Why the 3-point-shootout field tops the dunk-contest field


Imagine your ideal 3-point-shootout field.

It’d look an awful lot like the actual field: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, James Harden, Kyrie Irving , J.J. Redick, Wesley Matthews and and Marco Belinelli.

Now, imagine your ideal dunk-contest field.

It’d look nothing, or nearly nothing, like the actual field: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Victor Oladipo, Mason Plumlee and Zach LaVine.

Has the 3-pointer replaced the dunk as the premier shot in the NBA? Are 3-pointers now cooler than dunks?

Teams shoot 3-pointers more often than ever, relying on them to generate efficient points and space the floor. As the NBA has loosened defensive rules, the lane has become more packed, limiting dunking opportunities.

But 3-pointers cooler than dunks? No way. A jumper is not more exciting or fun or exhilarating than a slam.

So why don’t we get LeBron James, Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook in the dunk contest like we do Curry, Thompson and Korver in the 3-point shootout?

The Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The NBA, as negotiated with the players’ union, can require anyone to participate in the 3-point shootout (or skills challenge or shooting stars contest) with two exceptions:

1. The player isn’t injured.

2. The player hasn’t competed in the event the previous two years (unless he’s the defending champ, in which case he can be required to return).

So, Curry and Irving, both of whom participated in the 3-point shootout the previous two years, were the only two exempt healthy players. Luckily for the NBA, Curry badly wants to win the event, and Irving will participate, too.

The dunk contest is explicitly excluded from these stipulations. In fact, the only players the league can require to compete in the dunk contest are Rising Stars Challenge participants.

Unsurprisingly, all four dunk-contest entrants this year are also in the Rising Stars Challenge.

The CBA calls for more money for the dunk-contest winner ($100,000) than the 3-point shootout winner ($50,000*), but that’s not enough to persuade top players to enter the dunk contest.

*Set before the league increase the participants from six to eight last year, so the figure might have been altered.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN wrote a good article on the changing nature of the NBA, and as he says, there is a buzz for this year’s 3-point shootout – more than the dunk contest. But I don’t see the NBA’s evolution and this year’s All-Star Saturday Night as closely linked as he does.

Elite players want a break more than that cash. Passing on the dunk contest is more about the contractually negotiated right to do so – a right much more limited for the 3-point shootout – than anything else.






Heat forward James Johnson expected to miss 7 to 10 days

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MIAMI (AP) The Miami Heat will be without starting forward James Johnson for at least two games and probably more after bursitis was found in his right ankle.

Johnson left Miami’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday with ankle pain, and an MRI performed Sunday led to the bursitis diagnosis. Johnson is not traveling with the team for its trip for games at Atlanta on Monday and Boston on Wednesday.

The team says Johnson could miss seven to 10 days, which would also mean his status for home games against Dallas on Dec. 22, New Orleans on Dec. 23 and Orlando on Dec. 26 is in some doubt.

Johnson is averaging 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Heat this season.

LeBron James wears one black, one white LeBron 15 shoes with “Equality” on back (VIDEO)

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LeBron James notched his third-straight triple-double on Sunday, this one coming against the Washington Wizards. But before the game, the story was all about how James was voicing a silent protest — in Washington D.C., no less — by wearing a special version of his shoes.

LeBron took to the floor wearing his LeBron 15s, but this player edition had the word “Equality” on the back of them. James wore one black shoe and one white shoe.

James wore the black versions of this shoe in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ opener to start the season.

Via Twitter:

LeBron finished the game with 20 points, 15 assists, and 12 rebounds. The Cavaliers beat the Wizards, 106-99.

Stephen Curry says he’d want in on potential Panthers ownership


The Carolina Panthers are up for sale. Owner Jerry Richardson said he would sell the team late on Sunday following an announcement by the NFL that Richardson was under investigation for “workplace misconduct”. The NFL’s investigation and Richardson’s decision to sell was preceded by a report from SI saying Richardson had paid out settlements amid sexual harassment and racial slur claims.

Enter Sean Combs and Stephen Curry.

Combs — that’s Diddy, you to and me — has previously voiced his interest in being involved with the NFL, and after seeing that Richardson would be selling the team, jumped at the chance to boost his profile. Combs tweeted that he wanted to buy the team, and that’s when Curry joined in.

Via Twitter:

Naturally, Curry is from Charlotte and went to both high school and eventually college in the area, playing at Davidson. He’s an avid Panthers fan and has been on the sideline for the team publicly many times over the years.

Curry being part of an ownership group for the Panthers would be pretty wild. Perhaps Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan would like to join in? It seems like they would have the liquidity and credit availability between the three of them to get the team.

Then again, the asking price for the Panthers could be north of $2 billion. The last team to be sold was the Buffalo Bills in 2014 for $1.4 billion. In September, Forbes released a valuation for the Panthers that put them at $2.3 billion.

Might need to get a few others involved in this one.

Watch Raptors fans give Vince Carter a standing ovation in Toronto (VIDEO)

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Vince Carter is 40 years old and playing in what could possibly be his final NBA season. The Sacramento Kings guard started his career with the Toronto Raptors, and on Sunday he played what could possibly be his final game at the Air Canada Centre.

And so, when Carter was subbed out late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, the folks in Toronto did what came naturally: they cheered.

The whole thing was pretty great to watch, and a real testament to how Carter is viewed by fans in Toronto.

Via Twitter:

Carter scored just four points in 25 minutes for Sacramento, going 2-of-5 from the field while adding three blocks, two assists, a rebound and a steal.

The Raptors got the win over the Kings, 108-93.