Miroslav Raduljica, after being waived by Clippers, not ready to return to Europe

10 Comments

Here are the top 25 rookies from last season by win shares:

Player Team Win shares
Mason Plumlee BRK 4.7
Tim Hardaway NYK 3.1
Steven Adams OKC 2.9
Kelly Olynyk BOS 2.9
Cody Zeller CHA 2.6
Gorgui Dieng MIN 2.2
Ryan Kelly LAL 2.2
Matthew Dellavedova CLE 2.1
Hollis Thompson PHI 2
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope DET 1.8
Jeff Withey NOP 1.8
Tony Snell CHI 1.6
Nick Calathes MEM 1.5
Pero Antic ATL 1.4
Michael Carter-Williams PHI 1.3
Victor Oladipo ORL 1.3
Giannis Antetokounmpo MIL 1.2
Nate Wolters MIL 1.2
Robbie Hummel MIN 1.1
Miroslav Raduljica MIL 1.1
Trey Burke UTA 0.9
Ben McLemore SAC 0.8
Andre Roberson OKC 0.8
Dewayne Dedmon GSW/PHI/ORL 0.6
Rudy Gobert UTA 0.4
Solomon Hill IND 0.4
Ray McCallum SAC 0.4

Of those 27 (three tied for 25th), 26 have something in common. They’re under contract for next season.

The exception: Miroslav Raduljica, who was traded by the Bucks and waived by the Clippers.

Raduljica’s contributions in Milwaukee, 3.8 points on 54 percent shooting and 2.3 rebounds in 9.7 minutes per game, were modest. But for a rookie, they were encouraging. The 7-foot center could definitely stick in the NBA a bit longer.

Or he could return to Europe, where he played prior to last season. After a promising year with the Bucks, maybe he could earn more there and avoid the indignity of pitching himself to NBA teams.

But he’s going to try to stick out in America.

John Schumann of NBA.com:

After one season in the league, he said he wants to stay (though it was “a little cold in Milwaukee”). He said he’s only heard rumors about any other teams that may want him and “I’m waiting to see what’s going to happen next.”

Someone should sign Raduljica. Though I might not offer him more than a minimum contract, I’d definitely be happy to have him for that.

Plenty of teams could use a 26-year-old third center on the border of deserving a rotation spot – including the team that just waived him.

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell wins throwback Dunk Contest with Vince Carter tribute

Getty Images
2 Comments

LOS ANGELES — The 2018 Dunk Contest went retro.

And it worked.

The throwbacks started with Cleveland’s Larry Nance Jr. going quick-change to pay tribute to his father, the 1984 winner of the Dunk Contest.

Nance later had the best dunk of the night, but it wasn’t enough in the face of Utah’s Donovan Mitchell‘s strong and consistent night highlight by his throwback dunk — donning a Vince Carter Toronto dinosaur jersey and doing VC’s famed 360 dunk — which got Mitchell the 48 points he needed to hold-off Nance and win the contest. It was over.

“Growing up I was a big dunker,” Mitchell said. “I wasn’t really much of a basketball player. I just dunked and played defense, and I watched a lot of Vince’s videos. I’ve been seeing what he’s been doing all year at his age, which is incredible.

“So I figured, you know, at my size if I was able to get it, it would be a great dunk and a way to finish it, you know. And actually, funny story is I haven’t made that dunk in like half a year. I tried it in practice the past two days and tried it this morning, didn’t make it. Tried it last night, didn’t make it… But to be able to make it was why I was so excited.”

Earlier in the night, Mitchell had done another tribute worn a Darrell Griffith jersey — Utah’s Dr. Dunkenstien, who went to Louisville like Mitchell — for an off-the-side-of-the-backboard jumping over Kevin Hart dunk.

“You know, just knowing your history, I think, is the biggest thing,” Mitchell said of the throwbacks. “Just understanding where this game originated, I guess the OGs of the game, I guess you would call it. But just understanding. Even if it’s just dunking. Whether it’s dunking in the NBA in general, Darrell Griffith, we went to the same school in college. I know Darrell very well. Both got drafted by the Jazz, and he was an incredible player. To be able to pay homage to him meant a lot to me.”

For my money, Nance had the dunk of the night, his first in the Finals, a double off-the-backboard throwdown that you had to see on replay to get (it wasn’t as evident in the building what he had done until it was re-shown on the big screen).

It was a fun contest all night long.

Mitchell (the leader in the Rookie of the Year race) started it off brilliantly — he brought out a second backboard, and did a self-alley-oop off one to the other.

Larry Nance Jr. did his tribute to his father with his first dunk, and on his second one came from behind the backboard, going around the world, and threw it down hard. That got him into the Finals.

Oladipo missed all three of his dunks in the first round, which almost doomed his night. He, however, did a dunk wearing the Black Panther mask for his second dunk, which impressed.

Mitchell said he wanted to beat Dennis Smith Jr. because the Mavericks’ point guard had beaten him in dunk contests for years. Smith had one monster dunk, when he went between the legs and threw it down hard and got the full 50. It just wasn’t enough to get Smith to the Finals.

Nance started off the final round by bringing out his father again to throw an alley-oop to a windmill. Mitchell responded with a self-alley-oop to a windmill that was flat-out wicked. That got Mitchell a 50-46 lead after one round of the Finals.

Then Mitchell went to Vince Carter and “it was over.”

Larry Nance Jr. throws alley-oop to himself, throws alley-oop to himself (video)

Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES — Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. immediately motioned for the replay to be shown of this dunk. It was necessary to properly appreciate it.

Best dunk of the night.

Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest, though.

Larry Nance Jr. plays tribute to father — rock-the-cradle dunk in Suns uniform

Associated Press
1 Comment

LOS ANGELES — Back in 1984, high-flying Larry Nance Sr. won the first NBA All-Star Dunk Contest with this set of dunks — most famously a rock-the-cradle move.

Larry Nance Jr. came into the 2018 Dunk Contest and went nostalgic — all the way back to the Suns’ throwback uniform and the same dunk.

That and a good second dunk got him into the Dunk Contest finals. In that round, Nance Sr. threw an alley-oop to his son for the windmill.

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

Leave a comment

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.