Blake is not Fake
When the dunk contest was created 26 years years ago, it was meant to be an added piece of entertainment as a part of NBA All-Star Weekend. Now, it means much more in terms of bragging rights and hype. In fact, Saturday night's show was the most watched since the event's inception. The All-Star Game enjoyed some success, too. This year's game was the most watched and highest rated since 2003. Remember that one? Michael Jordan played in his last NBA All-Star game and the league took a collective gasp. 'Whatever are we going to do?' No more worries now. Sure, the jaded will always find fault in the props and hype especially when their favourite doesn't end up with the 'pretend' hardware. Blake Griffin's second dunk did not compare to JeVale McGee dunking two baskets at once. Hands down. However, it was good enough to show it was better than what Serge Ibaka and DeMar DeRozan presented if only by a small margin.
Looking at this sans emotion and looking at the stats, Blake Griffin had the most talent and experience this season going into this year's dunk contest all on his own. He had 137 dunks so far in the regular season and when you think about it, the expectations were so high he had to jump over a car or some other large vehicle. When Griffin was 10 years old, he watched Vince Carter win the Slam Dunk Contest in 2000. Moments later, Griffin put his bike under his hoop outside and tried to jump over it. So he practiced this 'leaping over obstacles' thing at a very young age. So when he found out this year's dunk contest had no rules, he asked "So I can jump over a car?" joking but serious at the same time. Though he didn't leap from the three-point arc, he did successfully complete a dangerous and a never-seen-before dunk. The car chosen had to be a KIA due to existing sponsorship legalities with league and the All-Star Weekend. He could have clipped his foot on the side or smash his face on the car - two things he was really afraid of. On top of all this, he was playing under the duress of losing a good friend and former highschool teammate, Wilson Holloway who died Wednesday after a long battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Sure, make your arguments as to why DeRozan, Ibaka and McGee should have gone further in the competition. Most of these will be valid - it was anyone's game with the talent pool. But to claim "Blake is fake" would be a disgrace to the game of basketball because he is the real deal - a class act and truly athletic - just like DeRozan. How can you argue with that?
Is the 'Melo' Drama Over?
I pose this as a question since the NBA trade deadline is still days away and as of Tuesday morning, this deal has yet to be inked, so I am not getting excited. Sometime today, it will be made official over a conference call between the parties involved, the pending trade of Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. This will be no simple "let's pack your bags and go" deal. Carmelo Anthony was on Conan O'Brien's late night talk show last night, claiming he knew nothing but eluded to the fact he may like to stay in Denver - a mute point now. Here is the proposed three-way deal between Denver, New York and Minnesota (assuming it goes through):
- The Knicks would get Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Balkman (from Denver) and Corey Brewer (from Minnesota).
- The Nuggets would get Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov (from New York). The Nuggets also stand to gain a 2014 first round pick from New York, Minnesota's second picks from 2012, 2013 and $3 million in cash.
- The Timberwolves would receive Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph (from New York).
How good would this deal be? Considering Denver is dealing away their star player, they did pretty well. Realistically, Denver was never going to come out on top because whoever acquired Carmelo Anthony would have. I know there are those who don't bet the house on draft picks over actual players but this may change in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Think about it. In the new CBA, maybe free agents won't be as easy to move and therefore draft picks will have more weight in building a team. What does this mean for each team come the playoffs? The Timberwolves were just looking to upgrade in the deal, in no way expected to make a run in the playoffs and continue to rebuild. As for the Knicks, they went from being not much of anything for two years, to above average and now to progressively getting better. The Knicks gave up a lot to acquire Anthony and I believe they will eventually make it back. On the flipside, what they acquired seems next to impossible. Are they serious playoff contenders if this deal goes through? Not really since they would have to cause some serious upsets in order to advance but anything is possible. This whole process turned a lot of people off, including Carmelo Anthony. Even he has acknowledged from the very beginning the "Melo" drama is affecting those around him citing teammate Chancey Billups and the initial rumours surrounding his involvement in any deal. Since declining a 3-year, 65 million-dollar extension on his contract from Denver last summer, Carmelo Anthony has endured what we've endured - a long drawn out process which is finally over - fingers Crossed.
Jarrett Jack in DUI Trouble
Former Raptor and now guard for the New Orleans Hornets Jarrett Jack, was charged with "Driving Under Influence" or DUI charges in the U.S. yesterday. According to Sneville Police Chief Roy Whitehead, this is how the incident unfolded (as told to him by the arresting officer):
"The officer paced the vehicle, verifying that it was speeding, and observed the vehicle cross the center line and fog line. He stopped the vehicle and smelled an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from the driver, Jarrett Matthew Jack. He conducted field sobriety tests which Mr. Jack failed".
There were no reported injuries in the incident and no other reported charges being laid on Jarret Jack. As of Tuesday morning there is word from the NBA as to any further discipline from the Hornets or the league. But expect some. Although he was once a beloved member of the Toronto Raptors and first inclinations say we give him the benefit of the doubt, it is clear from the evidence he made a decision to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. Plain and simple. Let's hope this was the first and last time we hear a story like this from him.
Thanks for joining me again this week. As always, I welcome your comments on Twitter (@ddegraauw) or on Facebook (Danielle de Graauw). Please keep those coming and see you right here on Thursday for more Raptors' opponent analysis in "Behind Enemy Lines".