2020 NBA All-Star Game: Eight bold predictions, including LeBron James helping Anthony Davis win MVP
Let's throw out some bold predictions for what should be a fun -- and maybe confusing -- night
CHICAGO -- The 2020 NBA All-Star Game takes place on Sunday, and there are plenty of reasons to be excited. The exhibition has undergone some changes in recent years, including captains picking their teams playground-style, and,, some pretty extreme scoring changes. But, no matter the tweaks, the bottom line is always the same: You get to watch the best basketball players in the world do what they do best.
Every year has its own quirks and wrinkles, but we did our best to make some bold predictions for this year's game. Not all of them will come to fruition (probably), and there will undoubtedly be some crazy things that happen that are impossible to predict, but it's always fun to speculate. Here we go.
1. NBA Twitter is going to be very angry
The All-Star Game has a new scoring format this year and, if the initial reaction is any indication, fans aren't too excited about it. Rather than a traditional game where you keep score for four quarters, there are actually four mini-games with the score resetting after the first three quarters and the game ending when one team gets to a certain point total instead of whoever has more points when the buzzer sounds (there is no clock in the fourth quarter). Confused? You're not the only one. As the game goes on this Sunday, fans will likely grow more and more frustrated with the unique scoring system, and when fans are frustrated there's only one place they go: Twitter. Get ready for a deluge of angry tweets directed toward the NBA and possibly commissioner Adam Silver.
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2. LeBron James will help Anthony Davis win MVP
All year long, LeBron has been pumping up Anthony Davis, stating before the season even started that the offense should run through Davis, not himself. Whether that's true or not is up for debate, but Davis comes into the All-Star break averaging more points than LeBron. If this continues, it would be the first time in LeBron's entire career that he hasn't been the leading scorer on his team. In keeping with the trend of taking a back seat and helping his teammate, it would make sense for James to do everything in his power to help Davis get the All-Star Game MVP in his hometown of Chicago. Davis won the award in New Orleans back in 2017 as a member of the Pelicans, so he knows what it takes to take home the hardware. Plus it always helps to have LeBron on your side.
3. Nikola Jokic will do something hilarious
Everything about Jokic is unique -- his body frame, his skill set, his personality. As a result, he tends to do things in games that you've never seen before, whether it's an audacious pass, or the time he handed the ball to LeBron James while he was standing out of bounds.
Chances are the Joker will be back at it again on Sunday, whether it's a nutmeg or a pass off his head. Don't take your eyes off him when he's on the court.
4. More defense will be played
I know it sounds ridiculous, but there could actually be more defense played on Sunday than what we're used to seeing in All-Star Games, and that has everything to do with the format. With the clock resetting after each of the first three quarters, there are essentially three mini-games for charity before the fourth quarter. These players are extremely competitive -- they wouldn't have gotten this far if they weren't -- so it's hard to imagine they'll be content allowing breakaway dunks and wide-open 3-pointers if it means they're going to lose the quarter. In past All-Star Games, the defense has generally started with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter. On Sunday, maybe the defense will start with five minutes to go in each quarter. We'll see.
5. James Harden will complain to the refs about a missed call (or two)
You can't change your stripes, and protesting non-calls is as big a part of Harden's offensive game as his step-back 3-pointer. He'll drive at least once or twice during Sunday's game, feel some contact, then turn to the refs and throw his hands up with this look on his face.
It's the All-Star Game and complaining to the refs really shouldn't be acceptable ... but it's just second nature for Harden at this point.
6. Ben Simmons will shoot a 3-pointer
The crowd and his teammates will be pleading for it every time he catches the ball behind the arc, and eventually, Simmons will relent. He made the first two 3-pointers of his career earlier this season, and is now 2 for 23 in his two and a half seasons (which is a bit misleading because it includes end-of-quarter heaves), but he won't be able to resist putting one up on Sunday. In case you're wondering, he didn't take a 3 in last year's game as a first-time All-Star.
7. Joel Embiid will have a clandestine chat with Jimmy Butler
Nobody loves trolling more than Joel Embiid, and he's recently talked about embracing his inner villain -- he even shushed his own Philly crowd during a recent game. After Embiid made an Instagram post with a cryptic quote about heroes and villains, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were "caught" having a conversation at last year's game? Amateur lip-reading abounded, which led to wild and irresponsible speculation about the two of them teaming up for the 2019-20 season ... which, of course, ended up being true. Let's hope Embiid and Butler do the same just to drive people crazy., seemingly suggesting that Embiid come join him in Miami. What better way for Embiid to add fuel to the speculation than to pull Butler aside during the game and whisper a few things in his ear? Remember what happened when
8. LeBron James will hit the game-winner
The best part about the new All-Star Game format is that there has to be a game-winning shot. Team LeBron has the far superior roster, and if they're one basket away from hitting the target score, you better believe LeBron James will take the shot. Even if his teammate Anthony Davis takes home MVP honors, LeBron will have the lasting moment in the game.
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