Well, it doesn’t include LeBron James, but this year’s crop of (possible, potential, rumored, likely?) NBA Dunk Contest contestants is the most star-studded in years. We have it on good authority that Blazers point guard Damien Lillard will be there, and then we saw this:
Hearing tonight that Paul George, John Wall and Terrence Ross could all wind up joining Damian Lillard in dunk contest at All-Star Weekend
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 6, 2014
This lineup is a far cry from, say, 2012 (Jeremy Evans, Chase Budinger, Derrick Williams, a then-uncool Paul George). We’d previously heard that Wall would only participate if other stars competed, and it looks like he’s getting his wish. Ross is the least esteemed member of the group, but he’s the 2013 champion and the owner of the league’s most electrifying dunk to date.
In fact, let’s do a preview of this foursome by going through their best dunks of the season so far. Ross kicks it off with this yammer in Kenneth Faried’s face, as referenced above:
There’s Paul George’s now-legendary 360:
John Wall put George Monroe on a poster a few weeks ago:
And Damien Lillard parted the Nuggets like the Red Sea with this one:
Based on these dunks alone, I think you’ve got to peg Ross as the favorite. He’s just ferocious and he’s got the experience to know what you can pull off in a contest. But John Wall is my dark horse pick. He’s been playing mad this whole season and probably wants to show the world what it missed by not putting him in the All-Star game.
Now to wait and see if these guys will actually accept their invites, or if we’ll have to content ourselves with Gerald Green again. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
UPDATE: The official field has been announced, and it includes the four guys above plus Harrison Barnes and Ben McLemore. There will be a new format to the event as well.