Tag Archives: all-star weekend

Zach LaVine’s Big Phat All-Star Weekend

2015 NBA Slam-Dunk champion Zach LaVine

2015 NBA Slam-Dunk champion Zach LaVine



All-Star Weekend is 66.6 percent complete. The Rising Stars (Rookies & Sophomores) Game was Friday night. The Wolves had 4 players participating; 2 on the International Team and 2 on Team USA (Wiggins, Gorgui, Shabazz, LaVine). Andrew Wiggins led the international squad to victory, and earned Game MVP honors.

Last night was the three-point shootout and dunk contest. Steph Curry, unsurprisingly won the shootout. He hit 13 straight at one point. It seems appropriate he wins a contest that celebrates his signature skill in the same season that he will probably win league MVP and has a great chance of also winning a title (and, presumably with that, a Finals MVP honor). Curry’s awesome.

But the big story of last night and the entire weekend is Zach LaVine. We had high expectations for what he might do in the dunk contest — because videos like this one exist — and he came through on the big stage. LaVine caught the ball off the bounce, pulled it between his legs and did a one-handed reverse jam on the baseline. In his next dunk, he caught the ball off the bounce again, but this time swung it behind his back and flushed it home with his right hand. Those were possibly the two greatest dunks in contest history. He made each on his first attempt.

LaVine’s third and fourth dunks were comparatively disappointing but that had more to do with the expectations he set by his first pair than anything wrong with the dunks themselves. (Also, he didn’t connect on the first try in the final round, which takes a little bit of the shine off.) He caught the ball off the stanchion and went under his leg for the final slam of the night. He made that look easy. Victor Oladipo made one really cool dunk, but was no competition for LaVine, who won the contest easily.

This was LaVine’s biggest career moment BY FAR. So we broke down our thoughts on Zach LaVine’s big phat All-Star Weekend below the fold.

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Filed under Features, INBOX, Timberwolves

Wheelman Presents: The Punch-Drunk Podcast, Vol. 2

In which we review the Wolves performance last week, assess their playoff chances, talk All-Star Weekend, and discuss Hoop Ideas for addressing the NBA age-minimum issue.


Filed under Podcasts

Love the Champ

Kevin Love joined elite company on Saturday Night by winning the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout.  Past winners include Larry Bird (3) Peja Stojakovich (2) Glen Rice, Mark Price, Ray Allen, Dirk Nowitzki, and Paul Pierce (and other lesser-known snipers).  Announcing the event for TNT were Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Shaq, and Charles Barkley.  Chuck continues to pump K-Love’s tire with the “best power forward in the NBA” flattery, but mentioned more than once that he doesn’t want Kevin to fall in love with the three-point shot.  He thinks he needs to do his work from 15 feet and in.  Reggie seemed to disagree; perhaps a natural reaction from a player whose teams won many a playoff series behind his long-range gunning.

I fall squarely in Reggie’s camp on this one.  Love’s perimeter shooting is a huge strength that helps the team by spacing the floor, capitalizing on Rubio passes, and–perhaps most importantly–taking Love away from the basket, where Nikola Pekovic is proving to be the more-effective option.  Love is currently shooting 4.0 threes per 36 minutes, a career-high for him.  For some perspective, here are past three-point champs and their career average for number of 3’s attempted per 36:

James Jones – 5.9

Paul Pierce – 4.3

Daequan Cook – 7.3

Jason Kapono – 4.2

Dirk Nowitzki – 3.1

Quentin Richardson – 5.7

Voshon Lenard – 5.7

Peja Stojakovich – 5.9

Ray Allen – 5.8

Jeff Hornacek – 2.2 (weird how low this is–he won the event TWICE, and barely shot 3’s in games.)

Steve Kerr – 3.6 (perhaps he and Horny just weren’t given the ball much, playing with multiple HOF’ers)

Tim Legler – 4.1

Glen Rice – 4.0

Mark Price – 4.1

Craig Hodges – 3.4

Dale Ellis – 4.4

Larry Bird – 1.8

Okay, now that I’ve made that list, a few additional thoughts:

* 4.0 is higher than I anticipated among the former champs.  These are career averages though, and some of these guys had higher 3PA/36 during their prime years.  Love is probably now in his prime.

* Some of these players were role players next to superstars–guys like Kerr, Hodges, and Legler were not given the ball very much, so low shooting frequency makes sense.  For Love, this isn’t an issue.

* I don’t think Love–to this point–gets hounded around the perimeter like star shooters such as Allen and Peja.  I think he could afford to shoot an extra 3 or two each game without forcing it.

Anyway, great representation of the Wolves tonight between Love’s title and one pretty amazing dunk by Williams, with help from Rubio.  The team is certainly on the national radar now, and All-Star Weekend bears that out.


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Can Derrick Williams Win the Dunk Contest?

Williams dunks from far places

This blogger says no.

I decided to rank the dunkers, based on how well I expect them to do in the contest (that is, NOT on their in-game dunking ability). My list is below the fold.

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Filed under Timberwolves