amorrison

Wednesday And-1 Links: Adam Morrison retires, joins Gonzaga staff

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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 more than we like to debate In-n-Out vs. Five Guys (it’s In-n-Out, obviously)….

• Former No. 3 overall pick Adam Morrison, considered one of the great draft busts (he was a great college shooter who never adjusted well to the longer, more athletic defenders and contested shots of the NBA) has retired from professional basketball and is joining the Gonzaga coaching staff as a student assistant. Morrison still made $16 million and he owns a championship ring, so don’t feel too bad for him.

• That 2006 draft was the one with Andrea Bargnani at the top, LaMarcus Aldridge two, Morrison three, Tyrus Thomas four and Shelden Williams five. Farther on down the board: Rudy Gay (8), J.J. Redick (11), Rajon Rondo (21), and Paul Millsap (47). Talent evaluation is not an exact science.

• Shaq’s Beverly Hills mansion, most recently owned by a Japanese pop sensation, is back on the market. It has a basketball court out back with a Superman “S” on it.

• Working as an NBA writer desensitizes you to tall people, suddenly a 6’9″ guy doesn’t seem all that big. A handful of guys still have you shaking your head saying “people can be that large?” Yao Ming was one of those guys. Here he is in a collection of photos making even tall people look short.

• Why did Mike Miller choose Memphis over OKC? He’d loved his previous time in Memphis.

• The Bucks have waived big man Bucks Gustavo Ayon. Don’t be shocked if another team picks him up.

• New coach Brad Stevens parroted Danny Ainge with the “Celtics do not tank” line. As I’ve said, it comes down to how you define tanking.

• Here’s a good recap of where Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant and the other injured stars of the NBA stand in their recoveries.

Charles Barkley, dancing with an old lady, at Ray Allen’s birthday party.

Shawn Kemp thinks Seattle is going to get an NBA team. I think they are at the front of the line, but there are no teams on the immediate horizon to move.

• Samardo Samuels has signed with Olimpia Milano in Italy for next season.

• Pelicans guard Pierre Jackson will play with ASVEL Basket in France next season.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

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.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

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

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: