DeAndre Jordan is a high flyer and an integral member of the Clippers’ “Lob City.”
The seven-foot center’s offensive game is mostly limited to impressive dunks—he’s racked up up 104 of them on the season. His total ranks him fourth in the NBA.
During L.A.’s loss to Wizards on Monday night, Jordan gobbled up a career-high 22 rebounds, but only scored seven points on three made field goals. Of course, all three were slams—some more violent than others.
Jan Vesely didn’t score the 100th point on Sunday, Washington ended up with just 98 in their win against the Pistons (77 points), but he did end up with the play of the night. We talked about people getting down on Vesely in a recent post, and it’s those people who need to keep their eyes on sequences like in the video above. Again, Vesely is already the best Wizards big man at defending the high pick-and-roll, even more evident in him getting the steal from Detroit’s Will Bynum. But the scene of Vesely’s ability to run the floor with Wall, them sharing with each other until Jan ends up with the dunk, is a sign of things to come from the Czech rookie. No, he’s not a dazzling stud of a 6th overall pick, but he could develop into a defensive player as solid as Joakim Noah, but perhaps more athletic. Now wouldn’t that be nice to have at that draft position?
One moment you’ll hear that NBA team pre-draft workouts don’t mean much, they can be just one of many contact points a franchise has with a player, much less game film scouting. The next moment it’s considered a “telling sign” when a player doesn’t workout for a certain team. Sign of what? Who knows. Are players disinterested? Trying to rig their draft stock? Are teams disinterested? Throwing others off the scent of their desire? Oh the game that’s played — what do all the conflicting reports mean Enes Kanter?
Both sides can use the perception of workouts to their advantage. And the media to a certain extent as well, I suppose. If you feed the monster pixels, we all whore for hits. Kemba Walker cancels his workout against Jimmer Ferdette for the Sacramento Kings … speculate amongst yourselves, Internets. Other players, less secure in their draft status, are just jumping into another window of opportunity, perhaps building a resume toward overseas interest. These workouts, just as anything, are all part of the process. Whatever that means.
Last Thursday, June 2, the Wizards worked out six players: Talor Battle (Penn State), Mike Davis (Illinois), Papa Dia (SMU), Austin Freeman (Georgetown), Justin Hurtt (Tulsa), and Ravern Johnson (Mississippi State).
Toward the latter third of the hour and a half session, the media is let in to watch, joining the already studying eyes of team executives overlooking the Verizon Center practice court while Flip Saunders and the coaching staff put the players through drills.
Sure, the best thing about the missed Von Wafer dunk on Monday night was him unknowingly flexing/basking in his own non-accomplishment afterward on the baseline, and then turning around to run back on defense only to find a teammate who’d recovered the live ball directly in his path. That teammate, Jermaine O’Neal, ended up being called for a violation because Wafer ran into him after he’d picked up his dribble, causing him to take another dribble. Boston turnover.
Actually, the “best thing” was that Wafer’s dunk would have put the Celtics up four points with three minutes left in overtime; Washington ended up winning by one point. But another “thing” about the failed dunk attempt was the warm towel and icy-hot rubdown that JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche offered Wafer as he easily glided toward the basket, unimpeded and observed from a comfy distance by the defense. Maybe the courteous treatment actually helped Wafer blow his easy dunk off the rim. We’ll never know.
What we do know is what the whole event looked like from the sideline, in picture form, and partially obscured by referee Dick Bavetta:
The Wizards were slaughtered by the Oklahoma City Thunder like lambs in the path of Zeus’ lightening bolts from Mount Olympus on Monday night. The rivers in the Verizon Center run red with the blood of losing. In addition to their 116-89 take down by the Thunder, Washington has lost their last two games by a combined 48 points. The statistics and numbers relating the common place of losing could go on; now the Wizards set their watching to those numbers.
Injuries, inefficiencies, youth, lack of heart and effort … the Verizon Center has become a dollar store for losing excuses. Or rather, reasons. But hey, the kids are in the pool. This is a good thing. Adult time and a dolt time is over with the forced hiatus of several injured veterans. There are still problem children, but without notables who enjoy night club potent potables, losing couldn’t be more comfortable. Not necessarily more comfortable for the fans and certainly not for the players and coaches, but for those who will endure.
The air about the team is all about getting this over with as fast as possible, which could be dangerous in the complacency of an apathetic mis-education and development. Seventeen games equating over a fifth of a season are left … gosh that’s a long time. If it continues to end horribly, upon whom will that reflect poorly?
The take away by most is that it was one of the most entertaining NBA All-Star weekends in a while, and JaVale McGee helped anchor it with his performance in the dunk contest on Saturday night. But just as some people are entertained by reality television that’s actually scripted, the show put forth by the NBA can follow the same narrative. Was Blake Griffin really ever going to lose the contest in Los Angeles? Maybe … if Griffin had failed to complete a dunk within the allotted time when it counted. But that wasn’t going to happen. The city of LA, the fan vote on the final and the made-for-SportsCenter player all but predetermined the deal, according to McGee’s teammate Rashard Lewis. There was no topping Griffin jumping over a car, an “officially sponsored by the NBA car,” with a choir in the background, the hype-man efforts of Kenny Smith bringing it all together, and the icing on the cake if you ask Nick Young, LA Clipper teammate Baron Davis popping out the sun roof to throw Griffin the oop.
What about Serge Ibaka’s role? His dunk where he grabbed a stuffed animal hanging from the rim with his teeth before dunking was very similar to a dunk McGee had in mind. McGee originally displayed a maneuver where he grabbed a piece of paper from the net before dunking; the video of him doing so after practice went viral back on January 6, perhaps an unfortunate consequence. Still, there’s no way to know the inception of Ibaka’s creation. McGee said that his version for the dunk contest involved grabbing a judge’s scorecard and showing it to everyone afterward. After Ibaka’s similar attempt (or, “exact same dunk” as JaVale says it), McGee was forced to move the three-ball dunk he was saving for the final higher in the program. Using that dunk as a last attempt might have kept him in the conversation, but again, with Griffin winning 65-percent of the fan vote in the end, it’s highly unlikely.
According to Flip Saunders, McGee would’ve had to pull of a 720-degree dunk from the free-throw line to top the pomp and circumstance surrounding Griffin. However, the Wizards coach also admitted that McGee probably should have won the contest because likely no one else could replicate two of his dunks — the two-ball, side-by-side basket dunk and the three-ball dunk (with help from John Wall). Also to note, as I’ve readily reminded people, some dude named Marko Milic has dunked over a car before … Griffin’s version was special, but not that special.
Note: Rashad Mobley is in Los Angeles for the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend festivities following the entertaining activities of John Wall and JaVale McGee as they put their great individual talent on display to the world. He covered the Rookie-Sophomore Game, the All-Star practice, and last night, the Skills Competition and the Dunk Contest…
When John Wall set the NBA Rookie-Sophomore game record with 22 assists on Friday night, he gave NBA viewers all over the world a glimpse of his limitless potential. JaVale McGee had that same opportunity on Saturday night and he showed NBA fans some creative dunks that had not been seen in quite some time, and in a couple cases, ever.
First up was Wall and his brief Skills competition appearance. Earlier in the weekend, Wall informed Washington Post writer Michael Lee that he expected the passes to be a problem for him, and that turned out to be a prophetic statement. His initial chest pass rattled in and then back out, and Wall had to run back and try again. After hitting the jumper on his second attempt (where I fully expected him to struggle), Wall then took two attempts to complete the outlet pass. His time of 39.3 seconds in the first round was not good enough to advance — however, it was good enough to beat last place Chris Paul, who finger-rolled and missed a point blank layup. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors ended up defeating Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the final with a time of 28.2 seconds.
Next it was JaVale’s turn to shine, and he seized his moment and then some. For his first round dunk, he aligned two baskets right next to each other, and dunked on them both in with two separate balls. It took him several tries to get it right, but once he did, he was awarded with a perfect score of 50.
JaVale McGee is participating in the dunk contest tonight, obviously. So this post is wishing luck to him … and if you’re looking for TAI original photographic examples of Epic Vale dunking, we got you covered below.