Thanks to some struggles with injury, Brandon Roy hasn’t been quite as great this season as he was last season. However, the 25-year old Washington product is still considered one of the best young players in the NBA. Adam Morrison, the former Gonzaga star who was drafted ahead of Roy, is not considered one of the best young players in the NBA.
Nowadays, you won’t find anyone willing to admit they thought Morrison was the better prospect than Roy, but there were plenty of people who thought so before the 2006 draft. According to Wendell Maxey, Blazers coach Nate McMillan may have been one of those people. From the article:
After the hour-long workout at the Blazers’ practice facility, head coach Nate McMillan met with Morrison – the eccentric 6-8 sharpshooter – in his office where the two “talked for a little bit” about the upcoming draft.
“He told me he wanted to pick me if I fell to that spot,” says Morrison, a reserve forward with the Los Angeles Lakers. “He said he’d draft me.”
Plenty of teams underestimated Roy coming into the draft. Boston gave up the rights to the pick that could have netted Roy for a package built around Sebastian Telfair, and Minnesota traded Roy for Randy Foye on draft day. It appears that the Blazers may have been another team that didn’t know just how good Roy was when he was a prospect.
The Blazers have had some tough draft days. Sometimes they’ve been the victims of bad luck (watching #1 pick Greg Oden get injured over and over again), sometimes they’ve made bad decisions (trading the pick that could have netted them Chris Paul because they were satisfied with Sebastian Telfair), and sometimes they’ve made bad decisions compounded by bad luck. (Picking Bowie over Jordan and watching him get injured.) In 2006, it looks like the Blazers might have caught a good break on draft day. What’s more, it was man they declined to draft in 1984 who helped them out by reaching for Morrison.
Watch it again: Epic dunk contest duel between Zach LaVine, Aaron Gordon
TORONTO — I am always hesitant to say a player/team/situation is one of the best of ever because the history of the NBA is filled with greats. We tend to overstate how good something current can be. That said…
That was one of the best dunk contests ever.
Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon put on a show for the ages. Gordon had the best dunks of the night (in my opinion), but LaVine is consistently amazing, every dunk he does is flat out ridiculous.
Officially, LaVine won. In reality, we all won. Enjoy watching it one more time.
Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)
Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.
Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.
Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest
In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.
And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.
The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.
There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)
“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”
The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.
“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”
So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.
Gordon was close to perfect.
Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.
Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk