76ers

Sixers Home School: Should Andre Iguodala have won 2006 Slam Dunk Contest?

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Sixers Home School: Should Andre Iguodala have won 2006 Slam Dunk Contest?

There's a lot of home schooling going on right now, so why not use some of this time to learn more about the history of your favorite teams? In this edition of Sixers Home School, we look back at the 2006 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

No Sixers player has ever won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, but you can make a very good case that Andre Iguodala should have won back in 2006. In his second season, Iguodala squared off against Atlanta's Josh Smith, Memphis' Hakim Warrick and 5-foot-9 Nate Robinson of the Knicks. 

At the 11:00 mark of the video, you'll see Iguodala bring out Allen Iverson to assist him on one of the most incredible dunks you'll ever see. It took a couple tries to get it right, but Iverson throws the ball off the back of the backboard, and Iguodala comes running in from beyond the photographers to catch it and then soar through the air to dunk it on the other side of the rim. It earned Iguodala a 50 and it's fun to hear Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson going nuts. It's one of the most amazing dunks in the history of the contest.

After another impressive dunk at the 22:27 mark of the video, when Iguodala threw the ball up in the air, caught it on the bounce and went behind his back to dunk it, Kevin Harlan says "it's over."

But it wasn't over. At the 23:45 mark, Robinson calls out the original miniature dunker, Spud Webb, from the crowd. Robinson then jumped over Webb and threw down a fantastic dunk, getting the crowd on his side. Then at 27:15, Iguodala, needing a 45 to win, completed a between-the-legs lefty dunk that left the judges scrambling to decide what to do.

Kenny Smith and Clyde Drexler both gave the dunk an "8," and when the scores were added up, Iguodala received a 45, leading to a dunk-off with Robinson.

Ah, the dunk-off. From 29:00 to 33:30 in the video, you'll see Robinson try to complete a between-the-legs jump pass from midcourt, catch the ball of the backboard and dunk. He tries and fails 15 times before finally completing it. You'll get tired just watching him try and try again. Even though Robinson had to move closer to the three-point line to finally get the timing right, the completed dunk earned a 47 from the judges, meaning that Iguodala needed 48 for the win. 

At 34:55, you'll see Iguodala do a version of Isaiah Rider's "East Bay Funk Dunk" that won the 1994 dunk contest. But four of the five judges only gave Iguodala a 9, and his 46-point dunk gave Robinson the title by one point. At the 35:25 mark, you'll see Iverson say "We got robbed." Barkley agreed. Was Iguodala robbed? You can judge for yourself.

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2020 NBA Draft profile: Jordan Nwora is a proven scorer, shooter

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2020 NBA Draft profile: Jordan Nwora is a proven scorer, shooter

Jordan Nwora

Position: Forward
Height: 6-7
Weight: 225
School: Louisville

Six months ago, Jordan Nwora seemed like a lock to be selected in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft. Nwora was the ACC Preseason Player of the Year, poised to lead Louisville to a big season and cement his status as one of the best players in all of college basketball.

By all accounts, he had a very good — if not great — junior season. Nwora averaged 18 points and just under eight rebounds per game for a Louisville team that finished with a 24-7 record. He was named First Team All-ACC and finished second in conference player of the year voting behind Duke’s Tre Jones.

Yet here we are looking ahead to the draft and Nwora is considered a fringe first-round pick who is more likely to be selected in the second round. 

So, what went wrong? There are a couple theories. One, Nwora struggled in a handful of marquee games last season. He scored just eight points on 2 of 10 shooting in a loss at Kentucky and was held to six points on 3 of 12 shooting at Duke a couple weeks later. To make matters worse, he scored a total of seven points in back-to-back losses to Georgia Tech and Clemson in mid-February.

There are also doubts as to whether Nwora showed enough improvement between his sophomore and junior seasons. Does he work hard enough? Is he committed to improving his game? These are questions that will follow Nwora as the draft approaches.

Strengths

Nwora is a proven scorer. He averaged 17 points as a sophomore and 18 points as a junior. He did so wearing a target on his back, particularly this past season. Opponents game planned to slow him down and he still put up big numbers against very good competition. 

He’s also a very efficient three-point shooter. Nwora shot better than 37 percent from long range during his sophomore year. He was even better last season, making 40 percent of his three-point attempts. His combination of size and shooting ability is very attractive to NBA talent evaluators.  

Weaknesses

Ball handling and defense top the list. Nwora should be an effective spot-up shooter in the NBA but his ability to create his own shot is questionable. His ball handling skills need significant improvement to be considered NBA-ready.

There are also legitimate concerns about his ability to defend on the pro level. Is he quick enough to guard smaller players on the perimeter? Is he strong enough to hold his own in the paint and on the boards? If Nwora ends up slipping to the second round, the defensive question marks will be the biggest reason why. 

Fit

Nwora could very well be selected early in the second round. The Sixers currently own the 34th and 36th picks and they need shooters. Nwora certainly fits that description. 
    
The Sixers could target him for his shooting ability and live with his shortcomings on the defensive end of the floor. Nwora to the Sixers isn’t a far-fetched scenario and definitely warrants serious consideration.  

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2020 NBA return plan: Adam Silver says NBA is in '1st inning,' explains COVID-19 precautions

2020 NBA return plan: Adam Silver says NBA is in '1st inning,' explains COVID-19 precautions

In an appearance Thursday night on "The NBA on TNT," commissioner Adam Silver emphasized that the NBA still has several important concerns it must address before resuming the 2019-20 season.

While the NBA’s Board of Governors approved a 22-team plan to finish the season at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, beginning on July 31, Silver framed that vote as the first of many steps.

“It’s been a very difficult process,” he said. “And I should say, to mix sporting metaphors, we’ve got a long way to go here. We’re really in the equivalent of the first inning.” 

Silver explained why the NBA felt comfortable proposing a plan now after first suspending the season on March 11, when Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Of course we’ve always been looking for whether or not there is an appropriate and safe way that we can resume basketball,” Silver said, “and knowing that we’re going to be living with this virus for a while. … We’ve been exploring with the players whether there can be a new normal here.”

He singled out Hornets chairman Michael Jordan as an advocate for maintaining as typical a conclusion to the season as possible. The 22-team plan includes eight “seeding games” and the possibility of a play-in tournament if the eighth and ninth seeds finish within four games of each other. The postseason, however, would follow a traditional format, with 16 teams and four best-of-seven series to determine a champion.

Jordan “felt it was very important, after we established the 16 teams, to not be gimmicky,” Silver said. 

What’s next for the NBA? First, the league must secure approval from the National Basketball Players Association. The NBPA is set to meet Friday, according to The New York Times’ Marc Stein, and it sounds like the Players Association may have reservations about certain aspects of the league’s plan. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski she was “surprised” to see a tentative date of Nov. 10 to start training camps for the 2020-21 season. Oct. 12 would be the last possible date for Game 7 of this year’s NBA Finals under the owners-approved plan.

“We’ve had extensive discussions with the Players Association,” Silver said, “but we haven’t finished those negotiations.”

Silver outlined some of the precautions the league might enact to minimize coronavirus-related risk, but he acknowledged there are still unanswered questions. He said players would need to maintain physical distancing protocols, even when away from the court. There may also be more stringent safety measures for older coaches and personnel more susceptible to COVID-19. 

“Obviously the most significant changes from when we shut down are we’re playing without fans, we’re playing in a central location, we’re playing on a campus where the players are going to remain there throughout the competition,” he said. “The players are going to be tested … most likely daily.”

“… Certain coaches may not have to be the bench coach. They may have to maintain social distancing protocols … but when it comes to actual play, we may not want them that close to players, in order to protect (the coaches). Those are all issues we’re working through.”

If the NBA does ultimately travel to Disney World, what are the contingencies if players, coaches or other team staffers test positive for the coronavirus? When asked specifically by Charles Barkley if a positive test in the playoffs would force a team to withdraw, Silver said, “we don’t believe we would need to.”

He said the league’s current belief, based on discussions with NBA health consultants and public health officials in Florida, is that it would be possible to contain a player, trace his contacts and allow a team to proceed because of daily testing. 

That’s one question of many Silver seems aware he’ll need a satisfactory response for if the NBA is indeed going to proceed with this season under very unusual circumstances. 

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