Blake Griffin won the 2011 Dunk Contest by doing something that had never been done previously, and won’t be duplicated again.
The man jumped over a car.
While we can debate whether or not that sounds a lot more impressive than it actually was, the vibe at Staples Center was electric when the car was brought onto the court, and the perfect pass from Baron Davis that he threw from inside the vehicle was an underrated part that contributed to the overall spectacle.
We’ll have to cherish that singular moment from Griffin as far as All-Star weekend goes, however, because he says that his participation in those types of events will forever be a thing of the past.
From Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles:
“I wouldn’t say it was a mistake [in 2011] because it was a great experience, but it’s something I would never do again,” said Griffin, who won the dunk contest that year.
“For me, All-Star Weekend is about getting a chance to rest as much as anything. With the All-Star Game alone you still have obligations almost all day Friday and you have some kind of an event Friday night and Saturday’s practice and appearances. Saturday night for me now has become the time where I hang out with my family and hang out with my friends and take it easy.”
Many players feel the same way, and it’s part of the reason the Dunk Contest has lacked star power in recent seasons. Paul George and John Wall aim to change that in New Orleans next weekend.
There’s nothing at all wrong with Griffin’s decision. He gave his considerable contribution to Dunk Contest lore, and did so in spectacular fashion.
Tony Parker revealed a plan nearly two years ago to play until he’s 38.
Coming off his worst season since his rookie year, the Spurs point guard is sticking to that goal.
Parker, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
“The Spurs know I want to play until I’m 38,” Parker told Yahoo Sports in a recent phone interview. “That will be 20 seasons for me. That’s my goal. This year is No. 15. And if I’m lucky enough and I’m healthy, hopefully I can play 20 seasons and then I’ll be ready to retire.”
That seems pretty ambitious, no matter how you handle the conflicting math. (Parker is 33. If he plays 20 seasons, he’ll spend most of his final season at age 39 and turn 40 during the playoffs.)
Parker is already showing signs of slippage. Many of his key numbers were down last season, including ESPN’s real-plus minus, where he quietly slipped from 12th to 67th among point guards.
But Gregg Popovich is very liberal with resting his players, and Parker won’t have to carry too much of the load. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will probably retire before Parker, but the Spurs will still have Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
I wouldn’t count on it, but it’s possible Parker lasts that long.
The Pelicans starting center, Omer Asik, is injured.
Their backup center, Alexis Ajinca, is injured.
Enter Greg Smith.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Smith was part of the Rockets’ 2012-13 rotation, but otherwise, he has seen limited minutes in his four-year career with Houston and Dallas. In that small sample, he has looked alright. The 6-foot-10 24-year-old uses his big frame and massive hands to catch passes and finish efficiently near the rim. He has also become more disciplined defensively.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the regular-season roster behind the 13 Pelicans with guaranteed salaries.
But it’s also possible New Orleans signed him just an extra preseason body. That’d beat relying too heavily on the aging Kendrick Perkins and undersized Jeff Adrien at center. Anthony Davis is the Pelicans’ best option at center with Asik and Ajinca sidelined (and maybe even with them healthy), but the biggest drawback to playing him there is the injury risk. If Davis is going to deal with the banging at center, might as well save it for games that count.
Still, even New Orleans plans to keep Smith only through the preseason, this at least gives him a chance to impress.