka in the All-Star game would be fun to see, even if it’s just once. There’s always next year, as they say.