Williams one of four in NBA dunk contest

MINNEAPOLIS — The NBA announced Thursday that Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Derrick Williams will participate in the slam dunk contest during NBA All-Star Weekend.

Williams was selected to play in the Rising Stars Challenge rookie-sophomore game, which will take place at 9 p.m. ET on Feb. 24. The slam dunk contest takes place the next day at 1:30 p.m.

This year’s contest will feature several new elements, including fan voting on Twitter and a round in which the winner will be chosen entirely by fan vote. Williams has 19 dunks this season, which puts him in a tie for 45th in the league. However, the rookie has played only 557 minutes this season. That’s 38.7 percent of his team’s total minutes, and it translates into a dunk every 29.3 minutes.

Williams is the fifth Timberwolves player to participate in the dunk contest. As a rookie, Isaiah Rider won the competition in 1994. Gerald Green (2008), Chris Carr (1997) and Doug West (1992) round out the Timberwolves who have competed.

Houston’s Chase Budinger, Indiana’s Paul George and New York’s Iman Shumpert will also compete in the contest. George has the most dunks of any of the contestants, with 20, making this year’s pool of dunkers perhaps the least established in recent years.

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