Ranking Each Current NBA Playoff Team's Best Dunker

PJ BernackiCorrespondent IJanuary 29, 2013

Ranking Each Current NBA Playoff Team's Best Dunker

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    Using the top eight teams of each conference and a playoff-style bracket, I pinned the best dunkers of the league's top teams against each other. Will the exciting play of Russell Westbrook and J.R. Smith take home the crown or will the overpowering dunks of LeBron James and Blake Griffin come away with the title. Or can a dark horse emerge as the NBA's best aerial attacker?

    Let's look at every matchup.

East: No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 8 Boston Celtics

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    Representing the top-seeded Miami Heat is reigning MVP LeBron James. Although, this dunk was during his days in Cleveland, it is clearly one of his most exciting ones.

    Facing off against King James is Boston Celtic's forward, Jeff Green. On a team that lacks size and youth, Green is the Celtics' default best dunker even though he deserves credit. Take a look at this youngster's monster slam as he skies over the Heat's Chris Bosh


    Winner: LeBron James

East: No. 2 New York Knicks vs. No. 7 Milwaukee Bucks

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    The New York Knicks have many talented big men who can throw it down such as Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Staudemare, but it's 6'6" guard J.R. Smith whose insane skills around the rim make him the Knicks' best dunker. 

    Representing the Milwaukee Bucks is guard Brandon Jennings. The high-scoring and high-flying Jennings can be seen throwing himself an alley-oop in this non-league game.


    Winner: J.R. Smith

East: No. 3 Chicago Bulls vs. No. 6 Atlanta Hawks

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    Josh Smith is a force around the rim for the Atlanta Hawks, and his strong and overpowering dunks place him in this matchup.

    Smith is going up against the former dunk contest winner, Nate Robinson. The newly acquired Chicago Bull amazes people with his thrilling dunks despite his tiny size. But I can't let a guard who doesn't post a lot of minutes get past the first round, so...


    Winner: Josh Smith

East: No. 4 Brooklyn Nets vs. No. 5 Indiana Pacers

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    The Brooklyn Nets had a few options in Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, but even with his disappointing season, Gerald Wallace is their best dunk man. Check out this crazy slam against the Bucks a month ago.

    Paul George is emerging as a superstar for the Indiana Pacers, and he is filling in nicely for the injured Danny Granger, dunking his way through the process. Remember the video above from a few years ago?


    Winner: Paul George 

East: No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 6 Atlanta Hawks

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    There is no way, although very powerful, that Josh Smith can get past LeBron James in a dunk contest. King James is too athletic and big for anyone to stop him around the rim.


    Winner: LeBron James

East: No. 2 New York Knicks vs. No. 5 Indiana Pacers

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    Watching this one video single-handledly puts J.R. Smith way past Indiana's Paul George 


    Winner: J.R. Smith

Eastern Finals: No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 2 New York Knicks

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    This was actually a really tough call, but after watching various top-10 videos of both players, I had to go with LeBron James to reach the finals. Smith's overall are more impressive, but James is an unstoppable force when attacking the hoop.


    Winner: LeBron James

West: No. 1 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 8 Houston Rockets

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    The Houston Rockets traded for James Harden this offseason to lead the team and throw it down like he does in the previous video.

    With such methodical (boring) play, it was hard to pick the best dunker on an aging San Antonio Spurs squad. Then I remembered when Danny Green, arguably the team's most athletic player, threw it down against Duke during his college days with North Carolina. One of the best dunks of his playing career and in college basketball history.


    Winner: James Harden

West: No. 2 Oklahoma City vs. No. 7 Utah Jazz

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    You could flip a coin to determine Oklahoma City's best aerial threat. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are both phenomenal athletes, but in the end, Durant's long reach facilitates his dunks, while Westbrook relies on his jumping ability that rivals any one in the league. 

    The Utah Jazz was another tough decision, but in the end Al Jefferson is always around the net and is too powerful not be considered their best dunker.


    Winner: Russell Westbrook

West: No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 6 Denver Nuggets

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    We have all seen Blake Griffin's spectacular dunks every morning on SportsCenter, like this classic play last year where he literally throws the ball into the basket.

    For the Denver Nuggets, the newly acquired small forward, Andre Iguodala, has been a notorious dunk man for the Philadelphia Sixers for years. Look at what this athlete is bringing to the table for Denver


    Winner: Blake Griffin

West: No. 4 Memphis Grizzlies vs. No. 5 Golden State Warriors

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    If you don't know Golden State's Harrison Barnes, now you know why he's their best dunker.

    As for the Grizzlies, Rudy Gay is Memphis' best all-around player and dunker. Watch this crazy play against LeBron James and you'll see why.


    Winner: Rudy Gay

West: No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 8 Houston Rockets

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    The former teammates square off in this second-round matchup. Sorry, Harden, Westbrook is just too much of a freak of nature.


    Winner: Russell Westbrook 

West: No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 4 Memphis Grizzlies

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    Rudy Gay can clearly ball, but he still doesn't compare to Blake Griffin, arguably the best dunker in the game.


    Winner: Blake Griffin 

Western Finals: No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers

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    Griffin has a size advantage on Westbrook, making it easier to throw down jams. But there is no denying that Griffin has the most impressive and insane dunks in league history.


    Winner: Blake Griffin 

NBA Final: Los Angeles Clippers vs Miami Heat

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    For the finals, I took a deeper look at the whole team's dunking ability. King James receives great dunking partners each night with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but it's not enough to overtake Lob City. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan constantly throw down blockbuster dunks each night with the help of the league's best point guard, Chris Paul.

    These two teams are high flying, exciting and playing at an extremely high level; it's possible that these two can meet in the actual NBA Finals this summer.


    Winner: Los Angeles Clippers