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Will Mac McClung play for the Philadelphia 76ers after Slam Dunk Contest win?

Having won the 2023 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, everybody is talking about the new boy and even more so considering how little he’s played in the NBA.

Having won the 2023 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, everybody is talking about the new boy and even more so considering how little he’s played in the NBA.

With a new trophy in his cabinet, we’re taking a look at the talk of the town that is Mac McClung. How did a G-Leaguer win the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest? Will he feature for the Philadelphia 76ers and if he does, what can we expect to see from him? Let’s dive into the answers to these questions and more.

Introducing Mac McClung

It’s fair to say, that ahead of the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend, many were already ridiculing the lineup for the fan favorite Slam Dunk Contest. Indeed, the ire of fans who were seemingly disappointed by how far the once revered contest had fallen, was specifically directed at 24-year-old guard, Mac McClung. A G-League player with only two NBA appearances to his name, many questioned how could it be that such a player was even included in the lineup for the contest. Well, that notion is now definitely one of the past.

On Saturday night, McClung lit up the night with arguably one of the best Slam Dunk performances in recent memory. With three perfect scores, after four memorable dunks, McClung took home the trophy and essentially rewrote the script at the same time. Yet, the question remains: Who is Mac McClung and what can we expect from him now that he’s on everybody’s radar.

If he knows one thing, Mac McClung knows how to dunk

Though it probably won’t surprise you - if you watched the contest - McClung can dunk. Having started while playing for Gate City High School in Virginia, McClung actually found himself quickly racking up views on the internet as his dunking prowess became known. Indeed, it was back in 2018 when he participated in the Ball is Life All-American Dunk Contest, where he definitely came to the fore. During that competition, McClung got the better of both Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. and Shareef O’Neal, son of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, to win the competition. To put it in perspective, he entered All-Star Weekend with 821,000 followers on Instagram, more than twice as many as three other competitors (Trey Murphy III, Jericho Sims and Kenyon Martin Jr.) have combined. It should be said that McClung has more in his arsenal than just dunks. In his final two high school seasons, he went from averaging an already impressive 29 points per game to scoring 47 in the Virginia state championship game. He would then earn a spot on Patrick Ewing’s Georgtown team.

Mac McClung’s rocky road to the NBA

Though his talent was clear, McClung’s tenure with the Hoyas didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Following his second season in which he averaged 16 points per game, Georgetown recorded a 15-17 record after which he declared for the 2020 NBA Draft. However, shortly after doing so, McClung pulled his name from contention and announced that he would be transferring to Texas Tech, with his agent saying that McClung was looking for something that Georgetown didn’t have.

“The feedback that he got from [NBA] teams was that they wanted to see him facilitating more,” Daniel Hanzen said at the time. “Being more of a point guard role, etc. I’m not saying he couldn’t have gotten that at Georgetown, but he didn’t showcase that at Georgetown. He didn’t get the opportunity really to showcase that. He was playing off the ball.” Following a single season in Texas, McClung once again opted for the NBA Draft.

What happened to Mac McClung and what to expect now?

After three seasons of college ball, it seems McClung had finally had enough and with that he signed a Summer League deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021. Though he initially turned heads, such that he was offered a two-way deal, he was eventually waived after which he signed a G League contract. It’s worth noting, that he averaged 20 points per game in South Bay, but in the end, he was only called up for one game in the NBA with the Lakers which came back in December of 2021. Then, in April of last year, McClung found himself signed for one game by the Chicago Bulls, but ultimately nothing materialized and with that he was once again a free agent. More recently, fans would have seen him with the Golden State Warriors during their preseason tour of Japan, but again, nothing stuck.

Ultimately, McClung made his way to the Philadelphia 76ers - their G League affiliate: Delaware Blue Coats - and it seems he found his feet. With 5.8 rebounds per game as well as an increase in rebounds, it would seem he’s finally corrected the areas of his game that were deemed as ‘in need of improvement.’ With that in mind, the dunk champion has now signed a two-way deal that will see him on Sixers’ roster for the rest of the season, but also available to the Blue Coats should they need him. At any rate, the one thing that is now assured is that Mac McClung has announced himself to NBA fans and it’s quite likely that he’s just getting started.