Wednesday And-1 links: FIBA wants 3-on-3 basketball in Olympics

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like I love a good IPA.

• Forget the under-23 age limit stuff, what international basketball governing body FIBA wants to see in the 2016 Olympics (or soon after) is a new 3-on-3 tournament. They are promoting 3-on-3 events world wide, are doing rankings and basically want this to be the beach volleyball of basketball. They are pushing this hard. Seriously. And no, we couldn’t just slap some NBA players together last minute, you’d have to qualify at tournaments around the globe. It all sounds a little crazy, but as somebody getting plenty of FIBA material sent to him, trust me they are pushing for this.

• By the way, NBA Commissioner David Stern was awarded the Olympic Order by the International Olympic Committee. Which I guess is a big deal and all.

• Tim Grover’s gym in Chicago — where Michael Jordan worked out in the day and where Jordan invested $1.5 million later — is headed to foreclosure. The place still draws big name NBA players like Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant to work out there, but that’s not paying the bills.

• Great series of stories looking at the biggest factors in the Warriors upcoming season and what it will take for them to make the playoffs, by Matt Steinmetz of CSNBayArea.com. Here are the top three: 1) Andrew Botgut stays healthy; 2) Stephen Curry stays healthy; 3) Mark Jackson really steps up into the role of coach.

• Here’s a good look at what Team USA might look like for 2016 in Rio.

USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo praises Kevin Love, says winning a gold will never get old and he is in for Rio in 2016.

• Danny Granger bought a new home in Los Angeles (where he spends his off-seasons) from Kevin Williamson — the guy behind the “Scream” series and the executive producer of “Dawson’s Creek.” That’s so LA.

• The Jazz have the “problem” of having both Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors to play the four spot. One way that could rectify it, give Millsap some run at the three every night.

• Expect Jason Richardson to start at the three in Philly.

• Byron Scott is saying Tristan Thompson is the most improved Cavalier this summer. Take that with some salt, we need to see him in games before we buy in.

• Kyrie Irving reportedly told just-drafted Cavalier Dion Waiters he better improve his conditioning before training camp.

• The Rhino, Craig Smith told CSNNW.com signed in Israel because he was “tired of being a roster filler.” He wanted minutes he wasn’t going to get in the NBA, so he went to the Holy Land.

• The Rockets waived center Josh Harrellson as part of them picking up Carlos Delfino.

• The Bucks have reportedly lost their interest in unrestricted free agent Mickael Pietrus.

• Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy has requested a judge reduce his 36-month probation term by three months. After he did jail time. But yes, totally use him as the cornerstone of your argument the NBA is fixed. He’s very credible.

• Here is Stan Van Gundy saying the Magic organization handled the Dwight Howard situation poorly and they got what they deserved.

• Bob Ryan will be missed.

Donovan Mitchell throws alley-oop to himself – off second backboard (video)

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LOS ANGELES – Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell set a high standard with the first slam of the 2018 dunk contest.

Very creative. Very well-executed.

Looks like all that preparation paid off.

Devin Booker’s 3-point-contest victory bright spot for Suns (video)

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Los Angeles – Devin Booker‘s Suns have the NBA’s worst record (18-41).

“I think everyone is fed up with the losing, from the top to the bottom of the organization,” Booker said this afternoon. “So, for us, it’s what’s next?”

A 3-point contest victory.

Overcoming Phoenix’s poor record to draw an invite to All-Star Saturday Night, Booker won the 3-point contest with a whopping 29 points in the final round.

That score left little margin for 2016 champion Klay Thompson, who capped the event with a 25-point round that was otherwise the night’s high. Clippers forward Tobias Harris, in his new home arena, finished third.

Booker was all smiles after the rare victory.

“Season not going how we planned, but I know a lot of the city was ready for this All-Star Weekend, having somebody participate,” Booker said. “So, I’m glad I could win it.

Where he and the Suns go from here is still questionable, but he has a plan.

“I’m going to win the dunk contest next year,” Booker said. “No, I’m just kidding.”

Full results

First round

Klay Thompson 19

Devin Booker 19

Tobias Harris 18

Wayne Ellington 17

Bradley Beal 15

Eric Gordon 12

Kyle Lowry 11

Paul George 9

Second round

Devin Booker 29

Klay Thompson 25

Tobias Harris 17

Spencer Dinwiddie not just happy to be here, wins All-Star Skills Contest

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LOS ANGELES — Anyone who knew the Spencer Dinwiddie story knew not to count him out when he looked down.

That was true when at Colorado he had played his way into the first round of the draft, maybe the 2014 lottery, until an ACL injury derailed him. He had to battle back from a devastating injury, push his way back through the then D-League to the NBA, and wait for his chance. When he got it this season in Brooklyn (after the Jeremy Lin injury) he grabbed it and has had a quality NBA season for the Nets.

So when Dinwiddie was behind the Kings’ Buddy Hield in the first round of the All-Star Saturday Night Skills Contest, he needed a little help. Dinwiddie got it when Hield missed his first three (you have to close out the race with a made three), Dinwiddie caught up and drained his on a pull-up jumper.

Forget the fact Dinwiddie is shooting 28.5 percent on pull-up threes this season, he did the same thing to Jamal Murray in the semi-finals.

Dinwiddie boat raced Bulls’ rookie Lauri Markkanen in the finals when the big man struggled with the passing skill and got so far behind it was over.

“It’s big for me to even be at All-Star Weekend considering the road that’s been in my career, very up and down, Dinwiddie said. “Obviously being in the G-League both on assignment and as a G-League player, thank you to the Brooklyn Nets for giving me this opportunity to play and be here.

Then it all really feels and seems full circle because I got to come home and do it in front of my family.”

Dinwiddie was born in Los Angeles and played his high school ball at Taft High School in Woodland Hills (in LA’s San Fernando Valley). He went against the likes of Jrue Holiday and DeMarre Carroll, and he learned some hard lessons there.

It’s all paying off now for Dinwiddie, who has proven he belongs in the NBA.

And that he’s got skills.

Back in the dunk contest, Victor Oladipo has come a long way

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
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LOS ANGELES – A few weeks into the season, Victor Oladipo acknowledged he hadn’t proven whether he was just off to a hot start or had actually made a significant leap in ability.

The results are in: Oladipo is a star.

Favored to win Most Improved Player, Oladipo is leading the Pacers toward a surprisingly likely playoff berth. He’s averaging 24.4 points and 2.1 steals per game, a combination unmatched the last couple years. He has developed the skills to maximize the athleticism and drive that made him the No. 2 pick five years go.

The biggest advancement has come beyond the arc. Not only is he shooting a career-high 38% on 3-pointers, he has become a threat off the dribble.

Oladipo is one of just 18 players making more than one pull-up 3-pointer per game:

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He has made 35% of those pull-up 3s, well above league average (32%). But even just threat of the shot is effective.

Defenses must go over screens more often when Oladipo runs the pick-and-roll, opening other holes for him and his teammates. Indiana has scored 5.9 more points per 100 possessions with Oladipo on the floor than off.

But, for all his skill development, Oladipo is still back in the dunk contest tonight. He also participated as a second-year player in 2015, when he played for the Magic.

“It’s a little different,” Oladipo said. “I wouldn’t say I’m a high-flyer like I used to be, I guess you could say. Because I can do it all now.”

Oladipo added that he was joking, but he can. He, Jimmy Butler and Chris Paul are the only players who rate even one point per 100 possessions better than average both offensively and defensively by ESPN’s real plus-minus, and Oladipo – +2.96 offensively, +2.12 defensively – clears the bar easily.

Will he also leap over the field in the dunk contest?

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to just go out there and jump as high as I can and see what works, see what happens,” Oladipo said.

That used to somewhat describe his game. Not anymore.