Former Baltimore Orioles draft pick Pat Connaughton has agreed to participate in the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest during the All-Star break.
A look back at the Baltimore Orioles 2014 draft is a depressing sight. The Orioles didn’t have a first or second-round pick and of the 31 total players signed, only four have reached the major leagues and only LHP John Means has found any sort of success, thus far. The odds of anyone else joining that list are slim, including their top pick in 2014, LHP Brian Gonzalez.
We certainly won’t see the Orioles second pick in that draft (4th round selection), RHP Pat Connaughton. Despite an early belief that Connaughton would choose baseball over basketball after the two-sport star signed with the Orioles out of Notre Dame, the 27-year-old and five-year NBA veteran has carved out a successful role in professional basketball as a performer off the bench.
The former Orioles draft pick will be front and center of attention during NBA All-Star festivities in two weeks as the Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard has accepted an invitation to participate in this year’s Slam Dunk Contest
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The event will take place on Saturday, February 15th after the Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest, all set to take place at the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls.
At the moment, Dwight Howard, Aaron Gordon, and Derrick Jones Jr are expected to join Connaughton in the contest.
With all due respect to the participants, this year’s field is a far cry from the joys of yesteryear when the likes of Vince Carter made the event must-watch television.
Connaughton has played in 45 games for the Bucks this season, averaging 4.9 points per game in just under 18 minutes per contest. Across his five seasons with the Bucks and Portland Trailblazers, Connaughton is averaging 4.7 PPG and 1.2 assists per game. He’s made just eight starts during that time.
With the Orioles, Connaughton pitched for one season back in 2014 in rookie ball with the Aberdeen Ironbirds. In six appearances (four starts), he owned an 0-1 record with a 2.45 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He struck out 10, walked four, and did not give up a single home run in 14.2 innings of work.
While I’m personally not much of an NBA fan or All-Star festivities, I just might find myself tuning in for this one, just to see Connaughton in action. After recording one of the higher vertical jumps in draft combine history (44 inches), he’s got to be able to land something impressive, right?