If there is one thing David Kahn believes in, it’s getting a lot of players for one position on draft night.
The Timberwolves drafted the small forward they were hoping to get — Wesley Johnson at No. 4 — but they also traded for another one in getting Martell Webster out of Portland.
The deal sends Webster to Minnesota in exchange for Ryan Gomes and the rights to Luke Babbitt, who was picked 16th overall.
It seems Minnesota may have overpaid for Webster (or Kevin Pritchard won on . He’s a solid small forward — decent shooter, have to respect him from three, but turns the ball over too much and is not a great rebounder. He’s never lived up quite to what you think he could be, but he’s respectable.
It might have been a fair swap for Luke Babbitt, the Nevada player who rocketed up everyone’s draft board once they got him in workouts. He’s a good shooter, one who has to prove he is athletic enough to get his shot off in the NBA. But he impressed those who saw him.
But Minnesota added Ryan Gomes to the deal. A small forward who is just about as good a shooter as Webster, about as good a rebounder, turns the ball over a little too much, and… yes, that sounds familiar. Webster is more aggressive on offense, but Webster is not some massive upgrade here.
I really try not to rip Minnesota on draft nights, but they just make it too impossible not to. Kahn talks about wanting to build a running team but he brings in a coach in Kurt Rambis who wants to run the triangle. Yes, the fast break and getting out in transition is one of the basic principles of the triangle as Tex Winter drew it up (sort of, he really stole and modified it), but it’s a different kind of running than you see with other teams. You don’t do it with a traditional point guard. Which they stockpile in Minnesota, too.
Not sure what the plan is in Minnesota. Not sure why they made this trade. Not sure about anything anymore.
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