Donovan Mitchell to participate in NBA Dunk Contest


The 25 year old star will compete alongside Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon, who is making his third appearance; Larry Nance Jr. of the Los Angeles Lakers, and rookie Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks.

The Orlando Magic announced that Aaron Gordon would withdraw from the competition due to concerns over a strained hip flexor.

This season, Mitchell has exploded onto the scene and into the NBA's Rookie of the Year conversation.

In 49 games (41 starts) in his first National Basketball Association season, Mitchell is averaging a team-best and rookie-leading 19.7 points, along with 3.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 31.9 minutes per game. In 2016, he finished as a runner-up in.

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In order to win, big men either have to be athletic freaks of nature (Griffin) or put on a ideal show (Howard).

There is a long, storied history of big men performances in the dunk contest - and nearly all of them are less-than-optimal viewing for the basketball-loving public. Mitchell totaled a Jazz-rookie record 41 points on December 1 and 40 points against Phoenix on February 2, marking the first time a rookie has posted two 40-plus point games in a season since Blake Griffin in 2010-11. Star players perhaps haven't felt compelled to enter the contest, they would rather focus on the All-Star game/entertainment instead. These scores do not include the 2014 or 2012 dunk contests as it was a fan vote and no numerical scoring was given.

"Hopefully, I get invited", Mitchell said smirking.