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These days, the Philadelphia 76ers are represented at NBA All-Star Weekend as if they were any old good team. There’s two in the proper Sunday game, and that’s more Sixers involvement than in the rest of the weekend combined -- yawn. (Wouldn’t put it past Ben Simmons to stub his toe early in the first quarter of the Rising Stars game and spend the rest of Friday night talking shit from the sidelines about what a try-hard Donovan Mitchell is being, either.)
Time was, having any kind of All-Star representation -- in the Skills Challenge, in the Rising Stars game, even as a debated ASG snub -- was manna from the NBA extracurricular heavens for Process Trusters, desperate for any kind of premature validation for our eventual rightness. Those days may be well in the rearview, but the thought of them is enough to make me wistful for the idea of an All-Process All-Star Weekend, one cast solely with Process alums. Here’s how I would see it looking:
Team Mike (The Frosty Freeze-Outs):
M. Night Shyamalan
Lil Uzi Vert
Team Spike (The Season Ticket Renewals):
Old Man Knees
Likely outcome: An evenly matched affair, though there are certainly mismatches to be exploited between Tinashe and Kendall Jenner and LL and Jake Pavorsky. Ultimately I probably give the edge to Team Mike, but Kevin Hart undoubtedly ends up winning the MVP regardless.
Fan favorite: Shawn Chapman-McDaniels and Old Man Knees probably have a couple fun stretches working the two-person game to perfection, with the Sixers offering Chapman-McDaniels a ceremonial five years, $50 million contract at game’s conclusion.
Rising Stars Challenge:
Chukwudiebere “Chu Chu” Maduabum
Likely Outcome: Kind of a stars-and-scrubs outlook for Team World, with three of the leading lights of the Process and not a ton else -- even after going Double Furkan, their roster still needs to reach for four guys who never played for us (or anyone else). Nonetheless, talent probably outs, and JaKarr Sampson, Brandon Davies and Richaun Holmes end up running into each other a whole bunch. Team World wins, Ben Simmons goes 2-9 from deep.
Fan Favorite: Don’t underestimate the Double Furkan pick-and-roll.
Likely Outcome: Embiid cheats a bunch, and it takes the guards five minutes each to hit the necessary three-pointer. Bigs win in a walk.
Fan Favorite: Jahlil Okafor, who aces the challenge to seal the victory for the bigs, to thunderous applause that quickly transforms into loud boos for no apparent reason. His facial expression suggests he expected no different.
Likely Outcome: Expected favorite J.J. Redick takes too long celebrating after each made three and never gets to his moneyball rack. Covington goes cold on the middle racks, Stauskas heats up too late, Bynum does randomly well even though no one’s sure why he’s there in the first place. Ultimately, Shamet’s steady performance proves the winner, though he still looks nervous and slightly queasy as Jimmy Butler comes running from the sidelines to embrace him.
Fan Favorite: Amir Johnson only gets off ten three-pointers total, but he hits each one, to the crowd’s delirious delight.
Slam Dunk Contest:
Likely Outcome: All four contestants have more missed dunks than made over the course of the contest, but Ben Simmons’ free-throw-line takeoff where he switches from his left hand to his right hand in mid-air ultimately proves too much for the judges to deny.
Fan Favorite: Tony Wroten attempts the first-ever off-the-backboard-to-himself dunk that starts with a half-court heave. It goes terribly wrong, but the fans love it anyway.
Luc Mbah a Moute
Likely Outcome: Embiid’s squad prioritizes shooting and handling -- buddy Nerlens aside -- Simmons’ leans on athleticism and versatility. It’s a close game for sure, but down the stretch the Sixers play four-out with Embiid, Belinelli avenges the confetti game by hitting the go-ahead triple five feet behind the line, and Thaddeus Young gets stuffed on a layup at the other end. Game, Team JoJo.
Fan Favorite: Nerlens Noel and Jonah Bolden have a brief back-and-forth run of neither being able to miss from deep, then recreate the Joel Embiid-DeMarcus Cousins ass-slap fight to thunderous applause.