When you think of Pat Connaughton, a few things come to mind.
He's a former Trail Blazer (now with the Milwaukee Bucks) who has high energy, unique athletic abilities and is willing to do the little things to help his team win. Things that don't necessarily set off alarms when Connaughton's name is spoken? Dunk contest participant.
Well, that'll soon change.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Connaughton has received an invite to participate in the NBA Slam Dunk competition at All-Star weekend. Perhaps Connaughton's 44-inch vertical leap measured at the NBA Combine will come in handy?
Milwaukee’s Pat Connaughton has committed to invite to the NBA Slam Dunk contest at All-Star weekend in Chicago, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Aaron Gordon, Dwight Howard, Derrick Jones Jr., Connaughton so far set.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 3, 2020
This will be Connaughton's first time participating in the dunk competition. Aaron Gordon, Dwight Howard, Derrick Jones Jr., each competed in previous years with Howard's last appearance coming 11 yeas ago. Considering the fact the dunk contest has been limited to four participants each of the last five years, this is likely the finalized group.
So, what that means Trail Blazers fans is that Anfernee Simons will not be playing.
The sophomore guard recently told NBC Sports Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes he would participate in the contest, if he was invited.
"I'm going to be online vouching for [Simons' invite] too...He should definitely be in it," All-Star guard Damian Lillard said.
Trail Blazers Twitter launched a Simons to dunk contest campaign in effort to get the 20-year-old into the event, but it appears the NBA is not ready for dunks like these...
WHAT. A. DUNK.— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) December 29, 2019
"I've got places to be, and it doesn't involve you..." -- Anfernee Simons
Maybe next year, Ant.