Last night's D-League Dream Factory Friday Night had a few problems (no audio on the league provided stream, no video on the audio stream when the Shooting Star contest came and thus no idea what was going on in the shooting star's contest since it was never explained and no audio was available, etc.), but it also produced this dunk, so I'm torn like Natalie Imbruglia on my thoughts about last night.
Still, I'm pretty optimistic about this afternoon's (2pm CT) D-League All-Star Game. I'd be much more optimistic if I had NBA TV, but I'm holding out hope that someone will drop me an illegal stream or the D-League will realize that it'd make sense that since everyone of their games are available live online that the D-League all-star game should also be available online. Either way, I'll preview the game for you all, and if I'm able to watch, will also live blog in the comments because to be honest, my Saturday afternoons don't have much else to occupy themselves with. I don't have NBA TV either, but maybe I'll go to a bar and make them put it on. If I do, my blogging may be limited but it'll sure be enthusiastic. Or as enthusiastic as I get, anyway, which is others probably would describe as "less sarcastic than usual." This plan also involves me being awake by 2 pm. - Jon L
This game is actually worth watching because it actually matters to these players - they're trying to impress the people in the crowd (not necessarily the fans, but the GM's and decision-makers) by playing solid defense and team basketball as well as showing they can easily mesh with new teammates, just like they'd have to do as an NBA call-up.
Oh, but before making the jump to read my preview, check out Mike Gansey's predictions here. He went 2-for-3 last night, predicting Dar Tucker's victory and randomly choosing Pat "Christmas" Carroll to win the Shooting Stars contest.
Most assists:, without a doubt. Not only is he the East's only point guard (who made these rosters?), but he's also leading the D-League in assists and his regular season coach, Nick Nurse, is also his all-star team's coach. Plus, he has a few of the best scorers in the D-League alongside him with Reggie Williams, and . Wow. Honorable Mention: None. I'm confident in this pick. As am I, but to make it interesting I'll say Mustafa Shakur - Jon L
Most points scored: It'd be easy to pickhere because he pretends every game is an all-star game and thus should have plenty of practice, but I'm going to avoid that and pick Reggie Williams. Essentially, he's the most efficient scorer on the team with a pass-first point guard - Curtis Stinson will be looking for highlight reel assists and Reggie Williams rarely misses. Perfect. Honorable mention: It was really hard for me not to pick Mo Almond, but I didn't. Sue me. I actually was tempted to pick Mike Harris, but since Scott believes that we'll see some defense, I think the East has some guys who can put the clamps on him. So again, to make it interesting, I'll go with Romel Beck. - Jon L
Best Match-Up:vs. Brian Butch. I'm readying a "Rob Kurz Deserves to be in the NBA" post for Monday, but if he can't dominate Brian Butch, that all might change. As far as you know, they're both the same player (Tall dudes that shoot 3-pointers), but Kurz is also becoming a force inside. With the scouts having their eyes on possible call-ups, it wouldn't surprise me one bit for Kurz to attempt to show his newly established arsenal of an inside-outside game. Mike Harris vs. whomever is guarding Mike Harris at any particular point. The East can throw Ron Howard, Trey Gilder and Reggie Williams his way, and to a slightly lesser extent Cartier Martin. This of course is predicated on defense being played. - Jon L
MVP: Curtis Stinson. As Gansey said, Stinson should thrive in this type of setting - so many options to dish the ball to and presumably running the same offense he already runs. Honorable mention: If the West wins, I'm to guess it was due to the play of RGV's. I disagree! If the West wins, and I think they might, look no further than Mustafa Shakur as the probable MVP, with some scoring as well as a passel of assists handed out to Harris, Carlos Powell, Alonzo Gee, et al. - Jon L
Winning Team: The East. There are plenty of guys on the West that have trouble meshing with their teammates of the entire season, so I don't envision them meshing with their new teammates after practicing just a day or two with them. Plus, I have to give the East a coaching advantage as well as having better scorers. All of what Scott says makes a lot of sense, but now let me tell you why he's wrong. The East has several players with...let's call it an uneven performance record this season (I won't name them here, but might if you ask nicely), whereas West players like Carlos Powell, Mike Harris, Mustafa Shakur and Dwayne Jones have been playing at a consistently high level all half-season long (you probably could include Alonzo Gee in there as well). Gimme the West! - Jon L
Random prediction: The West will outrebound the East, but will be out-assisted by about 10. My random prediction: someone in this game will have a triple-double. (Since I gave him the MVP, I guess it has to be Mustafa Shakur. But if not him, then someone else.) - Jon L
Player that will probably make me look stupid for not mentioning him: Alonzo Gee. Diamon Simpson has apparently gotten 10 inches taller recently, so it'll probably be him. - Jon L
For the full rosters of each team, as well as a preview via Matthew Brennan, go here.