What: 2019 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest
Where: Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC
When: Saturday, February 16th at 8:00 PM EST
How (TV): TNT
The NBA Slam Dunk Contest is an annual NBA event held during the NBA All-Star Weekend. The contest was first held by the American Basketball Association (ABA) at halftime of the 1976 NBA All-Star Game in Denver – that same year, the slam dunk was legalized in the NCAA. When the ABA–NBA merger occurred later that year, there would not be another slam dunk contest until 1984. The contest has adopted several formats to decide the winner, including: judges vote and the use of fan voting, via text-messaging, to determine the winner of the final round.
|John Collins (ATL)||33″||+150|
|Miles Bridges (CHA)||40″||+190|
|Dennis Smith Jr (NYK)||48″||+250|
|Hamidou Diallo (OKC)||44.5″||+500|
John Collins enters this competition as the tallest competitor. He’s having a tremendous year for the Hawks – averaging 19 points and 9.5 rebounds per game – despite the teams overall struggles.
Collins is in this contest on the merit of his size, length, and ability to dunk the ball over his opponents. Collins’ creativity will be the key factor for him, as Big Men have rarely fared well in this competition. Regardless, he is the first big man to be favourited to win the competition since Blake Griffin.
Forward Miles Bridges has put together a respectable rookie season. He’s not the shooter that the Hornets want him to be, but his abilities as a slasher and a finisher are exactly why he’s been included in this competition.
Don’t discount the fact that Miles Bridges will be wearing the Charlotte Hornets jersey on his chest. While his incredible 40″ vertical is nothing to scoff at, controlling the crowd in the dunk contest is key to getting a victory. He will have Charlotte on his side on Saturday night.
What a roller coaster of a season it has been for Dennis Smith Jr. Coming back from injury to a Dallas Mavericks team that seemed ready to move on from him after one season, Smith Jr has found new life with the New York Knicks.
Dennis Smith Jr is the only returning competitor in this event and once tied the all-time NBA Draft Combine record with a vertical leap of 48″. To put that into context that is five whole inches higher than one of the NBA’s best all-time dunkers Vince Carter. As a small guard he doesn’t get up too often in game, so he’ll surely be itching to show his talents in this years Dunk Contest.
Unheralded guard Hamidou Diallo comes into this event as the biggest underdog. While he had to overcome a tough early season injury, the second-round draft pick has made a name for himself with the Thunder as an all-effort player.
Former teammate at Kentucky Shai Gilgeous-Alexander believes that Diallo should be the favourite to win this match. Not just favouritism, Diallo has a fine gallery of dunks in his short playing history. 6’5 and 198lbs with a 44.5″ vertical, Diallo has the physicality of former dunk contest champion Terrence Ross. Don’t be surprised to see him make some noise in this competition.
The odds makers have John Collins (+150) as the favourite to win the competition. The WSN panel agrees with odds makers but suggests to keep an eye on hometown favourite Miles Bridges (+190).
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
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