The Slam Dunk Contest has lost a bit of its shine after being the centerpiece of All-Star Weekend for many years but the players entered in this year’s competition are all creative. A total of five challengers will look to unseat defending champion Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz.
Evans edged out Houston’s Chase Budinger to win last year’s contest and at 6’9”, he is the tallest player in the field. That might surprise you because Denver’s Kenneth Faried is listed at 6’8” but plays a lot taller. At the other end of the spectrum is Eric Bledsoe of the Los Angeles Clippers, who is 6’1”. That gives him more opportunity to wow the crowd with his hops. The Clippers have a host of great dunkers (Blake Griffin won the contest two years ago) in their lineup, so Bledsoe has probably gotten a couple pointers from his teammates.
While Evans, Faried and Bledsoe are entered for the Western Conference, the Eastern Conference will be represented by Indiana’s Gerald Green, Toronto’s Terrence Ross and New York’s James White. The latter might be a surprise entrant but he has earned a cult following for his leaping ability and has a nickname of “Flight 75” to live up to. Meanwhile, Ross, a Raptors rookie, has earned a lot of attention for various in-game dunks and there are some behind closed doors that say he has even more in store for the contest on Saturday night in Houston. Green won this event in 2007 when he was in Boston and then he finished second as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves to Dwight Howard when “Superman” played for Orlando.
The hype around the Slam Dunk Contest may not be what it used to be but these six players have a ton of potential and they can all climb the ladder. Don’t be surprised if this contest is better than what we’ve seen in recent years. Here’s a look at the betting lines for the event:
Eric Bledsoe +500
Gerald Green +385
James White +150
Jeremy Evans +650
Kenneth Faried +700
Terrence Ross +350