NBA Slam Dunk Contest 2012: Paul George Will Save All-Star Weekend

Scott Semmler@@ScottSemmler22Analyst IIFebruary 25, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers and Team Chuck dunks during the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge part of the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend at Amway Center on February 24, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The days of Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins are over, as Chase Budinger, Derrick Williams, Jeremy Evans and Paul George will lace them up tonight in the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, making it one of the least-hyped dunk contest in recent memory.

What happened to Jordan jumping from the free throw line?  Where is Blake Griffin jumping over another Kia this year or Vince Carter with a honey-dip dunk?

The NBA Dunk Contest has lost its notoriety, which you can tell by how little LeBron James is interested in it.

However, tonight's festivities will name a new high-flying superstar dunker, and his name is Paul George. The show he will put on tonight will save a very weary NBA All-Star weekend that has seemed to lose its luster over the past few years. Many will be watching the Academy Awards on Sunday instead of the NBA All-Star Game.

George is averaging 12 points and five assists in his second year out of Fresno State. The main thing to notice is that a good portion of George's points come via the dunk. He ranks 32nd in the NBA with 25 dunks this season.  

The leader is Griffin with 93 dunks.

George is lanky with great jumping ability, which is why he should be able to put on quite a show tonight in Orlando. Those happen to be the perfect combination for highlight reel dunks.

The other contestants are severely underrated, as well. Chase Budinger could surprise many tonight with the way he can jump out of the gym, Derrick Williams will show-off his strength with several powerful dunks and Jeremy Evans was a fitting addition to the contestants this year, as he could also be another dark horse winner.

Make no mistake, Williams is the favorite tonight mostly because he was the second overall pick in the NBA draft and has the biggest name of the bunch. But take notice of George and Evans out there tonight because their leaping ability will be put on display, and NBA nation will take notice.

We should not expect the contest to be historic, but it will be a better show than people are expecting mostly because George will impress those who did not know of him before. He is arguably the most physically gifted of the contestants tonight and will be able to show it off on the biggest of the NBA All-Star weekend stages.