NBA All-Star Game 2022: Free NBA Picks Today For 3-Point and Slam Dunk Contest

NBA All-Star Game 2022: Free NBA Picks Today For 3-Point and Slam Dunk Contest
Fri 18th February 2022

Our free NBA picks are out for the always entertaining All-Star weekend in 2022! Before we can get to the actual All-Star Game, we have the 3-point and slam dunk contests to take care of. Who will show off their extraordinary talent, and claim first prize in each of these ever popular contests?

Look below to find our free NBA picks for the 3-point and slam dunk contests! 

3-Point Contest

It’s stars galore (as to be expected) for the 3-point contest, with the likes of Patty Mills, Desmond Bane, Fred VanVleet and CJ McCollum all competing. It’s a pretty wide open market at the moment as well, so if you can find a winner, you will get a lot of value here!

Jeffery Thomas

One of the biggest NBA nights on the calendar is set to commence on Saturday night in Cleveland. It’s NBA All-Star Saturday Night which is set to be televised on TNT at 8 pm and includes this loaded 3-point shootout. It’s the second event of the night and we are sure to get some fireworks. 

There’s so many different angles to attack a winner in this one and so many different guys who can get hot and take the crown but I think this night will belong to Fred VanVleet. From undrafted to NBA champion and now an All-Star and contestant in the three point shootout, he’s not going to take anything lightly this weekend as he’s worked super hard to get to where he’s at. His high arching shot and quick release are perfect for this competition and this will just be another step in him becoming more of a household name. 

Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Fred VanVleet (+440)

Michael Lantz

This year’s 3-point contest in Cleveland features a vast range of shooters. Fred VanVleet and Patty Mills are the betting favorites, but there are plenty of other players in the competition that can spoil the party. The first that comes to mind is Trae Young; even though he’s 48th in three-point percentage this season, he’s also 11th in threes made. As a bonus, his ability to take advantage of the spotlight should help him at this event.

Then there’s Luke Kennard, who could make waves as well. Sometimes under-the-radar guys can walk away victorious in this competition (Joe Harris, Marco Bellinelli), as Kennard is currently second in the NBA in 3-point percentage shooting at 44.8%. So he’s definitely one to keep an eye on. Desmond Bane is another dark horse: he’s been having a breakout year in Memphis but isn’t quite on the level of stardom as some of the other players in this competition. Still, he’s done a great job assisting Ja Morant this season and sits just outside the top ten in three-point percentage.

CJ McCollum should be electric, as he seems to be settling in just fine with his new team in New Orleans where he has scored 30 points or more in three of his last four games. While he’s top ten in three-pointers made per game, he also sits near 50th in percentage. That being said, McCollum is seen as one of the best players to have never made an All-Star game. This contest could serve as his All-Star moment, so look for him to fully capitalize on this opportunity. 

Second-time All-Star Zach LaVine is a lethal scoring talent as he’ll look to become the first player to ever win the slam dunk contest and 3-point contest. He’s coming off an injury, but his confidence in these situations (after winning two dunk contests) should never be overlooked.

The one big man in the 3-point contest is Karl Anthony-Towns, who (thanks to his size) should be a bit of a fan-favorite to win. Don’t let his height distract you: Towns is as good as any shooter in this contest—he ranks 19th in the NBA in percentage from beyond the arc.
Finally, there are the two favorites: Mills and VanVleet. VanVleet has erupted into one of the league’s premier shooters, as he’s only behind the legendary Steph Curry for three-pointers made per game. The undrafted All-Star is having a career high year, and will surely be another fan-favorite due to his unique path to stardom.

On the other hand, Mills is a veteran who’s been a key role player since he entered the league in 2009. He’s been vital over the years due to his three-point shooting, which included a title run with the Spurs in 2014. This season he’s top ten in three-point percentage and fifth in three-pointers made. While he’s been a bit inconsistent recently, in-game effectiveness doesn’t necessarily translate to this timed competition. It’s a tough choice here, as all of these competitors are worthy. But ultimately I’ll go with VanVleet, who seems like the safest option in this field and has had the impressive feat of only being behind Steph Curry in major three-point shooting categories.

Michael’s NBA Pick: Fred VanVleet (+440)

Noah Dunlap 

This is one of the more intriguing 3-point contests we’ve seen in quite a while at All-Star Weekend in Cleveland Saturday night, as we’re guaranteed to get a first time winner in the event. Fred VanVleet and Patty Mills come into this event as co-favorites, both sitting at +440, but they’re two guys headed in different directions. VanVleet is one of only two guys in the league averaging 4 three-point makes per game, along with Steph Curry, while Mills has actually been struggling just a bit from deep as of late. It’ll be curious to see how momentum plays a role in this one, especially for these two. 

As for the other contestants, it’s still a loaded field, with Karl-Anthony Towns, Trae Young, Luke Kennard, Zach LaVine, CJ McCollum, and Desmond Bane all taking part as well. When it comes to this contest, there are multiple factors to think about, including obvious consistency, but also needing a quick release, as well as a smooth motion that doesn’t have excess motion or movements, with it being a repetition based, timed event. While Luke Kennard leads the field in terms of 3PT-FG percentage at nearly 43.5%, I question whether he fits the other criteria to make him my favorite. 

For this event, I’m going to take the Memphis Grizzlies’ Desmond Bane to get the win. His shooting stroke fits the bill for being smooth, his release is relatively quick, and he’s been one of the most consistent contenders in the field. While he doesn’t have the highest percentage, unlike many of the others, he hasn’t had many highs and lows this year, it’s been a virtual consistent 41% or so. Give me Bane to get a close win in the finals over VanVleet. 

Noah’s NBA Pick: Desmond Bane (+550)

Slam Dunk Contest

Talent and flare will be on display in the slam dunk contest for 2022. Many believe it to be the highlight of the All-Star weekend as we get to see some of the top players in the NBA strut their stuff. For the 2022 edition of the dunk contest, we will see the likes of Cole Anthony, Jalen Green and Obi Toppin competing.

Jeffery Thomas

The night will conclude with the dunk contest like always and we have an intriguing crop of young players participating in this year’s event. I think it will come down to Obi Toppin. A lot of the local fans for All-Star weekend will be very familiar with this guy and his high flying antics. As an alum of the University of Dayton, which is just a 3 hour drive from Cleveland, he used to perform some crazy dunks weekly and is now doing it on the biggest of stages. He’s back for revenge after a second place finish last year, with many people believing he should have won.

Jalen Green and Coke Anthony both come in at 6’4 or below and that may play an advantage for them because it always looks more impressive when guys of smaller builds can pull off some creative dunks. However, I think the clear advantage in the field goes to Obi Toppin who has the clear height and weight advantage over his counterparts that will get him more power and chance to wow the judges. He also lost narrowly just last year so he has experience in this event and revenge on his mind. 

Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Obi Toppin (+210)

Michael Lantz

This year’s slam dunk contest features four up-and-comers who are looking to gain the slam dunk crowd with their high-flying abilities. Juan Tascano-Anderson was a star in Mexico’s National Professional Basketball League and is now an ample role player on the Golden State Warriors. He may be the least recognizable name of this group, but sometimes that lack of attention can ease the pressure. He’ll also have some All-Star teammates (Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins) to accompany him and help get the crowd in his favor. 

Meanwhile Jalen Green was this season’s third overall draft pick; so far he’s gotten Houston Rocket fans excited for the future. He’s averaging just under 15 points per game on a team with quite a few scorers. Additionally, he’s had some jaw-dropping dunks—particularly in transition when he runs downhill toward the basket. Expect him to launch some agility-based dunks in this one. 

Cole Anthony is taking off in his second year in the league. Despite Orlando’s terrible record, Anthony has been one of the bright spots, averaging just under 18 points per game. While Anthony’s game is more than just his drive to the rim, he’s always been an esteemed dunker; even back in high school, he caught the attention of many with his ability to fly through the air. He’ll hope to bring some of his rim-rocking talents to Cleveland on Saturday night. 

The New York Knicks’ Obi Toppin is looking to avenge his loss in last year’s slam dunk contest, as he came up just short to Anfernee Simons. Toppin may be the favorite in this year’s contest, as he’s thrown down some incredible in-game dunks this year—some I’m not sure I’ve seen attempted in a game—ever. In last year’s contest, Toppin’s creativity lacked; but now that he has one contest under his belt, his nerves should be calmed a bit. I’ll pick Obi Toppin to take this one in a matchup against Jalen Green for dunk supremacy. 

Michael’s NBA Pick: Obi Toppin (+210)

Noah Dunlap 

This dunk contest may not feature the big-time names that we’ve grown accustomed to with past contests, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have plenty of intrigue, and high-flying dunks coming our way. They’ve reduced the field to only four dunkers (down from eight) in recent years, and while I understand why they did it, I don’t think it did much to help the contest itself. 

This year’s field consists of Obi Toppin, who also competed last year, Cole Anthony, Jalen Green, and Juan Toscano-Anderson. The first thing to note about this contest is to point out that since it’s based on human judges, you have to be able to influence the crowd and judges, which is where I think Cole Anthony and Jalen Green have a slight advantage, as being somewhat shorter, they have the ability to use their absurd athleticism to their advantage, and it has the potential to impress more than a guy like Obi Toppin, who is already close to being a seven-footer. Also, with Toppin having competed last year, I think he somewhat runs out of options, as in terms of dunks themselves, there’s only so much you can do, so I actually have Toppin getting eliminated early. 

As for the rest of the field, I’m going to take the athleticism of Anthony and Green to lead the way, getting them to the finals, as I just don’t know that Toscano-Anderson is going to have enough to nudge either of the other two out of the way. Then, with the finals, I think the question becomes which one do you think has the better chance to come up with a dunk that is not only remarkable, but one that has the lesser chance of being missed. After thinking about it, I think the answer to that question is Jalen Green, which is why I’m taking the Houston Rockets’ rookie to win Saturday night’s 2022 edition of the slam dunk contest. 

Noah’s NBA Pick: Jalen Green (+130)

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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.

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