NBA Skills Contest 2024 Picks, Predictions & Best Bets for NBA All-Star Weekend

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Germantas Kneita


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Like most Lithuanians, I started watching basketball from the age of six. I'm based out in London and played basketball at the University of Lincoln here in the UK. I had always had an interest in the NBA but things really took off in the summer of 2010. That year Linas Kleiza led Lithuania to 3rd place at the World Championships and signed with the Toronto Raptors to replace the departing Chris Bosh. I've been a Raptors fan since that day and I've not missed a game since. I've been handicapping games for more than a decade, specializing in player props. For Germantas Kneita media enquiries, please email
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The opening event of the All-Star Saturday is going to be the Skills challenge. It will involve 3 teams of 3 taking part in 3 different challenges. The first will be a relay race which will be followed by a passing challenge. The winning team of each of these contests will score 100 points each. The final challenge will be shooting, which in itself be worth 200 points for the victors. If there is a tie, it will come down to a half court shot for the win.

Let’s take a look at the teams below.

Team Top Picks (+130)

Anthony Edwards, Victor Wembanyama and Paolo Banchero join forces to make Team Top Picks, who are the favorites for this event. While undoubtedly terrific players, this may not be the best format for them to thrive in. They are the only team without a point guard in their fold, which could really hold them back on the passing element of the competition. With Wembanyama shooting at a 26.3% clip from beyond the arc this season and Banchero being a 32.5% shooter on his career from there, they could struggle with the shooting element. Considering that is worth the most points of all the challenges, it is hard to see why they are favorites. I would avoid backing them tonight.

Team All-Stars (+175)

Team All-Stars is made up of Scottie Barnes, Tyrese Maxey and Trae Young. With 2 guards in the mix and Barnes, who does a lot of the playmaking for the Raptors, they should be favorites for the passing part of the competition. When it comes to shooting, they may be the best in the field. Young and Mazey are shooting above a 37% rate from deep this season, while Barnes has upped his number to 35.3%. The Raptors forward had a shocking showing the last time he took part in the Skills Challenge, so I expect him to be motivated by redemption tonight. I believe this team looks the most well equipped to challenge in each part of the competition.

Team Pacers (+210)

The home team  will be made up of Tyrese Haliburton, Myles Turner and Bennedict Mathurin. While the home support should help, and Haliburton does have an elite skill set that will help him dominate tonight, there are real questions about what his teammates will bring. Mathurin missed the last outing before the break with a knee injury and may not push himself. Myles Turner missed that game through illness too and may not be 100%. He also averages just 1.2 assists per game on his career and could be a real letdown for the side in the passing element. He could be a hindrance on the relay, too. A lot of factors would have to go right for them to come out on top.

Final prediction: Team All-Stars (+175)

I cannot see how they are not the favorites for the competition. Maxey is arguably the quickest player taking part and should help spearhead them to a win in the relay. With these playmakers, they should be favorites with the passing side of things, too. Barnes is the weakest link when it comes to shooting, but he is not the worst of all the players taking part this year. I have them winning.

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