Paolo Banchero and the rookies are the lowlights of All-Star Saturday Night

Paolo Banchero and his team of rookies did not have a great showing on All-Star Saturday Night. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Paolo Banchero and his team of rookies did not have a great showing on All-Star Saturday Night. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Maybe half the battle for the NBA All-Star Saturday night festivities is effort. That might be the key to any person having success in these things. Because wanting to win is a big deal in these things. Taking the elements and the competition seriously and executing are still a big part of winning, even in meaningless competitions.

Knowing the rules might help too.

At the end of the day, the way to win an NBA skills competition is shooting. And it sure did not seem like anybody knew how to do that for much of the skills competition.

In the end, the Utah Jazz made more shots — but barely — than everyone else in the final leg of the skills challenge’s triathlon of events.

This was the lowlight of the night at All-Star Saturday Night in Salt Lake City. it was an event that elicited zero excitement and made everyone feel eager to go home or off to the next event.

Paolo Banchero and his team of rookies were the clear lowlights of All-Star Saturday Night as the Skills Competition was more than lackluster.

It certainly did not have the anticipation that came with Damian Lillard outlasting Buddy Hield for the 3-point contest or the exhilaration of Mac McClung winning the Dunk Contest.

It was a disappointing way to end an underwhelming weekend for the Orlando Magic’s representatives and for Paolo Banchero’s first real appearance on a national NBA stage.

As good as it was to have Banchero on the stage and some positive words coming from TNT’s broadcast, he did not do a whole lot to convince everyone he is the star he has been for the Magic this year.

In fact, he seemed eager just to make an appearance and do his business so he could get some time off before the season resumes (who would blame him considering the extended slump he has been on, especially with his shooting).

The rookies, who won the relay race event that looked more similar to the traditional Skills Challenge events of the past and finished second in the passing competition (a sort of passing free-for-all at various targets on the court), were likely the lowest point of the eventing. They made only two shots in the final shooting competition, perhaps the most straightforward part of the competition and the simplest skill an NBA player needs.

They could not put the ball in the basket!

Paolo Banchero made the only two shots between himself Jabari Smith Jr. and Jaden Ivey in that final shooting competition, where players had to alternate taking shots from different spots on the floor for different point amounts.

It would have been embarrassing on its own if the other two teams also did not put on a horrid shooting display. The Utah Jazz team of Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson and Walker Kessler just made slightly more to win the competition.

It also did not help that nobody seemed to have a grasp of the rules and how to attack this reformed competition. And especially in an event where effort levels were not at their maximum, that only exposed how flimsy the whole thing was.

The best part of the event was when it ended so the evening could move on to the main events.

dark. Next. Orlando Magic have survived Franz Wagner's slump

And at least for the Magic now, move on to the rest of this season. An underwhelming night for sure in what was otherwise a fun appetizer to Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game.