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.