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Report: Dirk Nowitzki invited to 3-point contest


There has been talk of getting Vince Carter into the dunk contest during his last season, which is one of those ideas that looks better on paper than in reality. Carter will be 42 during the dunk contest. Though he still dunks well for his age, he’s no longer capable of putting on an intriguing show. It’d be a shame to waste one of four spots on him.

The 3-point contest – with eight participants rather than four – presents a much better opportunity to honor a great player nearing retirement. Like Dirk Nowitzki.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

It’s not totally clear Nowitzki has accepted. But Stein’s second tweet indicates he has. The Collective Bargaining Agreement also requires Nowitzki to participate if invited, though I doubt the NBA would force Nowitzki to compete if he’d prefer to rest that weekend.

If Nowitzki enters the event, this would be his sixth 3-point contest, behind only Craig Hodges (eight) and Dale Ellis (seven) and tied with Ray Allen (and probably Stephen Curry):


It’s also worth noting Nowitzki is making just 26% of his 3-pointers this season. If that stands, that’d be one of the worst 3-point percentages ever by someone in the 3-point contest:


As back-to-back-to-back defending champion, Craig Hodges competed in the 1993 3-point contest despite being unsigned. He alleges the NBA blackballed him.

Rimas Kurtinaitis was a European player brought in for the 1989 contest. He never played in the NBA.

Detlef Schrempf was just 3-for-18 on 3-pointers at the 1988 All-Star break. But he made 47% of his 3-pointers in his previous NBA seasons. That was a time players had more variance in their 3-point percentages, because players had smaller samples of long-distance shots. So, maybe the league figured he’d rebound. But he sure didn’t that season (or the next one, though he regained his touch beyond the arc later in his career).

Tim Legler was just finished recovering from an ACL tear suffered the prior season when he competed in the 1997 contest. He hadn’t even played in an NBA game yet. But he was the defending 3-point-contest champion and arguably the NBA’s top 3-point shooter. Unfortunately for Leger, who returned to play after the All-Star break, he didn’t shoot well from beyond the arc the rest of that season.

So, that’s Nowitzki’s potential company. There’s still plenty of time for him to climb out of his this hole. He made 41% of his 3-pointers last season and has annually finished above league average in recent seasons. But it’s worth acknowledging the 40-year-old might no longer have the legs to consistently hit 3s.

Still, him trying for one night in a fun contest would be welcome.

Joel Embiid out with left knee soreness for Game 3 vs. Nets

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The Philadelphia 76ers will be without Joel Embiid on Thursday night as they take on the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of their first round series.

Embiid is battling left knee soreness and although he had a statistically-important performance as the Sixers took Game 2, it was obvious he was in some kind of reduced state of ability.

Veteran center Greg Monroe will start in Embiid’s place, but it will be hard for the Sixers to match Embiid’s production. The Cameroonian star is Philadelphia’s best player, and the 76ers are a hot and cold team.

Not having Embiid on the floor will seriously alter how they respond to the spunky Nets, who already took Game 1 from the higher-seeded Sixers.

The fact that Embiid needs to rest is also drawing some ire from folks on social media. The question is why Embiid did not rest earlier in the series — or even the end of the regular season when he was in and out of the lineup — and prepare for the coming playoff run?

However things go on Thursday, folks around the league will have their eyes glued to the injury report to see updates on Embiid’s status.

Grizzlies’ Kyle Anderson undergoes thoracic outlet decompression surgery

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Kyle Anderson was playing a solid role off the bench for the Grizzlies this season, 8 points and 5.8 rebounds a game, serving as a secondary ball handler and shot creator. Slo-mo was doing his thing.

However, by the end of January, the pain radiating from his shoulder — something he now says he had been playing through for a couple of years — got to be too much. He never played another game after Jan. 30.

Thursday he had thoracic outlet decompression surgery to relieve the problem. Anderson is expected to make a full recovery and be ready to go next training camp.

For comparison, this is the same surgery the Lakers’ Brandon Ingram had.

Anderson is on a very reasonable contract, three years and $28 million remaining. He can be part of what is going to be built in Memphis going forward, but if they are tearing down and rebuilding — meaning a summer trade of Mike Conley — he could bring back assets in a trade.

Either way, he should be healthy and ready to go next summer.

Jerry West on NBA draft: ‘I don’t know how you could pass Zion Williamson’

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A rumor started buzzing around NBA Twitter last week, a second-hand report that NBA legend and Clippers’ consultant Jerry West was praising Murray State guard Ja Morant, saying he would take him in front of the presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson.

The source of that rumor: comedian Jeff Garlin, saying it on the Dan Patrick Show.

Jerry West himself went on the Dan Patrick show Thursday and shot that down saying “it Would Be Like Passing Jordan in the draft.”

Two players were picked in front Jordan in the 1984 Draft. The Houston Rockets took Hakeem Olajuwon, and while Jordan went on to be Jordan nobody can fault the Rockets for how this picked turned out — two titles and a Hall of Fame big man in your organization is an amazing draft.

The one everyone talks about was Portland at No. 2, when executive Stu Inman and coach Jack Ramsey decided they were set on the wing in Clyde Drexler and needed a big man, so they selected Sam Bowie out of Kentucky. Bowie might have had an excellent NBA career if injuries had not plagued him, but he was no Jordan. It’s the ultimate NBA cautionary tale — draft the best player on the board, not according to need.

Williamson is projected by teams as the best player on the board. By far. Even the Morant fans have him a clear second. Plus, Williamson comes in hugely popular and a brand unto himself — he will sell tickets and sponsorships. Not drafting him would be a stupid business decision, not to mention a basketball one.

Whoever lands second in next month’s draft lottery will do well with Morant. Whoever is third will likely get R.J. Barrett out of Duke and… let’s just say that’s where it gets interesting.

Likely top-10 pick Jarrett Culver of Texas Tech declares for NBA draft

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We all knew this was coming, but on Thursday he made it official:

Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver is declaring for the NBA Draft, where he is expected to be a top-10 pick. He made the announcement at a rally on the Tech campus Thursday, then took his message to social media.

Culver, a 6’6” wing player, passes the eye test for an NBA wing, he can shoot from the outside (he only hit 30.4 percent from three this season, but it was 38 percent the season before and his stroke looks good), he can put the ball on the floor and get inside, and he may have the best feel for the game of any wing prospect in this draft. The only question is athleticism — he’s not a classically explosive, and the NBA is loaded with freak athletes on the wing.

Still, Culvert looks like a rotation wing player with the potential to be more, and that should land him comfortably in the top 10 in this draft (likely 5-8).