Culture of Hoops

NBA All-Star Weekend Predictions: Slam Dunk Contest

Image courtesy of the NBA.

Image courtesy of the NBA.

Some of Hardwood & Hollywood’s greatest basketball minds (and me) got together to talk everything NBA All-Star Weekend and make our predictions for this weekend’s events.

Today I’m joined by NBA Guru, Sonny Giuliano, our New York Knicks resident expert, Mike Cortez, the legendary Mister King, and me, your friendly neighborhood Frankie Buckets .

2017 Verizon Slam Dunk Participants

Aaron Gordon (Magic)
DeAndre Jordan (Clippers)
Glenn Robinson III (Pacers)
Derrick Jones Jr. (Suns)

Cortez: The Pick: Aaron Gordon. Thank God for YouTube. Before we had the internet dunk contests were filled with known players. Guys like Derrick Jones rarely got the opportunity to compete. Thanks to the power of YouTube and social media we can all see that Jones can levitate. See it for yourself. Jones should put on a show, but this is Aaron Gordon’s redemption. He was robbed of a victory last year. Zach LaVine put on a show as well, but Gordon’s dunks were all “hop out of your seat because that was too fucking awesome” level. His last dunk was so good the judges couldn’t witness the greatness in it. This year is Gordon’s chance to claim his rightful prize and give Magic fans something to smile about.

King: Aaron Gordon caught a raw deal last year. The dunks he pulled off would have been top notch any other season. Too bad Zach Lavine was flying from half court. This year Gordon could see redemption…BUT…Derrick Jones JR. has serious BOUNCE! My prediction is Gordon goes into his Orlando Magic bag of tricks for the win, but both guys put on a show.

Buckets: What was once the Crown Jewel of All-Star Weekend has been relegated to mediocrity by format changes, players not caring enough to practice dunks beforehand, too many props, and the big name players not wanting to participate. Unfortunately, I don’t see that changing this year with what appears to be the most lackluster lineup of contestants possibly ever. But, maybe that’s just what the Dunk Contest needs. Maybe forgoing name recognition and star-power completely and selecting competitors solely based on dunking ability could be the saving grace for this once great event. I won’t pretend to know the answer, I just want what everyone else wants. For the Dunk Contest to be exciting again. Maybe this is the year we start heading in the right direction with the inclusion Derrick Jones Jr.? At the very least it will be a great story if a relatively unknown player who has a total of three points scored in the NBA takes the event by storm snatches the trophy.

Do your thing, Derrick. I’m riding with the dark horse on this one.

Sonny: I have to be honest … I’m underwhelmed by the crop of players the NBA has assembled in the Slam Dunk Contest, and also disappointed that the field hasn’t increased back up to 8 like in the past. I miss 8 dunkers. I miss propless dunks. I miss the big name players competing in the Dunk Contest. I mean seriously, there is a dude in the Dunk contest who has never dunked a basketball in an NBA game. What the shit is that?
Anyway, I’ve got Aaron Gordon over Big Pup (Glenn Robinson III) in a Dunk Contest that will lack the fireworks of last years because Gordon won’t have Zach LaVine pushing him.
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