While there’s plenty of enjoyable events on All-Star Saturday Night, nothing has the history of the prestige of the dunk contests. From the ‘Nique/Jordan battle, to the monster slam by Vince Carter in 2001, to Blake Griffin dunking over a car two years ago, it’s given us countless great moments that go onto to become part of NBA lore. Let’s take a look at the participants in this year’s dunk contests, and see if we can’t decide who the next monster jam will come from.
James White – New York Knicks
White is not a rotation player on the Knicks, and he is clearly here simply due to his history of being an excellent dunker. For those who want to say a star, or at least someone who is recognizable to casual fans, his inclusion in the dunk contest might be a drawback. Still, the man is an artist of the throwdown, and he should end up doing something special tonight.
Jeremy Evans – Utah Jazz
Last year’s winner after dunking on top of comedian Kevin Hart, Evans doesn’t get much playing time, either. In fact, after he took the title in 2012, many presented it as evidence that the dunk contest was in decline. Still, Evans is an outstanding athlete, and I wouldn’t underestimate his ability to prove the critics wrong with a few unbelievable slams tonight.
Kenneth Faried – Denver Nuggets
Only in his second year, Faried is still the most famous participant in this year’s competition, and his dunks have earned him a lot of recognition. Faried will likely thrive more on power than finesse. It would be surprising to see him try any Vince Carter-esque spin moves, but he’ll likely throw down harder than anyone else, and that just might lead him to victory. The fact that he’s a relatively big name won’t hurt, either.
Terrence Ross – Toronto Raptors
Many experts felt the Raptors were reaching when they took Ross 8th overall, but he’s been a valuable part of their second unit, and his astonishing athleticism is a big part of that. He’s had several impressive dunks and he has the rare combination of flash and athleticism that could be essential to the victory in this year’s contest. Could he remind us of what another talented young Raptor pulled off 12 years ago? It’s certainly possible.
Eric Bledsoe – Los Angeles Clippers
Bledsoe is one of the most athletic players in the league, and he’s already drawn comparisons to Russell Westbrook. He’s thrown down countless epic jams for the Clips this year, joining Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan as a regualr resident of Lob City. As the shortest player in the contest, he may have benefit from having his dunks appear more impressive than they are due to hsi size. Considering what a great athlete he is, however, it’s an edge he probably won’t need.
Gerald Green – Indiana Pacers
After reviving his career with the Nets last year, Green has been a relative disappointment for the Pacers this season. Still, the man is a great dunker, and he took the title in 2007, so it’s not like he hasn’t been here before. Could the chance to thrive on the big stage be the kick Green needs to turn his season around. Considering how hard he worked to get back into the league, I wouldn’t doubt it.
There’s a lot of great dunkers here, but Faried has the most potential. Even without the flash, the thunder of his dunks is simply unbelievable. Faried will take down Bledsoe to come out of the West, and then barely take down an electric Gerald Green to win it all. Also, everyone will agree than the dunk contest is back.