The contestants are set for the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Contest:
Iman Shumpert, Knicks
Chase Budinger, Rockets
Paul George, Pacers
Derrick Williams, Timberwolves
Jeremy Lin has been signed as on an "assistant" for Shumpert, much in the way Baron Davis did for last year's champ, Blake Griffin, only used more opportunistically by the NBA this time around.
But will it help Shumpert with the judges? If Lin is able to assist Iman to the title, it'll mean the end to a long held top of the standings for the Atlanta Hawks, who to this point have been tied with the Knicks for most dunk championships with four.
Three of those Knicks titles were from the mind of Nate Robinson from 2006-2010 and the other from Kenny Walker in 1989. Meanwhile, three of Hawks titles were won by Dominique Wilkins (1985, 1990) and Spud Webb (1986) when the dunk contest had guys like Michael Jordan in involved and the last by Josh Smith in 2005.
Whereas many people have found it funny and trendy to bash the contest, I still quite enjoy it, as long as we're not treated to 17 attempts at a single dunk. That's as much fun as watching officials do instant replay over and over again. But watching the newest dunking aficionados and creative dunks still registers as fun. Would love to see them open it up and see them include more folks who want to be in it with reps for ups, like Jeremy Evans of Utah or even the Hawks' own Jeff Teague.
Teague would be fun because he is so explosive and you don't expect such authority on his dunkage. His skill set fits into a category that I would like to see added to the competition if possible -- Loudest Dunk. If it could be measured purely, by decibel but without fan noise involved, this would encourage guys to be as nasty as possible.
The all time leader in this category, in my opinion, would be Wilkins, who always seemed like he was assaulting the basket, rim and floor below every time he dunked.
Exit Question(s): Who would you like to see in the contest? Would you add anything to it? What dunk would you want to see done that you don't think you've seen before?
My answer: Standing behind the backboard and tossing the ball over, then running back in front to catch it and throw it down with authority. Just sayin -- that would be cool.