The NBA Slam Dunk Contest field isn't impressive, but last minute throw in Jeremy Evans may steal the show. The field of Paul George, Chase Budinger, Derrick Williams and Evans doesn't make you say, "I just gotta see this," but that doesn't mean the contest will pass without a few "wow moments."
Evans replaced my previous favorite to win the competition, Iman Shumpert. With Shumpert out, the contest lost it's only participant representing a major market team.
Evans has supplied his share of "wow moments" in his two seasons in the league already. He is the least known of all the players in the event, but his hops are substantial. Take a look at this dunk mix from Evans:
He has a 44" vertical and freakishly long arms, so the physical ability is there. It takes more than hops though; everyone in the competition has hops—you have to have style.
That could be Evans' issue as he could be what I call a "game-dunker."
Game dunkers throw down vicious slams in games, but in a contest, they lack the creativity and style to wow the judges with no one else on the floor with them.
Very few players are both contest dunkers and game dunkers. It remains to be seen if Evans will be able to raise his level and challenge for the crown.
The obscure field helps him, as he doesn't have to compete against a ultra popular player like Blake Griffin. None of the players figure to be a major favorite. The fact that he has the most to gain by winning is also a plus.
He plays the fewest minutes of any player in the contest at 5.6 per night, so this exhibition could be the key to exposure, endorsements and more.
Evans has every reason to pull out all the stops, and I believe he will be heard from on Saturday night.
He may not win it, but he will deliver a few "oohs and ahhs" with his performance.