Who will win NBA All-Star slam dunk contest?
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
We all wanted LeBron James in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.
Some fans were willing to give money to make it happen. If you like him, you wanted him to win. If you hate him, you wanted him to fall on his face while trying to do a Michael Jordan impression.
When James tweeted “Dunk contest?” after the actual contestants were announced, it topped 9,000 retweets in 20 minutes.
But LeBron James is not in the NBA All-Star weekend slam dunk contest. No big stars are. We’ve been left with a bunch of no-names, most of whom didn’t even register as stars in their college days. But you know what these guys can do?
Dunk. They can really dunk.
This should be a great dunk contest because it’s a bunch of specialists, guys whose best talent is dunking. But who emerges from an anonymous field? Let’s break down the field, from the least likely champion to the favorite (statistics through Wednesday):
6. Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
Faried is the best player in the dunk contest, and it’s not even close. A thick power forward, he is among the best rebounders in the NBA and plays with reckless abandon that you can’t teach. He also has no shot in this contest. Again, this year’s field is stacked with specialists. Faried would win a being-good-at-basketball contest against this field, though.
5. Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors
Ross is the only rookie in the field, which puts him at a distinct disadvantage. The last rookie to win was Josh Smith in 2005. He’s a powerful dunker who puts up a lot of highlight-reel slams in games, but will that translate to the contest? His vertical leap at the draft combine was 37½ inches, which is better than 99% of the league. But a few of these guys are the 1%.
4. Eric Bledsoe, Los Angeles Clippers
Bledsoe is the shortest player in the contest, but let’s get this clear right now: He is not Nate Robinson or Spud Webb. The second-year point guard measures out to a full 6-1, so he doesn’t have the dramatic advantage of looking tiny compared to his competitors. That … [For more on Who will win NBA All-Star slam dunk contest?, click here.]