Chase Budinger Will Turn Heads in NBA Slam Dunk Contest 2012

Carlos CapellanContributor IIIFebruary 22, 2012

This year's slam dunk contest is lacking the star power of those in recent years; however, it will pack a lot of punch.

It will be a great opportunity for a couple of players from teams in small markets to make a name for themselves. One player who will shine brightly will be Chase Budinger, or "Air Bud," as he was called in college.

The fact is that this man can jump, and you wouldn't know it unless you followed the Houston Rockets on a regular basis. Even then, you still may not notice because of his shooting prowess.

Budinger is a solid all-around player who has gotten little shine because of his lack of minutes. But, he has posterized his fair share of NBA players already.

In 2006, he was a part of the McDonald's All Star Weekend. He was a co-MVP of the All Star Game with Kevin Durant and also participated in the slam dunk contest. He performed a wind mill dunk from just past the free throw line and an impressive base line jam where he put the ball through his legs.

His 6-foot-7 frame combined with a 38.5" vertical makes him a formidable pick to win the NBA dunk contest this year.

He holds the highest recorded vertical of all the contestants, but Derrick Williams comes close with a 38" vertical. Paul George's vertical is around 36" and Jeremy Evans is quite the leaper, however, there is little knowledge of his actual vertical measurements.

Evans wing span combined with his vertical and length can get him to 12'3" on the approach.

Budinger also has the edge of participating in dunk contest on national TV. Dunking in a game is much different than dunking in a contest. The experience and the vertical will propel Budinger to win the 2012 NBA Dunk Contest.

Fans will know who Air Bud is after this weekend, and he may even increase his playing time in actual season play.