LeBron James is a powerful in-game dunker.
Sometimes those kinds of dunkers don’t translate well to the showy exhibition that is the NBA’s Dunk Contest All-Star weekend. Think Shannon Brown. Heck, Jazz forward Jeremy Evans told Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida he could beat LeBron in the contest because we’ve never seen LeBron in that kind of competition.
And we never will, LeBron told Tomasson.
“No,” said James, who turns 28 on Dec. 30. “It’s over with. I’m getting too old for that. … There were times when I wanted to do it. But I came into All-Star Weekend a few times banged up and I didn’t want to risk further injury.”
LeBron was even good with Evans’ boast.
“I’m not a dunk-contest guy, so he probably could beat me in a dunk contest,” James said. “I’m OK with that.”
I’m not sure we ever thought we would see LeBron do the contest, but it seems a bit of a waste. A loss for us. Michael Jordan did it (those against Dominique Wilkins were classics), Kobe Bryant did it, Dr. J did it, Amare Stoudemire did it, Vince Carter did it, Dwight Howard did it and revived it, Blake Griffin did it, a lot of the games great star dunkers gave it a shot.
But we’ll never see LeBron do it. And he’s good with that
Anthony Davis went into this season wanting to be seen as the best player in basketball.
Part of that perception is team success, and while the Pelicans are a good-not-great 8-7 to start the season it’s not because of Anthony isn’t doing all he can. He dropped 43 points and 17 rebounds on the Knicks, helping spark the Pelicans comeback against the Knicks. Check out the video above.
Davis is averaging 26.5 points with a quality 56.4 true shooting percentage, plus 17.1 rebounds a game. His PER of 26.8 is sixth best in the NBA. When Davis gets some help, and the Pelicans play a little defense, this is the kind of team AD might want to stick with.
Carmelo Anthony is in limbo now. He’s not with the Rockets, not suiting up for games or playing, but he’s still on the roster. Houston has yet to waive him because they and his agent have not yet found a landing spot for him — other teams don’t want to get into the Carmelo Anthony business right now. Maybe that changes as injuries come and rosters shift, but right now there are no takers.
It has led Tracy McGrady and others to suggest Anthony retire.
Allen Iverson disagrees, speaking to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Iverson is right, Anthony needs to be in the right situation. I’m just not sure what that is.
Anthony, like all great athletes, wants to leave the game on his own terms. The challenge is he is no longer a top two or three player on a good team, yet he feels entitled to be put in that role (or, at least, be treated like one of those guys). ‘Melo came off the bench in Houston but didn’t like it. The problem is that’s where his game is at that point — he’s a bench role player who can get some buckets but hurts the team defensively. That limits when he can be put on the court, especially in the playoffs. Can he accept that spot on a team?
Eventually, a team is going to give Anthony a chance, and I hope that works out. I would like ‘Melo to leave the game with us remembering him as the Hall of Fame player and elite scorer that he was, not like this.
Jimmy Butler is in Philadelphia now, but he is not done throwing shade at his former teammates in Minnesota.
Butler had 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting, including the game-clinching layup, as the 76ers beat the Jazz 113-107 Friday night. After the game, he got the walk-off interview with Serena Winters and took a dig at his former Minnesota teammates.
“It’s so fun to win. So much more fun to play with these guys… Everybody wants to win, and when somebody messes up, you talk to them and they do their job.”
Part of Butler’s issues with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins was he felt they didn’t want to win badly enough, that they didn’t measure up to his level of passion. Butler is still in the honeymoon phase with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the Sixers, but so far he likes the intensity so far and is happy to make a note of the difference.
By the way, they’re happy in Minnesota without him — the Timberwolves are 3-0 since the trade, Karl-Anthony Towns is back to playing like his All-NBA self, and he says the communication is better now and guys are taking responsibility.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) —The New Orleans Pelicans say point guard Elfrid Payton has a fractured finger on his left hand.
Payton injured his finger in the first quarter of his first game back on Friday night after he’d missed New Orleans’ nine previous games with a right ankle sprain.
Soon after, Payton was ruled out for the remainder of the game against the New York Knicks.
Acquired as a free agent this past offseason, Payton has played in six games for New Orleans. He entered Friday night’s games with averages 11.6 points and 6.4 assists through his first five games, but did not have a point or assist in eight minutes against New York before his latest injury.