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2016 NBA All-Star Saturday, D-League All-Star Game preview and open thread

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Talk about Saturday's events here.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

All-Star Saturday is arguably as big a spectacle as the main event on Sunday itself. After all, you have a number of notable players showing off and showing their best skills.

Let's go through the events for the day, which doesn't include events for the association itself.

NBA D-League Three-Point Contest

When: 1:30 p.m. ET at Ricoh Coliseum

Who's in:

  • Jimmer Fredette, Westchester Knicks
  • Reggie Hearn, Reno Bighorns
  • Andre Ingram, Los Angeles D-Fenders
  • Omari Johnson, Maine Red Claws
  • Nick Minnerath, Canton Charge
  • Scot Suggs, Raptors 905

Why this event's notable: Jarell Eddie was last year's three-point champ.

NBA D-League All-Star Game

When: 2 p.m. ET at Ricoh Coliseum, watch on NBA TV

Who's in:

Eastern Conference Western Conference
Player (Team) Pos. Player (Team) Pos.
Keith Appling (Erie)* G Brandon Ashley (Texas) F
Jordan Bachynski (Westchester)** C Jeff Ayres (Idaho)* C
Keith Benson (Sioux Falls)** C Vander Blue (Los Angeles) G
Lorenzo Brown (Grand Rapids) G Will Cummings (Rio Grande Valley) G
Rakeem Christmas (Fort Wayne)* C Micheal Eric (Texas) C
Quinn Cook (Canton)** G Erick Green (Reno)* G
Jimmer Fredette (Westchester) G Justin Harper (Los Angeles) F
Tre Kelley (Sioux Falls) G Tu Holloway (Texas)** G
Sean Kilpatrick (Delaware)* G Vincent Hunter (Reno) F
DeAndre Liggins (Sioux Falls) F Orlando Johnson (Austin) G
Jordan McRae (Delaware)* G Cady Lalanne (Austin)** C
Jordan Mickey (Maine)* F Ricky Ledo (Reno Bighorns)** G
Ronald Roberts Jr. (Raptors 905) F Xavier Munford (Bakersfield) G
Alex Stepheson (Iowa) C Raphiael Putney (Rio Grande Valley) F
Jarnell Stokes (Sioux Falls)* F Elliot Williams (Santa Cruz) G
Scott Suggs (Raptors 905)** G

*Current NBA player

**Injury Replacement

NBA D-League Dunk Contest

When: Halftime of the NBA D-League All-Star Game

Who's in:

  • Jarvis Threatt, Rio Grande Valley Vipers
  • J.P. Tokoto, Oklahoma City Blue
  • D.J. Stephens, Canton Charge
  • Walt Lemon, Jr., Fort Wayne Mad Ants
  • Keifer Sykes, Austin Spurs
  • John Jordan, Raptors 905
What's notable: Sykes and Jordan are listed below six feet tall. People love rooting for dunkers who aren't over 6'6.

NBA All-Star Saturday Night

Watch: 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

Where: The Air Canada Centre

Change: The Shooting Stars competition is gone and the WNBA has no presence except for that celebrity game

I'll start this with a quick story. A couple weeks ago, AP women's basketball writer Doug Feinberg hosted a Twitter Q&A with a number of notable women's athletes, including Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird. One fan asked Bird a question about the NBA All-Star Game and whether she was participating:

I didn't think much of Bird's answer at the time. First, she actually answered a question WE -- as in Bullets Forever -- asked her which was in regard to the WNBA's playoff changes:

But to the topic at hand, I didn't think much of Bird's answer about the All-Star Game. There are plenty of great WNBA players and Bird is just one player who could be there.

Now, we know why the WNBA in general has a smaller presence for this year's All-Star Weekend.

The Shooting Stars competition has been eliminated. This was a contest where an NBA player, WNBA player, and a retired NBA player shoot from a variety of targets. The last shot was from half court, which sometimes was a pain in the butt as we saw ten or eleven straight bricks from deep in a row.

I won't lose sleep over the elimination of this event, but as David Vertsberger wrote on Hardwood Paroxysm, the NBA could have done more to showcase WNBA players during this weekend. If the D-League's All-Star Game is on, there could be more for the WNBA, even during its long All-Star Game.

I think there are better ways to highlight the W during this weekend, and this piece I wrote last year on Swish Appeal on how the experience could be improved is one example. Unfortunately, none of those suggestions have been done, at least not yet.

The rest of the events are listed below.

Skills Challenge

Here are the participants. I'm looking forward to seeing a number of post players like Cousins, Green, and Towns show their moves on the court and go through a bunch of obstacles.

Since Green is in this competition, you know who inspired him to be in this competition. He's the guy I'm rooting for!

Three Point Contest

Here are the guys in the contest. I have no idea why Jared Dudley isn't in it....

  • Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (defending champ)
  • James Harden, Houston Rockets
  • Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
  • Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
  • Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  • J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers
  • C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers (replaces injured Chris Bosh)
  • Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Slam Dunk Contest

Here are the dunkers. LaVine is a runaway favorite considering how he dominated the competition last year.

That's all I have. Enjoy your Saturdays.