<
>

Grading every player on All-Star Saturday Night

play
Curry drains 10 straight, falls to Harris in finals (1:58)

Steph Curry connects on his last 10 shots of the first round, but he can't catch Joe Harris, who wins the NBA 3-point contest. (1:58)

Hamidou Diallo channeled Superman, Joe Harris upset Stephen Curry and Jayson Tatum showed off his skills with a half-court heave. We're grading every event and every player on All-Star Saturday Night.

More: Saturday's best | Build your own All-Star team | Rosters and results

Dunk Contest


Hamidou Diallo
Oklahoma City Thunder
Guard | Grade: A

Results
Round 1: 48, 50
Final: 43, 45

Analysis
Diallo's performance transcended the flawed format of the dunk contest to give him a deserved victory. It might have been more satisfying had the order been different. Diallo's two best dunks both came in the first round. He started off with a left-hand windmill from a lob by teammate Russell Westbrook off the corner of the backboard, scoring a 48 for the best of any player on their opening dunk.

Then, after a feint toward dunking over a ball rack, Diallo instead called out the biggest person in the arena, Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal. (Apparently Boban Marjanovic was not in attendance.) Having revealed a Superman T-shirt under his jersey in a nod to O'Neal's nickname, Diallo proceeded to hurdle the 7-foot-1 Shaq while propelling himself high enough to jam his entire arm in the net -- repeating an iconic feat that once earned Vince Carter a 50 in the 2000 dunk contest, but with a much higher degree of difficulty. I'd consider Diallo's dunk one of the best we've ever seen in the contest.

Unfortunately, Diallo either used up his best material in the first round or decided to play it safe after Smith's miss to begin the final round. Diallo started with a self-lob to himself for a one-handed dunk while turning the ball over, one that probably was difficult to pull off but didn't make for exciting viewing. That scored a 43.

To finish, Diallo went back to the well of dunking over a famous rapper, bringing out Migos star Quavo and grabbing the ball out of his hands for a windmill and an extended hang on the rim. (Sadly, that would have been called for a technical during the regular season under a rule the NBA has been enforcing with greater regularity this season.) The 45 Diallo got was sufficient to earn the rookie the title of dunk champion.


Dennis Smith Jr.
New York Knicks
Guard | Grade: B

Results
Round 1: 45, 50
Final: 35, 50

Analysis
Smith has to be the first dunk contestant to ever get booed by the crowd after scoring a 50. The fans in Spectrum Center were presumably expressing their frustration over the number of attempts Smith needed to execute his high-concept dunks throughout the evening.

While Smith undoubtedly had creative ideas, the number of misses -- including flubbed lobs that don't count against the dunk contest's attempt limit -- robbed them of some excitement when they finally went down. Smith's best dunk came over seated rapper (and longtime friend) J. Cole, who lobbed the ball up to Smith -- who was wearing J. Cole's jersey from Terry Sanford High School in their shared hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina. That perfect score got Smith to the final round after a 45 on his opening dunk, a 270-degree spin with a baby windmill off a self-lob that required three tries.

In the final round, Smith was unable to complete his first dunk. He started out trying to go between the legs from right to left for a 360 dunk with his off hand going away from the basket. After two misses and several non-attempts, Smith switched to a long-distance dunk off a self-bounce pass that he also missed.

Diallo's dunk over Shaq earlier in the evening cost Smith's dunk over the smaller Dwyane Wade much of its excitement -- exacerbated when Smith needed several tries before getting the right feed from Stephen Curry and dunking with a windmill. I agree with the crowd that a perfect score for that dunk was generous, though it ultimately didn't matter.


John Collins
Atlanta Hawks
Forward | Grade: B+

Results
Round 1: 40, 42

Analysis
Remarkably, Collins finished a point behind Bridges despite making both of his dunks and showing some creativity in the process. It was tough to say how much credit Collins deserved for his opening dunk, which saw him grab the backboard from the left side before going under the rim to reverse dunk with his right hand. He showed great athleticism, narrowly avoiding hitting his head on the rim. Collins' second dunk was more theatrical. Paying homage to North Carolina's history as the site of the Wright brothers' first flight, Collins dunked over a replica of the "Wright Flyer" while wearing an aviator hat, glasses and scarf. Collins didn't quite clear the Wright Flyer, taking off part of the propeller on takeoff, and scored just a 42.


Miles Bridges
Charlotte Hornets
Forward | Grade: B

Results
Round 1: 33, 50

Analysis
Although he scored the evening's first 50 for a 360-degree windmill off a feed by teammate Kemba Walker off the side of the backboard while wearing a jersey of Hornets legend Larry Johnson, Bridges was still eliminated because he was unable to put down his first dunk try in four attempts. Bridges' first dunk, a pass off the backboard to himself before going between the legs, proved too difficult to execute.

play
1:14

Diallo jumps over Shaq and puts elbow in rim

Hamidou Diallo clears Shaquille O'Neal and gets his elbow in the rim while revealing the Superman logo on his chest.

3-point contest


Devin Booker
Phoenix Suns
Guard | Grade: A-

Results
Round 1: 23

Analysis
The defending champion was eliminated midway through his opening round. As the last contestant, Booker needed to score 25 to advance, and a slow start -- just eight points from his first three racks -- doomed him even though Booker made nine of his last 10 shots, including the entire moneyball rack.


Seth Curry
Portland Trail Blazers
Guard | Grade: C+

Results
Round 1: 16

Analysis
The younger Curry's 46.5 percent 3-point shooting this season is second only to Joe Harris among participants in the 3-point contest, but that didn't help him in this format the same way it did Harris as he scored a 16.


Stephen Curry
Golden State Warriors
Guard | Grade: A

Results
Round 1: 27
Final: 24

Analysis
This is Curry's weekend, and it looked early on like he might add a second 3-point championship to the one he won in 2015 in Brooklyn. Curry's score of 27 in the first round was the best of any competitor, and he started out the finals by making his first nine attempts. A pair of relative off racks where Curry scored a combined six points meant he needed to be perfect on the moneyball rack. Curry came close but fell one make shy of forcing a tiebreaker shootout.


Danny Green
Toronto Raptors
Guard | Grade: B+

Results
Round 1: 23

Analysis
Many years ago, Green's score of 23 might have earned him a spot in the finals, but he fell short following a high-scoring first round by several contestants. Green was unusually consistent, scoring no fewer than four points on any rack, but he netted just six points from the moneyball rack -- not quite enough.


Joe Harris
Brooklyn Nets
Forward | Grade: A

Results
Round 1: 25
Final: 26

Analysis
Harris managed to outduel Stephen Curry in his native Charlotte in large part because of his moneyball dominance. Harris went a perfect 5-of-5 from the right corner in both rounds, which allowed him first to advance to the final and then beat Curry despite posting one of just two scoreless racks for any player all night from the right wing.


Buddy Hield
Sacramento Kings
Guard | Grade: B+

Results
Round 1: 26
Final: 19

Analysis
"Buddy Buckets" made a lot of them in the first round, when his score of 26 was second-highest. Come the final round, however, Hield was not quite as accurate. He went oh-fer from the top of the key and had just six points through the first three racks, so making four of five from the moneyball rack was not nearly enough.


Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers
Guard | Grade: C+

Results
Round 1: 17

Analysis
The only player to go right to left in the first round, Lillard started slowly and had seven points through the first three racks. That put the pressure on Lillard to have a big moneyball rack, and his 3-of-5 shooting was insufficient even after a shot at the buzzer was ruled good after replay review.


Khris Middleton
Milwaukee Bucks
Forward | Grade: C-

Results
Round 1: 11

Analysis
Middleton could never find a groove, making no more than two shots on any rack as he finished with the event's low score of 11 points.


Dirk Nowitzki
Dallas Mavericks
Forward | Grade: B

Results
Round 1: 17

Analysis
The 40-year-old Nowitzki acquitted himself well during his first 3-point contest appearance in 11 years, making it through all five racks with time to spare after joking beforehand that he'd asked commissioner Adam Silver for an extra 15 seconds. Nowitzki did rush, however, which may have explained him airballing an attempt.


Kemba Walker
Charlotte Hornets
Guard | Grade: C

Results
Round 1: 15

Analysis
The hometown favorite, Walker got hot from the top of the key and made his last four attempts for five points. But scores of one point on two different racks gave him the second-lowest score.

play
1:18

Harris claims 3-point crown

Joe Harris outduels Steph Curry and Buddy Hield to win the 3-point contest.

Skills contest


Mike Conley
Memphis Grizzlies
Guard | Grade: C+

Results
Round 1: Eliminated by Jayson Tatum

Analysis
Having successfully completed his first pass attempt, Conley had a huge lead on Jayson Tatum going into the 3-point element of the competition. Unfortunately, the 35 percent 3-point shooter missed his first two attempts, opening the door for Tatum to knock him out.


Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks
Forward | Grade: D

Results
Round 1: Defeated Kyle Kuzma
Round 2: Eliminated by Trae Young

Analysis
Doncic cruised through the course at half-speed and attempted to bank in 3-pointers from half court to make up his huge deficits. Remarkably, this strategy worked in the opening round, as Doncic made his second 3. But he came up empty against Trae Young in the second round.


De'Aaron Fox
Sacramento Kings
Guard | Grade: B-

Results
Round 1: Eliminated by Trae Young

Analysis
In hindsight, Fox probably didn't use his speed to build up a big enough advantage over Trae Young when Young needed all three attempts at the passing station. Fox coasted into his 3, which he missed, and that was all the opportunity Young needed.


Nikola Jokic
Denver Nuggets
Center | Grade: B

Results
Round 1: Defeated Nikola Vucevic
Round 2: Eliminated by Jayson Tatum

Analysis
Jokic's trademark one-handed passing was hit (he confidently made his first attempt in the second round) and miss (he started 0-for-2 in the opening round). His ability to knock down 3s came in handy in the first round, when he came from behind to win a battle of Nikolas, but it let him down when he missed both attempts in a loss to Tatum.


Kyle Kuzma
Los Angeles Lakers
Forward | Grade: C

Results
Round 1: Eliminated by Luka Doncic

Analysis
Kuzma had every opportunity to beat the slow-moving Doncic in the first round but was unable to do it, missing multiple 3-point attempts.


Jayson Tatum
Boston Celtics
Forward | Grade: B+

Results
Round 1: Defeated Mike Conley
Round 2: Defeated Nikola Jokic
Final: Defeated Trae Young

Analysis
Tatum's victory mocked the "skills" element of the skills challenge, which has been reduced to a matter of who can make a 3-pointer first under the current head-to-head format. Tatum needed all three attempts at the passing drill in each of the first two rounds only to win when his opponents missed their 3-point attempts. Though Tatum's passing was more accurate in the final, he was way behind Trae Young when he launched from beyond half court, making the heave to claim the trophy.


Nikola Vucevic
Orlando Magic
Center | Grade: B-

Results
Round 1: Eliminated by Nikola Jokic

Analysis
Vucevic's round was clean, but he missed his first shot attempt and opponent Jokic knocked his down, eliminating the Magic center and first-time All-Star.


Trae Young
Atlanta Hawks
Guard | Grade: A

Results
Round 1: Defeated De'Aaron Fox
Round 2: Defeated Luka Doncic
Final: Eliminated by Jayson Tatum

Analysis
After coming from behind in the opening round, Young took the non-shooting portion of the course most seriously -- albeit with the help of a loose definition of "dribbling" the ball upcourt (he threw the ball ahead to himself before catching up). Young gave maximum effort in the final and was way ahead of Tatum only to be felled by Tatum's make from half court.

play
0:52

Tatum hits half-court shot to win skills challenge.

Jayson Tatum needs a half-court shot to knock off Trae Young in the finals of the skills challenge.