January 05, 2011
Los Angeles Times hoops scribe Broderick Turner has the scoop:
Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who has become must-see TV because of his slam dunks, will be in the NBA's slam dunk contest, sources said Tuesday night.
Joining Griffin will be Washington Wizards 7-foot center JaVale McGee(notes), Oklahoma City Thunder 6-10 forward Serge Ibaka(notes) and Milwaukee Bucks 6-1 guard Brandon Jennings(notes), sources said.
Interesting choices, NBA.
For one, the league long ago decided to go with younger players, if at all possible, for the event. So don't litter the comments section whining about how you've never heard of any of these guys besides Griffin and possibly Brandon Jennings. That's sort of the point, the NBA wants new blood. But is this the best blood?
McGee might have this league's highest vertical and most terrifying wingspan, but he's also done some doltish things from time to time on the court, and the Dunk Contest (for all its athletic derring-do) also relies on players knowing what they're doing, following the rules, and not biting off more than they can chew. Chris Andersen(notes)-types need not apply.
Ibaka? He can jump, and we love his game, but creativity plays a part, and Serge seems more of a meat and potatoes dunker. Brandon Jennings? He can dunk, but couldn't the league find a better little-guy dunker? On top of that, Jennings will be fresh off a month and a half break due to foot surgery. Who knows if he can even get rim at that point?
Griffin's no gimmie, either, but we'd sure like to see him try. He reminds of Kenny "Sky" Walker and Shawn Kemp, two players who have done well in this setting, so his selection has to be a no-brainer. With Griffin as the prohibitive favorite heading in, please Mssrs. McGee, Ibaka and Jennings, give us a competition, and not a coronation.