Northwest Notes: Mitchell, Crawford, Thunder

The NBA’s highest-scoring rookie is open to the idea of competing in the NBA Dunk Contest, Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News writes. First-year Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell is a an obvious candidate to compete in the Rising Stars Game and has a growing portfolio of highlight-reel dunks.

It would be great, but I haven’t paid any attention to that whatsoever,” the 21-year-old sensation averaging 18.1 points per game for the Jazz said. “Not even the whole weekend. That’s not even been on my head at all. People bring it up, but I don’t even like to entertain it, I just focus on the task at hand.

As the February festivities grow closer, and participants formally get offered opportunities to strut their stuff, the Jazz rookie may call upon his own background competing in dunk contests. Woodyard writes that Mitchell once competed in the BallIsLife All-American Game dunk contest and won the Derby Basketball Classic dunk contest in 2015.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Veteran guard Jamal Crawford has found adjusting to his role with the Timberwolves challenging, Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune writes, noting that he didn’t expect to play the fewest minutes per game since his rookie campaign in 2000/01. “You want to actually do it the right way, and play within the framework of the game. But then, if you’re not out there that much, you kind of have to make something happen. So it’s a balance I’m trying to figure out,” Crawford said.
  • The three stars leading the Thunder may still need to figure out how to play effectively with one another but Paul George denies there being any chemistry issues, Royce Young of ESPN writes. “We’ve never had chemistry problems. We like, and enjoy, playing with one another. It’s never been a chemistry problem,” George said.
  • The Thunder got a good look at two former teammates when the club traveled to New York City for battle with the Knicks. Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott, who went east in the Carmelo Anthony trade, were eager to match up against their former team and particularly proud to walk away with the victory, Fred Keber of the New York Post writes. “It feels really good,” McDermott said. “This game was kind of about [Anthony] and I thought we did a great job of not letting that distract us and focus on winning the game. And it felt great especially being part of the trade with Enes.

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