With the exception of Blake Griffin, the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk competition isn’t exactly a star-studded event, and I have rather ambivalent feelings about Griffin’s prospects anyway, given Shannon Brown’s uninspired performance in last year’s contest, considering all the hype he created leading up to the All-Star break by putting together an impressive resume of in-game dunks, not to mention his very own online marketing campaign, letshannondunk.com.
But as you’ll recall, despite Brown’s superhuman athleticism, his dunks lacked imagination and showmanship, which are the fundamental weaknesses I’m sensing in Griffin going into this contest, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
With Griffin’s status as the NBA’s leading candidate for R.O.Y. along with his nightly appearances on the daily top 10, he’s been a shoe-in for some time now. But whoever’s responsible for picking the remaining participants made some odd choices, to say the least. Javelle McGee is probably better known for missing dunks, while Serge Ibaka is hardly known for his dunking prowess, and Brandon Jennings, who recently returned from a foot injury, has since been replaced by last year’s runner-up Demar DeRozan, who also had a subpar performance in last year’s event.
So, in light of what’s shaping up to be a potentially lackluster competition, here are three alternates I’d like to see in the contest, using the basic criteria that they are current NBA players who have not competed in the event and whose names aren’t LeBron James.
1. Terrence Williams – T-Will’s got the flair, the ego, and the hops to do something entertaining in a dunk contest. Exhibit:
2. Corey Brewer – his dunk on Derek Fisher last season is one of the greatest posterizations of all-time.
3. Derrick Rose – the bouquet of buckets isn’t the most creative dunker, but his combination of power and hops elevate his relatively ordinary dunks to a spectacular level. Plus, he could fill the requisite little-man slot left vacant by Jennings.