The 2017 NBA Slam Dunk Contest will throw down Saturday night on TNT, and this year showcases an interesting mix of players. In the previous two seasons, Zach LaVine came away with the trophy after putting on a dazzling performance. However, he is now dealing with an ACL injury, and the fAaield has shaken up a bit for 2017.
You might not think the dunk contest is as good as it used to be, but there is no doubt it still demands attention if you happen to be near a TV on Saturday night. Lately, contestants have been getting more and more ridiculous with their props (see Aaron Gordon’s mascot hoverboard dunk from last year… remember hoverboards?), and if you’re at the bar watching with a few friends, chances are you’ll be dialed in from the start.
This year features Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, Deandre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, Glenn Robinson III of the Indiana Pacers, and Derrick Jones Jr. of the Phoenix Suns. Jordan will bring the event a little more star power, while Gordon is turning into a perennial dunker. The other two guys are a little lesser known, but hopefully they will be able to throw down some crazy dunks and get everyone in New Orleans hyped at All-Star Weekend.
Many would argue that Aaron Gordon should’ve won it last year. LaVine got a perfect score in the final round and dunked from just in front of the free-throw line, and Gordon came up just short in the eyes of the judges. Gordon can really spring up in the air, so expect him to come up with some crazy dunks for the fans in New Orleans.
Somehow, this is DeAndre Jordan’s first time on an All-Star team. It’s not that he isn’t good enough- he has a gold-medal in the Olympics with Team USA. Jordan just hasn’t made it to the All-Star festivities, so his Dunk Contest debut will be very interesting. Not to mention, Jordan leads the league this season with 150 dunks. His in-game dunks are emphatic and ferocious, but will he be able to bring that intensity to the contest?
The next contestant is Glenn Robinson III, son of Glenn Robinson II, a former No. 1 overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft. A former Michigan standout, Robinson has been relatively quiet in his few seasons with the Pacers. He currently averages 22.3 minutes per game, and his workload has been increasing slightly in recent months. Nobody can really jumpstart their career at a dunk contest, but it will be a great chance for the young player to market himself and get his name out there more among casual NBA fans.
Derrick Jones Jr. is the final contestant, and he is an even fresher face in the league than Robinson. Jones, a rookie with the Phoenix Suns, has been splitting time between the NBA and the Northern Arizona Suns, the Phoenix Sun’s D-league team. It doesn’t really take a “good” NBA player to make a good dunker, so it could be fun watching the 19 year-old use his athleticism to compete against the three other players.
Will this be the best dunk contest ever? Hell no. Will it be better than last year? Maybe. Who cares? It’ll be on Saturday night, so crack open a beer, watch Shaq crack jokes for two hours, and enjoy some damn dunks!