Dunk Competition

It’s about that time again. The NBA All-Star Weekend is underway and the dunk competition is fast approaching tonight. Needless to say, I don’t think people are nearly as excited for this year’s contest.

Too bad Blake Griffin isn’t going to defend his title this year because not only would we get to enjoy his unbelievable hops, but we would also already know who the winner was going to be. That’s right. I said it. The dunk competition has more or less become a popularity contest that is more about the pre- and post-dunk celebrations and showmanship than the actual dunk itself. Don’t get me wrong, I still like watching it, but it’s just changed a lot over the years and seems much more dried out. I don’t think it’s necessarily the fault of the contestants because I mean, come on, how many different dunks and possibilities are even humanly possible? Maybe it’s just me, but I would rather see a guy perform great dunks, ala Vince Carter, over all the showmanship, ala Nate Robinson.

Even today, in my opinion, I still feel as though Vince Carter’s performance in the 2000 dunk competition was THE best ever and that competition was one of the best ever as well. I feel like the contest has been on a downward spiral ever since “Vinsanity” took over in 2000. Sure, there have been great performances and memorable dunks, most notably Jason Richardson and his performances including his alley-oop, under-the-legs, reverse jam. Nothing, however, can measure up to what Vince did in 2000 though. Let’s take a look at some highlights of that contest.

This year’s contestants consist of a lot of new faces and no real big superstars. That is actually one thing I’m sort of looking forward to. It’s the whole “unknown” and “surprise” factor that comes along with these guys and not really knowing what they can do. None of them necessarily have the popularity won over another like Griffin would either. Let’s go ahead and get to know this group a little better:

  1. Paul George – SG/SF / Indiana Pacers / 2nd year / Fresno State / 6’8″
  2. Derrick Williams – SF/PF / Minnesota Timberwolves / Rookie / Arizona / 6’8″
  3. Chase Budinger – SG/SF / Houston Rockets / 3rd year / Arizona / 6’7″
  4. Jeremy Evans – SF/PF / Utah Jazz / 2nd year / Western Kentucky / 6’9″

When looking at this list, I’m actually excited to see if these guys can come up with some things that will surprise everyone and how they do when the lights come on. I think conventional wisdom would lead us to placing the “favorite” label on D-Will because of the explosiveness we’ve seen out of him so far in his rookie year and last year in college. The guy who is my favorite player of this group and who I really want to win is Paul George. I also think that George is actually going to win as well. I was going to pick Shumpert before he was replaced by Jeremy Evans, simply because he seems like the one who would be the most celebratory and I figured his pre- and post-dunk showmanship would be the best. I also figured, correctly at that, that he would involve Jeremy Lin somehow and the crowd would pretty much love it no matter what as long as they got their dose of “Linsanity” which would have given him a few extra points from the judges. However, I can’t really figure out who, out of this group, will be the biggest showboater, therefore I’m going to have to pick my favorite guy, Paul George. Plus, I have also heard that he has something surprising planned so I’m looking forward to it. With all that said, who do you think is going to win?