Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant finally got his wish as New York Knicks‘ high-leaping center Jericho Sims gets invited at the last minute to join the Slam Dunk Contest during the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend in Utah later this month.
Sims will replace Portland Trail Blazers’ rookie Shaedon Sharpe, who withdrew from the competition to focus on the second half of the season, according to The Athletic.
Morant pushed for Sims’ inclusion with a Tweet last month.
Sims leads the league in dunk field goal percentage by a mile after the Knicks’ 102-98 win against the Magic in Orlando Tuesday night. The 6-foot-10 Sims is hitting at a 64 percent clip, with 56 successful dunks in 43 games. Detroit’s rookie center Jalen Duren is a distant second with a 44 percent success rate.
Sims has turned heads since he recorded a 44.5-inch max vertical jump at the NBA Draft Combine and his viral dunk video during Klutch Sports Pro Day.
Sims hopes to become the second consecutive Knick to win the event after teammate Obi Toppin last year.
Crowding Sims in the event are Houston Rockets’ KJ Martin, New Orleans Pelicans Trey Murphy III and Delaware Blue Coats’ Mac McClung from G League.
Meanwhile, Quentin Grimes was selected by former Knicks center and a Tom Thibodeau favorite Joakim Noah to his squad in the NBA Rising Stars.
Grimes joins a center-stacked Team Joakim featuring the trio of Duren, Cleveland’s Evan Mobley, and Houston’s Jabari Smith, Jr. Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams, and San Antonio’s Jeremy Sochan complete the team.
The Rising Stars will feature a mini-tournament with four teams and three games. Each game will be played to a Final Target Score.
Grimes and Team Joakim will battle teams coached by other NBA legends Deron Williams, Pau Gasol and Jason Terry, who will handle the G League selection.
Grimes is averaging career highs across the board (10.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 30.5 minutes) for the Knicks in a starting role this season.
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