The NBA All-Star Weekend is normally a respite from the grind of the regular season, and it’s all fun and games. Yet under all that revelry is a basketball education like no other, one that is especially beneficial for the younger players who have less All-Star appearances than fingers on one hand.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were the “home team” for this year’s All-Star festivities and as such, their marquee players were able to participate in more events. Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen,Darius Garland, and Isaac Okoro were the young stars who were able to strut their stuff for the home crowd and it’s safe to say that they did not disappoint.

Mobley and Okoro made their presence felt in the Clorox Rising Stars Challenge, where both were part of Team Barry, which went all the way to win the 2022 edition of the competition. The former showcased his versatility, while the latter threw down a highlight dunk that got the crowd going.

Among all the teams, Team Barry seemed to be the most locked in as even their head coach Rick Barry could be seen seriously coaching up players from the sidelines – which doesn’t happen that often during All-Star weekend.


The Taco Bell Skills challenge the following day saw Allen, Garland, and Mobley at their best and even the analysts on TV remarked on how their chemistry was apparent even for an event like this. Once again, Mobley’s versatility was on display, but what also stood out was the confidence both Allen and Garland came out with, especially when their numbers were called upon. Sure, the competition was far from a “game setting”, but it still had its own take-charge moments.

Finally, Allen and Garland got the ultimate experience of being part of the All-Star game, one that allowed them access to some of the game’s greatest players. Of course, the practices and preparations may have been somewhat toned down, but being around the elite and well-established players gave them a glimpse of what it took to play in the NBA at a high level. The habits they saw around the locker room and on pregame warmups on the court also gave them a glimpse at the level of dedication it requires from start to finish. They’re young and spry now but age will likely force them to change their habits.


Being around Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams in practices and in the game certainly helps as well, especially as he put Allen in the fourth quarter to close out the game. Allen would end the contest with 10 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks, but it was the intangibles he provided that were more valuable.

While the All-Star game is known to many as the world’s greatest pickup game, it does provide some indications as to the capabilities of the players when talent is ideally on a level playing field. Allen’s defending against Joel Embiid was admirable, and the extra coaching he received from Williams will be beneficial for the upcoming crucial stretch of the season. Garland, who finished with 13 points, three assists, and two steals, not only demonstrated his playmaking abilities but went to play alongside the game’s top perimeter players.He also likely came home with tons of learnings just by running the court with them.

It won’t be surprising if offseason plans develop thanks to one weekend in Cleveland. Friendships and mentorships have emerged from past All-Star Weekends and the offseason workouts one sees on social media were likely the products of conversations on the sidelines. It’d also be safe to assume that as the games are going on, players would ask for advice from one another on the nuances of the game.

At times, the All-Star shenanigans have also led to implicit recruitment pitches yet be that as it may, it’s highly unlikely that the Cavaliers will become a free agent destination overnight. Although, words uttered by arguably the most famous Cleveland Cavalier of all time will certainly spark some debate and rumors.

Around two months remain before the playoffs begin and a strong finish for the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers is in the cards. The recently concluded All-Star Weekend should inspire confidence in their abilities and the body of work they produced so far this season. The goal of being a top team has always been on their minds, but the last few days have provided them the blueprint for doing so.