In what is an annual tradition rivaling Meryl Streep getting an Oscar nomination or the Grammys being a disappointment, LeBron James is flirting with the All-Star Weekend Dunk Contest. He says he’s on the fence this year.
He’s not going to do it.
You know it. I know it. LeBron may be toying with the idea but he knows it.
The reporter who knows LeBron best, Brian Windhorst now of ESPN, did a great story about why LeBron will never do it.
James has never done it for a very good reason: he has absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose….
Sure, true that fans would like to see him try it out. All-Star Weekend is, after all, supposed to be about the fans’ favorite players putting on exhibitions. The dunk contest ratings would leap if James said he was going to do it.
But fans also would have expectations for James that he would not be able to fulfill. He’s been there before, he knows the fallout from that situation. He’ll have enough expectations to deal with in his normal day job that putting himself in a position where success is going to be hard to achieve.
He’s right. Blake Griffin isn’t going to defend his dunk title because what is he going to do to top jumping over a car? Unless Kendrick Perkins wants to revisit his role, nothing. Blake can’t win again even if he wins. LeBron is in the same spot.
Some people are going to hate on him for this, but then again he could solve global warming and some people would say he couldn’t have done it if it Dwyane Wade didn’t help him. With the dunk contest, LeBron is making the only smart move. Even if it’s not the fun one for the rest of us.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.
Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?
The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.
There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.