And now, we break in the action to bring you the 2015 NBA All-Star weekend extravaganza.
Every NBA All-Star Saturday Night since 2008 has included at least one Oklahoma City Thunder player in of its competitions. That streak will most likely end this year, since Steven Adams had to bow out with a broken hand. Oklahoma City's roster is full of players with different skill sets. Some of these particular skill sets just happened to be perfect fits for some of these All-Star competitions. Even the players that don't have what it takes to compete in these contests (see: Perkins, Kendrick), it'd still be fun to imagine if they did.
So for purely hypothetical purposes, let's see which contest each member of the Thunder would fit.
Russell Westbrook: Dunk Contest
Westbrook has competed, and lost, in the Skills Challenge three consecutive times, as well as the Shooting Stars challenge once. He's thought about competing in the past.
With who has been competing the last few years, Westbrook would most likely be the favorite to win, if he chose to compete.
Andre Roberson: Dunk Contest
This was a really hard one. A REALLY hard one. I ended up choosing dunk contest by default, because the other three contests entail shooting with any sort of range. It'd be tough to air ball a dunk. Plus, Andre Roberson can throw down a bit.
Kevin Durant: Three Point Shootout
KD has competed in the Shootout twice before, both times losing. I wouldn't put my money on him this year, but normally, It'd be a safe bet that Durant would make it to the final round. He is a career 38% 3 point shooter, and unlike most of the players in the Shootout, most of his are off the dribble.
Serge Ibaka: Three Point Shootout
Serge has competed in the dunk contest before, and like his shot chart illustrates, he likes to try new things. Ibaka is shooting 39% from 3 this year, while burying 71 on the season. His newly found range can help him capture his first All Star competition trophy, although his mechanically precise but slow release may make it tough to actually complete all five racks of basketballs.
Steven Adams: Dunk Contest
Finding a contest for Thunder big men to compete in is never easy. With Adams being one of the more athletic, we'll put him in the dunk contest. This decision comes with a caveat, as he has to have Reggie/Dion miss a layup first, so he can slam it. As athletic and good as he is, Adams is probably not the favorite to win the thing most years.
Reggie Jackson: Skills Competition
Yes, Reggie lost last year in the skills competition, but he coasted the whole way through. Now he knows what it takes and is determined to win this year. As long as whoever's coaching him makes sure he doesn't do a stepback jumper when shooting at the top of the key, he's my pick to win most years.
Dion Waiters: Skills Competition
Actually, last year's skills competition was duo-based, so Reggie and Dion would have to do it together. This will either give them some quality bonding time, or one of them will throw it just to make the other mad. Both are capable of winning this thing, but together, they'll be unstoppable!
Anthony Morrow: Three Point Shootout
Nick Collison: Three Point Shootout
Nick has proven capable to make a few threes, if given the space, and frankly, where else would you put him? Unfortunately, getting through all five racks would be tough for Nick as well, given his deep knee bend every time he loads up to fire a shot.
Kendrick Perkins: Shooting Stars
You give Perk the closest shot, and then let him chuck up half-court shots. He might surprise us, given that his shooting touch seems to improve the farther away he is from the rim.
Jeremy Lamb: Three Point Shootout
Since this competition doesn't involve Scott Brooks, and/or playing defense, he should be good. All jokes aside, Lamb is a pretty decent three point shooter, especially when he gets his feet set.
Perry Jones: Dunk Contest...Judge
We're making a special case for our good friend, Perry Jones. He'd be perfect for the dunk contest. He's an excellent dunker, with astounding athletic ability. The problem is, he just wanted to sit there and watch! So that's what we're going to do. Perry Jones: Dunk Contest Judge.
Ish Smith: Skills Competition
This dude can fly. Ish would be great for the skills contest. He can get down there, do the pass on the first try, and... wait... I forgot there's a jump shot in there. Regardless, he'll make it in under a minute.
Grant Jerrett: Three Point Shootout
I'm being told that Grant Jerrett can actually shoot, but I haven't seen it. Jerrett is 1 for 13 from 3, and looks like he's playing in ankle weights. I'm putting him in the shootout, just based on reputation.
Mitch McGary: Skills Competition
This would be fun to watch. During Summer League, McGary got the rebound, and dribbled up the floor several times. It all depends on the jump shot, but I think he'd stand a chance. He also did this once, which is both goofy and impressive at the same time.