Donovan Mitchell Won't Defend Title at 2019 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17:  Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz poses with his trophy following his victory in the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night as part of the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend on February 17, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Steve Baffo/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The field for the 2019 NBA dunk contest has yet to be announced, but it is known that there will be a new champion this year.

Reigning champ Donovan Mitchell recently revealed he will not attempt to defend his title, instead opting to focus on trying to help his team win games.

"I loved doing the dunk contest last year and it was a ton of fun, but I also know it takes a lot of focus, practice and preparation," Mitchell told the Deseret News' Eric Woodyard. "Right now, my mind is really on helping my team make a deep run (in the) second half of the season. I'm excited though for the weekend, I'm going to be able to be a part of some great events."

The Utah Jazz star may participate in the Rising Stars Game, per Woodyard.

The 13th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, Mitchell used last year's dunk contest as an opportunity to introduce himself to the basketball world:

With the help of props and throwback jerseys, Mitchell received big scores from the judges all night. He earned scores of 48, 50, 50 and 48 to take the crown over Larry Nance Jr., Dennis Smith Jr. and Victor Oladipo.

Mitchell became just the second Jazz player to win the contest, joining Jeremy Evans (2012) in an exclusive club. And while he has a chance to join the likes of Zach LaVine and Nate Robinson among the repeat champs, the second-year guard has his sights on the bigger picture.

After making it to the second round of the postseason in each of the last two years, Utah is looking to get over the hump in 2018-19. However, the Jazz (25-21) are currently in a three-way tie for seventh in the West.

The good news for Mitchell and Co. is that they have started the second half of the season with major momentum, winning seven of their last eight games. 

Fans will have to wait to see who is ultimately included in the dunk contest field, but Mitchell has made it clear that the Larry O'Brien Trophy is his priority.

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