2013 Dunk Contest Needs Green, White
Now that the full rosters of NBA All-Stars have been announced for that Sunday’s main event, the next step is piecing together the participants for the wildly-popular All-Star Saturday, and of course the centerpiece of that evening’s entertainment is and almost always has been the dunk contest.
Four players will be chosen to participate next month in Houston, and if past years are any indication, the contestants will be younger guys, most of them swingmen, usually with a big guy tossed in there for diversity’s sake. While we’d all love to see LeBron James and Blake Griffin go at it in this thing, this is more of a “rising stars” event at this point, so the best we can hope for is getting the league’s best dunkers onto the floor.
The following is a list of predictions, with a few extra potential dunkers tossed in to make sure we’re covering all of our bases. Let’s start with the two guys that absolutely, 100 percent have to be included in this year’s dunk contest:
Gerald Green, Indiana Pacers – While Green has had a relatively disappointing season in Indiana, there’s no question that he’s still arguably the most poetic leaper in the entire league. The kid is absolutely electrifying once he gets himself up in the air, and to keep him out of the dunk contest would be a crime against basketball fans everywhere. He won the 2007 dunk contest while with the Boston Celtics and finished second the following year. He’s also got a McDonald’s All-American Slam Dunk Contest trophy and probably the most gorgeous dunk of last season under his belt, so this is a player who needs to be in the 2013 Slam Dunk Contest.
James “Flight” White, New York Knicks – If you’ve never seen the video of the 2010 dunk contest in Russia, where Green and White exchanged ridiculous dunk after ridiculous dunk over and over again, then you cannot consider yourself a true fan of the art. White, now 30 years old, has a grand finale in which he attempts (and barely misses) a through-the-legs dunk from the free-throw line. Green, meanwhile, takes lobs from the rafters, and both guys prove to the world that they’re two of the most insane dunkers alive. White has been on NBA teams before, but he didn’t play a big enough role to get the call to All-Star Weekend. This year hasn’t necessarily been a breakout campaign for him, but he did start five games for the Knicks, and he isn’t getting any younger. It’s now or never to get White into a dunk contest, and a stateside rematch between him and Gerald Green would be something to get really, really excited about.
The Other Two:
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets – These days, if the dunk contest is going to have any sort of star power, it’s going to come in the form of players who already are in town for the Rookie-Sophomore game, and since there apparently is some unspoken rule that at least one big man be included in the festivities, Davis seems like an easy way to include a big name who just so happens to also have a big body and some big talent up around the rim. It’s hard to tell whether or not he’s got the creativity in this field to make his performance memorable, but he’d be a big name that would get folks to tune in, and maybe he’d even be brilliant enough on this stage to compete with White and Green.
Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors – The first three mentioned here all seem like logical and realistic selections for the dunk contest, but the fourth spot could’ve gone to any of a number of players (see below for some of the others who will probably be considered). Still, Toronto’s Terrence Ross is a player who dunks with both power and finesse, and all you have to do is watch a highlight reel to know he’d do well in this event.
Paul George, Indiana Pacers – Now that he’s a real live All-Star, it’s hard to imagine him participating in this year’s dunk contest, but he’s ridiculously athletic and he tried some really interesting stuff in last year’s dunk contest, so fans can still at least hope he agrees to another go-round. If Gerald Green makes it, though, that sort of takes away the possibility of there being two Indiana players involved. Still, he’s too good not to at least mention.
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets – If not Anthony Davis, the Manimal could be the token big guy in this year’s event. Though he’s more of a power dunker than a finesse guy, he’s one of the most enjoyable dunkers to watch in the whole league.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors – Barnes has had a few nasty dunks early in his NBA career (see the Nik Pekovic disaster below), and he’s smart enough to grasp the whole performance aspect of the modern dunk contest. And, like Anthony Davis, he’s a big rookie name and will probably be in town for the Rookie/Sophomore game, anyway, so Barnes could be a nice addition.
DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers – If JaVale McGee and Serge Ibaka were good enough to participate in 2011, Jordan should be good enough in 2013. He’s not only gigantic, but a great leaper, and who wouldn’t want to see a Jordan in the dunk contest again?
Who would you like to see participate in the dunk contest? We’d all love to see James, Griffin and Russell Westbrook compete, but it’s just not going to happen. That said, what other rising stars deserve an opportunity, and could any of them topple White or Green?