Kings McLemore McCallum Basketball

Ben McLemore says Shabazz Muhammad getting sent home from NBA’s rookie program was ‘very disappointing’

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As recently as January, UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad was higher on many mock draft boards than was Ben McLemore of Kansas. Things changed in the months leading up to the draft, and for a variety of reasons, McLemore ended up going seven spots higher when all was said and done.

The two were linked throughout last season in conversations about who would ultimately be the better NBA two guard, though, so it wasn’t exactly a question out of nowhere when McLemore was asked what his reaction was to Muhammad being sent home from the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program for the most basic of rules violations.

From Gary Bedore of KUSports.com (via HoopsHype):

Shabazz Muhammad of the Minnesota Timberwolves was actually dismissed from the program for violating a rule and allegedly bringing a female guest into his hotel room.

“Very disappointing,” McLemore said, asked his reaction. “After they (were) telling us the rules, what not to do, for him to do that … it’s just unbelievable after they just explained the different rules to us.

“Hopefully he’ll learn from his mistakes. Hopefully that won’t stop him from being the basketball player who he is, just keep playing, going with his career.”

This was the issue all along with Muhammad’s breaking of the rule — it wasn’t that the violation was at all egregious, but his cavalier attitude in ignoring the rules which were, as McLemore noted, “just explained” to everyone is what makes it all so frustrating.

The good news for Muhammad is that the team isn’t imposing further discipline, and he’ll have a fresh start once training camps open at the end of September. But for those downplaying Muhammad’s infraction, McLemore’s reaction should tell you just how ridiculous it was.

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: