Zach LaVine Undecided on 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Invite, Eyes 3-Point Contest

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 6, 2020

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 21: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls goes up for a dunk during a game against the Detroit Pistons on December 21, 2019 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. 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 2019 NBAE (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brian Sevald/Getty Images

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who won an epic 2016 Slam Dunk Contest duel with Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, has been invited back to the competition this season.

ESPN's Eric Woodyard broke the news:

LaVine, who also won the 2015 competition, is a two-time Slam Dunk Contest winner. He is only one of six players to win the competition twice. Nate Robinson is the only three-time champ.

His decision may hinge on whether he's chosen for the All-Star Game, per Woodyard. 

While he mulls over the dunk contest, LaVine appears to have his sights set on a different All-Star Weekend competition. 

"I don't think anyone has won a dunk contest and a 3-point contest," LaVine said Monday, per NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson. "So I'll try that one out. I would love to."

LaVine is shooting a career-high 39.8 percent from beyond the arc this season. He has already knocked down 113 triples in 36 appearances this season, putting him just 10 off his personal best.

The ex-Minnesota Timberwolves guard can make a case for his first ASG appearance. He is averaging a career-high 23.8 points per game and is currently listed fifth on the Eastern Conference backcourt fan voting list.

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Phil Thompson of the Chicago Tribune made a case Saturday for LaVine to be an All-Star:

"LaVine’s offensive skills have generated plenty of highlight-worthy moments, such as when he capped up a 49-point performance against the Hornets with a winning 3-pointer in November. Or last month in Washington, when he made a series of clutch plays, including a 3-pointer and high-pressure free throws, to send the game to overtime in an eventual Bulls victory against the Wizards.

"According to NBA statistics, he has made the most 'clutch' 3-pointers in the league with 13 after taking the most attempts in those situations—within a five-point margin with five minutes or fewer to go—with 37, shooting 35.1%. He’s 10th in the league in 3-pointers made per game at 3.1."

LaVine received All-Star endorsements from coach Jim Boylen and teammate Kris Dunn, who would also like to see him go for Slam Dunk Contest title No. 3.

"If he gets in the All-Star Game, I need him in the dunk contest," Dunn said. "I told him you’ve got to shut down Chicago, they’re coming to our house. I’m happy for him."

LaVine wouldn't have to travel far for this year's All-Star Weekend.

The Slam Dunk Contest is slated to go off Saturday, February 15, at Chicago's United Center. The All-Star Game is one day later.

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