With the Suns all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, all that’s left to work towards this season are things that may, to the outside world, seem frivolous. But despite the fact that the season will end for Phoenix on April 13, Jared Dudley still has something to accomplish.
Dudley is an intelligent, high-energy player who has spent most of his minutes playing with the reserves in Phoenix, but recently has earned himself a place in the starting lineup. He’s not the most athletic player on the squad, but he did set a personal goal of throwing down 10 dunks on the season, and he had eight heading into Friday night’s game vs. the Clippers.
He almost got number nine, and in fact, the official play-by-play record of the game notes that he did. But those watching know better, including Dudley’s teammates.
Less than two minutes into the third quarter, Dudley received a pass from Aaron Brooks on a fast break, and went up with two hands to throw it down. Very close to a dunk, but the general feeling among his teammates was that it didn’t quite qualify.
After the game in the locker room, Josh Childress, Hakim Warrick, and Vince Carter all weighed in with their official rulings, by holding up dunk contest-style signs with their chosen verdicts. As you can see in the following video clip (shot by Seth Pollack of SB Nation Arizona), the vote didn’t exactly turn out in Dudley’s favor.
Joel Embiid calls out Karl Anthony-Towns’ defense during Instagram trash talk
Mavericks center Salah Mejri has a history of agitating, including against the Spurs.
Two years ago, Mejri dunked while Dallas got blown out by San Antonio and yapped at the Spurs bench – drawing laughter from Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. Last season, Mejri had Trevor Ariza and other Rockets trying to confront him after reportedly saying something about Ariza’s family.
The NBA changed its All-Star format this season from East vs. West to captain-picked teams (though still naming players equally from each conference).
That apparently wasn’t a big enough overhaul.
After including media and player votes last year, the league is making All-Star starter selection even more complex.
NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.
Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.
Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China. All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET.
TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off
The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.
The team rosters for NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.
I suppose this is to drum up interest on otherwise quiet voting days. After all, this is really just about the NBA selling itself.
But the All-Star voting process has always left something to be desired. I don’t see how this changes that.
So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.
Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.
LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publiclydownplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.
But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.