The Dunk Contest America Wants

slamdunk

So the names for this year’s dunk contest came out last week and it’s safe to say that no one’s jaw dropped. In fact, more people probably were wondering whether these guys were even in the NBA.  We’ll do a quick run-through of this year’s featured players. Representing the Western Conference we have Jeremy Evans, Eric Bledsoe and Kenneth Faried.
In case you missed last year’s dunk contest, Jeremy Evans won by jumping over a chair and dunking two balls at once, followed by dunking over Kevin Hart. Yes, the year after Blake Griffin won the dunk contest by jumping over a car, Evans won by jumping over a 5-foot-2 comedian. Speaking of Kevin Hart, we have a player who could stand in for him if need be. (I’m just kidding, Eric Bledsoe is 6 foot 1 and one of the best trade assets in the NBA). Bledsoe, or the slightly smaller Nate Robinson, has some major hops but being only 6 foot 1 it’s hard to do a lot with the ball while in the air. If anything though his dunk should get a good score just for the time he dunked and made Mark Cuban’s face look like this.

Last but not least for the West, we have the Manimal. Kenneth Faried is an absolute beast and he’s very capable awing a crowd. He’s by far the most explosive in this competition and bright spot in this contest. It’s good to see they made sure at least one NBA starter was on here with a name already known throughout the league.
For the Eastern Conference the dunkers are Gerald Green, Terrence Ross and James White. You might have heard the name Green and wondered why it was familiar. It’s because six years ago Green won the dunk contest when he was on the Boston Celtics.  Since leaving the Celtics that year, Green has been on five different NBA teams and it’s questionable what the journeyman has left in the tank.  Green does have an advantage over his fellow journeyman White. Green may not have the best resume, but at least he never fell out of the league. White started for San Antonio in 2006, then moved to Houston and then was out of the league following the 08-09 season until this year when he joined the Knicks. His career minute average is 8.6 minutes per game. He’s probably spent more time in dunk contests than actually on the NBA court. It can’t be denied that the guy can dunk though and he could be one of the best dunkers in the contest since Blake Griffin. White’s the heavy favorite and for good reason.  Terrence Ross is the lone rookie in the dunk contest and the second favorite behind White.  The young Raptors guard has a future in the league and perhaps he can get his name known early by pulling off the win.
So just to be clear, we have last year’s contest winner, a taller Nate Robinson, one NBA starter, two players who have not stayed on the same NBA team for more than a year and a rookie making up the dunk contest. I’m not saying it will be terrible, but the lineup is not exactly marquee. This got us here at theCover4 thinking about whom the best possible dunk contest would feature.
Representing the Western Conference: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin. Russell Westbrook is an absolute athletic freak, just look at him simply dominate 7-footer Omer Asik.


If Westbrook could do this in a game, imagine what he could do during the competition. I don’t care if Westbrook and Durant are on the same team; I want to see Durant in the dunk contest. The flying stick has some mad hops and has seemed to start enjoying posterizing people more recently. Just watch his new KD 5 commercial and how he’s shed his Mr. NBA Nice Guy image. Anytime you can get a near 7- footer get his head above the rim regularly, I want him in the contest.


Blake Griffin should automatically have a spot reserved in the contest annually. I can’t imagine someone I’d rather not be than Mozgov at this moment. Nothing says posterized quite like getting your face shoved into a NBA player’s crotch while getting dunked on simultaneously. Until someone humiliates a player more than this, Blake has an automatic dunk contest berth.

Representing the Eastern Conference, we would have LeBron James, Paul George and Derrick Rose. The Twitter world collectively held its breath when James tweeted “Dunk Contest?” on February 7. Everyone has wanted to see what LeBron could do during the competition but he has repeatedly refused to participate. If the Akron Hammer decides to throw down this year, it will definitely be a dunk contest that’s remembered for years.

I know that everyone is going to say Paul George was in the dunk contest last year and failed to win. The guy has talent and his explosiveness can’t be denied. Last year’s glow-in-the-dark jersey was so-so but he’s got the talent to compete with anyone in the league.

The Derrick Rose inclusion is hoping that Rose comes back as his old self from his knee injury. The former MVP has nearly unrivaled explosiveness, with Westbrook probably being the only guard capable of matching his athleticism and speed. If he’s back to his old self, he’s one of the most entertaining point guards in the league.

(Why are so many of these against the Knicks?)

While we’ll probably never have a dunk contest featuring this caliber of players, we can always dream. Here’s to hoping that this year’s young dunk contest participants can put on a show and make their names well known by NBA fans. The dunk contest has long been one of the highlights of All-Star weekend and while it’s not what it could be, it offers an opportunity for these young players. White could be one of the best dunkers in the NBA and I fully expect him to put on a show. I fully expect him to win the competition and have his name known throughout the league Saturday night.

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Tye Masters
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
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