The NBA apparently didn’t think one of its best 3-point shooters had earned an invitation to participate in the 3-point contest during the Feb. 14-16 All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.
The Dallas Mavericks are trying to figure out why the NBA didn’t invite guard Jose Calderon to compete in the 3-point contest. Last year Calderon led the NBA in 3-point shooting at 46.1 percent, and this year he’s sixth in the league at 44.1 percent.
Eight players were chosen to the 3-point contest. Seven of them have worse 3-point shooting percentages than Calderon.
“He got snubbed, he got snubbed,” coach Rick Carlisle playfully shouted as he walked by as Calderon was being interviewed Friday.
“It’s a crime,” shouted another Mavs employee.
Calderon is trying to take the snub as humbly as possible.
“I’d love to be there,’’ he said. “It was a great opportunity.
“I know I was up there last year and this year, but it’s OK.”
When he was told Calderon was omitted from the 3-point contest, guard Devin Harris said: “He didn’t get in? I didn’t know that. That’s a travesty.
“Those things are most likely a popularity contest, but I’m pretty sure he would prefer the rest. We would prefer him to be rested, so we’re going to move forward.”
Carlisle steadfastly believes the NBA missed on a wonderful opportunity to showcase one of its purest shooters in Calderon.
“It’s disappointing, we all would have loved to see him go,” Carlisle said. “I think he would have had a great chance to win, but I don’t mind him getting the rest either.”
Calderon doesn’t mind the rest, either. He just wishes he knew the criteria the NBA uses to choose which players receive invitations to the 3-point contest.
“But at the end of the day the only thing I can do is just keep doing my thing,” Calderon said. “I’m not going to be making a big thing out of it.
“I’ve got to keep working, doing my thing, trying to help my team. Maybe I’ll get another opportunity soon.”
Calderon saluted the players the NBA deemed more worthy than him to compete in the 3-point contest.
“The players that are there, they’re great shooters, so there’s really going to be a really nice 3-point shootout, for sure,” he said. “Like I said, it could be a great opportunity.
“It’s all good. Maybe next year I’ll get the chance.”
Those chosen were: Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Washington’s Bradley Beal, San Antonio’s Marco Belinelli and New Orleans’ Arron Afflalo.
Carlisle said a big play during Wednesday’s game against Memphis helped propel his team to a 110-96 victory over the Grizzlies.
Memphis brought the ball inbounds with a little over 10 seconds remaining in the first half. But the shot clock started late, affording the Grizzlies a chance to score with 0.5 seconds left.
Mavs head athletic trainer Casey Smith saw that the clock started late, notified the referees, and after reviewing the play on the courtside monitor, the referees took Memphis’ two points off the board.
“Casey caught it,” Carlisle said. “I’m not looking at the clock all the time — trainers are very good with that stuff.
“The two trainers in this league that could take over and coach a game are Casey Smith and [Detroit Pistons trainer] Mike Abdenour. Those guys could do it.”
The heads-up play by Smith meant the Mavs trailed the Grizzlies by only three points at the half instead of five points.
“That’s a very big play, it’s a very important play,” Carlisle said.
“But the guy at the scorer’s table was late [starting the clock], is my understanding, and he came back and apologized after the game for it, which is very classy of him to do.
“It’s just a human error mistake. It’s men, not machines. At least now in this league when you have mistakes like that they are correctable.”
Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin admires the way Dirk Nowitzki has managed to remain among the NBA’s elite players despite his advanced age.
“I think he’s a very smart, accomplished player that’s understanding how to be effective at this stage of his career,” Corbin said of the 35-year old Nowitzki. “He’s understanding what it takes for him to be successful at this stage of his career.”