Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Clippers

Leaked video hints Blake Griffin to be in dunk contest

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Honestly, if Blake Griffin is not in the dunk contest the whole thing will fail before it even begins. Just like TRON.

So good news in the form of a leaked then quickly pulled video found on NBA.com — Griffin may well be in. The link was found by the blog Get Banged On (a blog of dunk highlights, via Ball Don’t Lie and the legendary Skeets twitter account).

The video (which can be seen here) was on Blake Griffin’s NBA.com page, linked with the words “It’s Official — DO NOT PUBLISH” (which is always going to get you to click). It is a bunch of testimonials from Clipper teammates and broadcaster Ralph Lawler about how Blake Griffin needs to be in the dunk contest and how good he would do in it. Interspersed with Griffin dunk highlights, of course.

It’s the kind of prep work a team of Web staff and marketing people would do if there was going to be an announcement of Griffin being in the All-Star Weekend dunk contest.

Combine that with Griffin saying he would be open to the idea if invited, the “it’s official” link on the video, the fact everyone wants to see him in the contest, and you don’t need to believe there are little green men in Area 51 to believe that Griffin is headed to the dunk contest.

As he should be.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.