Saturday’s final event will be the always-entertaining Slam Dunk Contest. The high-flying All-Star Weekend Festivity will feature Terrence Ross, Paul George and John Wall from the Eastern Conference and Harrison Barnes, Damian Lillard and Ben McLemore from the Western Conference. The rules of the contest have changed for this year.
Participants will be competing as individuals and teams, with awards being handed out for both. The first round, otherwise known as the Freestyle Round, will feature the participants throwing down as many impressive dunks as they can in a 90-second span. The judges will pick a winning side (either East or West), which will allow them to choose to go either first or second in the Battle Round.
In the Battle Round, each dunker will go head-to-head with an opponent from the other team. Again, the judges will select a winner from each battle until one conference has won at least three head-to-head battles. The conference that wins will be named Slam Dunk Contest Champions and the Dunker of the Night Award will be voted on by the fans.
Below are the Saving the Skyhook Staff predictions:
Matthew Hochberg: Terrence Ross
In case you forgot, Terrence Ross is the Reigning Slam Dunk Contest Champion. The 6’6″ high-flyer continued to dazzle this season, including a poster over Kenneth Faried back in January. Due to the great competition and big names in this year’s contest, such as Paul George, John Wall and Damian Lillard, Ross may be getting overlooked. Expect a big performance out of the Toronto Raptors guard.
Jack Maloney: Paul George
We have a great field this year and the new wrinkles of the freestyle and battle rounds should be interesting. I went back and forth on this a bit, but I have to go with the Eastern Conference as my pick for the winner of the Dunk Contest and I’ll take Paul George as the best overall dunker. When George is doing this in a game, I’m sure he has something even better planned for Saturday night.
Matt Constas: Ben McLemore
Mclemore is probably the least hyped of the participants and that will relieve him of a lot of the focus. Plus I’m hearing a potential 720-dunk? Man, that would be crazy.
Sam Kuperman: Paul George
As I mentioned in Tuesday’s podcast, the legend of Paul George is only getting better by the day. With many superstars now passing on entering the dunk contest, George has decided to go for it, which should be a delight to NBA fans around the world. Besides possessing freakish athleticism, George happens to be a very creative dunker as well. Who can forget that epic 360 he threw down against the Clippers back on January 18th? If the Pacers forward can pull off something like that in the dunk contest I don’t really see a reason why he won’t win.
Michael Wesson: John Wall
There are a lot a young faces and future perennial All-Stars participating in this year’s contest. Terrence Ross is the defending champion and I will be looking to see what he has up his sleeve. This year he has some stiff competition in the field. I am going to say John Wall takes this event. For a guy his size, he has a lot of aggression and his competitive nature might just give him the edge in the event.
Who do you think will win the Slam Dunk Contest?