OK, so it’s tough for Goran Dragic to make the main event, even with some Western Conference guards injuring themselves. The Suns win with a true team balance, after all. Dragic will play in the Skills Challenge by teaming with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Reggie Jackson in an event that is the second of the four different competitions that begin at 6 p.m. MST on Saturday night (Rules here).
Miles Plumlee also slipped into the Rising Stars game after somehow, some way being left off the initial list of 18 players selected. He took the injured Pero Antic’s place on Grant Hill’s team. The Rising Stars Challenge tips at 7 p.m. MST on Friday.
Here are a few things that we’ll be looking for as Suns connoisseurs.
Miles Plumlee embarrasses someone
This will likely come in the form of a dunk, but maybe
Plumdog Plumlee can display some squeaky clean handles in such a pickup game. There’s unlikely to be much defense played, but here’s to hoping the Suns’ center does some good things. Dunking on All-Star Anthony Davis would be something of a highlight, as would be dunking on his brother, Mason. Or would smashing it on top of Kelly Olynyk’s head prove a better point? How the hell was Plumlee an injury replacement?
Teach me how to (Mc)Donough
Remember when there were rumors — true or not — that Grant Hill and Charles Barkley were general manager candidates once Lance Blanks was fired? Frightening, I know. Hill got to act as GM for the Rising Stars challenge, and the Chuckster had … some input. Anyway, managing franchises isn’t in either of their plans for now, but the former Suns Hill, Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal get to steal the show as broadcasters. They play a big role is keeping our attention from otherwise boring events. Sorry, Kevin Hart.
A Suns retro dunk
No Phoenix player is participating in the Dunk Contest, and that’s fine considering the Suns get plenty of highlights from Gerald Green in games. Two years ago, Chase Budinger payed homage to Cedric Ceballos in a Phoenix jersey. Maybe it’s time for someone to pull out a Larry Nance tribute. Tough to do considering Harrison Barnes is the closest player to Nance in terms of size, and he’s still a few inches short.
Dragic and Jackson burn the competition
The Skills Challenge is generally a bit of a snoozer, but a new team format could make it a tad more gripping. DeMar DeRozan and Giannis Antetokounmpo make up one East team, while rookies Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams fill out the other. In the West, Dragic and Jackson will compete against Damian Lillard and Trey Burke. The Suns-Thunder duo is right there in terms of speed, and they’re also both very good from the mid-range. The latter perhaps gives them the advantage over the field. For Dragic to get a consolation trophy would be nice.
Steve Nash makes an apperance … somewhere
The last week got super depressing with Grantland releasing the first episode of a documentary following Nash’s battle with a back injury. No matter what you feel about his Lakers tenure, the mini-film shed light on just how hard Nash is working just to stay on the court — or try, at least. Bill Simmons captured how tough it is to see an all-time great face The Finish Line, but it’d be good to see Two-Time taking a vacation and having a beer on Bourbon Street. The guy deserves it.