The NBA All-Star weekend’s premiere event is rapidly approaching on Saturday night: The Verizon Slam Dunk contest. The Pacers will be represented by Glenn Robinson III as he goes up against Derrick Jones Jr., DeAndre Jordan, and last year’s runner-up Aaron Gordon. Here’s a look at what each contestant brings to the table and their odds of winning:
DeAndre Jordan: The 6’11” first-time All-Star Center for the Los Angeles Clippers. Jordan continues the recent trend of having at least one big man in the field. (2016 Andre Drummond; 2015 Mason Plumlee).
Only two true big men have won the contest since 1984: Blake Griffin in 2011 and Dwight Howard in 2008. Plus, DeAndre’s competition this year will require him to be extra creative with his dunks. No simple Lob City move is going to win this for him.
Best In-Game Dunk: The day Brandon Knight got destroyed. Not sure how he got back up after taking this L in 2013.
Odds of Winning: 5% though the odds go up if a player is willing to let himself get dunked on like above.
Derrick Jones Jr. A 6’7″ Small Forward that’s spent most of his rookie season in the D-League for the Phoenix Suns. Jones has only taken seven shots in his entire NBA career. But he can get up. Man can he get up. Just watch this dunk reel:
Happy 20th birthday to @TheRea1DJones!
— NBA D-League (@nbadleague) February 15, 2017
He reminds me of Stacey Augmon. A relative unknown outside the Southwest, Jones spent one season at UNLV before jumping to the pros. These type of players have done well in the contest in the past. Think Jeremy Evans or a young Gerald Green.
Best In-Game Dunk: Jones actually had his first in-game NBA dunks last night against the Lakers, so the choices are kind of limited.
Odds of Winning: Dark Horse to win this thing. I give him 25% chance. If Aaron Gordon falters in any way.
Glenn Robinson III: 6’6″ small forward for the Indiana Pacers. The son of former Purdue great Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson, Trey Dog, as he’s affectionately known, has shown some hops for the Pacers this season. Normally a “safe” dunker in game, he has the chance to surprise folks when the shackles are off during the contest. He’s been using #shocktheworld in reference to the contest in the last couple weeks. Oh, and see the image below. ARE HIS SHOULDERS ABOVE THE RIM!?
Two weeks ago, he tweeted out a request for some ideas and help from his followers. He’s had serious suggestions to outright crazy ones. One suggestion was “Wear a Tom Brady jersey, deflate a ball & dunk it” from Miller Time Podcast. But the most intriguing option was when one follower suggested he ask former Colts punter Pat McAfee. They did at least touch base via Twitter, so maybe the recently retired McAfee will show up for something special.
Best In-Game Dunk: Hard to choose. Not a flashy in-game dunker. But, the Dunk over Chriss of the Suns earlier this season was impressive.
Odds of Winning: 20% I give him an outside chance but just a bit below Jones. A relative unknown outside of Indiana, but he’s got a chance to surprise.
Aaron Gordon. A 6’9″ forward for the Orlando Magic and the heavy favorite to win this year’s contest. He showed us what he can do in last year’s greatest (arguably) dunk contest with the back-and-forth battle with Zach LaVine.
One year ago today, Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon put on a show that won’t be forgotten.
📽: (HOH) pic.twitter.com/Tcua7fPKcF
— ProCity Hoops (@ProCityHoops) February 13, 2017
Best In-Game Dunk: Against the Wizards this past December. In-Game reverse pump.
Odds of Winning: 50% Chance. If he can at least come close to last years contest, the trophy is his for the taking. Plus, look at this confidence.
What do you all think? Who’s taking home the title this year?