As a basketball fan, I’ve always found the NBA All-Star Weekend to be one of the more interesting times of the year. It allows me to watch the top talents of the league play without putting me in a position to seriously root for or against either team. It puts all of the league’s best players in a one-game situation where it’s the best of the best against the best of the best. It immortalizes otherwise-forgotten players such as Jason Kapono and Jeremy Evans through the Three-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest. But perhaps the most important thing it does is recognize, in a semi-official capacity, who the best standout performers in the NBA are in any given season.
Tonight, the Los Angeles Lakers will be traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah to take on the Jazz in what should be an exciting matchup. Currently, the eight teams holding playoff spots in the West are separated by only 5.5 games and a win for either team could play a big role in the Western Conference playoff race. The Lakers and Jazz hold the 8th and 9th playoff spots in the conference and are only separated by two games.
After a couple months of incessant trade rumors surrounding Cleveland Cavaliers role players such as George Hill, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver, they have finally made their first move, sending Korver to the Utah Jazz for what will be his second stint with the franchise. In return, Cleveland will reportedly be receiving eighth-year wing Alec Burks and a pair of second-round draft picks.
The Utah Jazz do not possess the star power of their conference rivals, but their defense-first system means they are a force to be reckoned with. The question is, can their strong team unit make up for their lack of big name players?