Though the likes of Zach Lavine, Aaron Gordon, Klay Thompson, and Karl-Anthony Towns brought the glory back to NBA All-Star Saturday night and ensured it was one to remember for the ages, their respective D-League predecessors had difficulty coming up with a hearty appetizer to satisfy the hunger of fans hoping to be impressed.
D-League players always keep in mind that they are constantly being watched, and NBA All-Star Weekend is no different, as just about everyone who's everyone has their eyes on the talent in Toronto. But while NBA all-stars can give the fans what they want by making it rain from down and slamming down a boatload of eye-popping dunks, the D-League contest is less about the theatrics, and more so about players continuing to prove themselves on yet another stage. Executives are still looking for high character players with good attitude, high fundamentals, and more. As such, there's a higher commitment to defensive intensity, careful ball movement, and steady pace than there is in the big league game.
With everyone hoping to be seen, the D-League all-star coaches did a phenomenal job of distributing minutes accordingly to ensure plenty of players received worthwhile shine. Six players scored in double-figures from each squad, but the game was undoubtedly spearheaded by the respective prowess of NBA vet Jimmer Fredette, who poured in 35 points (while also knocking down six daggers from deep) en route to leading the Eastern Conference squad to victory. Continue below for a look at how Fredette took the game into his own hands.
And though Fredette ran away with MVP honors for the game, he failed to also win the minor league's Three-Point Contest prior to the big game. He came in second place to D-Fenders' sharpshooter Andre Ingram.
At halftime, the D-League Slam Dunk Contest took place, but unfortunately, such a contest left much to be desired. The Raptors 905's own John Jordan secured the victory with arguably one or two of the best dunks the contest has ever seen, but otherwise, the contest itself was lacking. Participants seemed unprepared as they cracked under the pressure, failing to complete dunks before time expired, missing multiple attempts, and seemingly panicking when things didn't initially go their way initially. Jordan was a worthy victor, but it's not as though the rest of the playing field put up much of a fight the rest of the way. Nevertheless, here's a look at some of the better dunks from the contest itself. It makes sense that the league's "ULTIMATE" mixtape is only forty seconds long.