Celtics guard Jaylen Brown brings star power to tonight’s Slam Dunk Contest, which has featured mostly fringe players for the past decade, writes Souichi Terada of MassLive. Brown is hoping to restore some prestige to one of the signature events of All-Star Weekend, and he believes the time is right to make a statement.
“I’m in my athletic prime right now,” he told reporters. “I feel good. When it comes to dunking, I think it’s an art form. I think when it comes to dunking on somebody, I think I’m one of the best to ever do it. I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s an extension the art form of dunking.”
Unlike his competitors — Jaime Jaquez of the Heat, Jacob Toppin of the Knicks and defending champion Mac McClung of the G League — Brown is one of the NBA’s elite players, and Terada points out that he’s the first All-Star to take part in the dunk contest since 2017. Terada notes that Brown has been talking frequently about the “art form” of dunking and has hinted that teammate Jayson Tatum may participate in one of the dunks he has planned.
“I think the art of dunking is dope — and it always has been,” Brown said. “From the early days to now. It sucks to see the abandonment of the dunk contest. I think it’s an art form. For me, it’s about the show, it’s about the lead-up, the build-up. I think the people will appreciate some of the stuff I’ll do tonight, once it gets slowed down. Once you see the replay.”
There’s more on the Celtics:
- Speaking at All-Star media day, Tatum lobbied for a change to the league’s technical foul process, Terada adds in a separate story. “If you get a tech for overreacting to a call and you were right,” Tatum said. “If they go back and look, the coaches do the challenge and they overturn the call, that tech should be rescinded. You should get your money back. If you get a tech for overreacting to a call that was deemed incorrect or whatever, you should get your money back.”
- Rookie forward Jordan Walsh saw the first meaningful minutes of his NBA career when he checked into Wednesday’s game late in the first quarter, per Brian Robb of MassLive. Robb observes that Walsh has been spending more time with the Celtics lately after playing primarily in the G League early in the season. “Since Christmas, he came on the West Coast trip with us, and we made a conscious effort to just have an understanding of defense is how you make it in this league as a young player,” coach Joe Mazzulla said. “What you do in the G League from a statistical standpoint is important, but it’s more important about your daily approach – your professionalism and your defense, and I think he’s just really, really grown in that area.”
- Jared Weiss of The Athletic examined Mazzulla’s progress as a head coach after he picked up his 100th career win Wednesday night.