The Slam Dunk Contest, held annually during the NBA All-Star weekend, has recently reemerged from a slumber to become one of the most exciting events of the NBA season.
After a dull and painful stretch during the '90s, the dunk contest was revitalized through the creative efforts of current NBA players like Vince Carter, Jason Richardson and Dwight Howard.
This season’s dunk contest will be held in Houston and should be an exciting affair for NBA fans everywhere. But while Rockets fans will have the amazing opportunity to see James Harden compete as a member of the Western Conference All-Star team, they will go without representation in the dunk contest.
Perhaps, then, the Rockets organization should treat its fans to an in-house dunk contest during the time off. But who would compete, and who, ultimately, would win?
An underwhelming all-around player but strong athlete, James Anderson makes his way into this hypothetical dunk contest mainly because the Rockets just don’t have that many great dunkers.
Though he hasn’t gotten enough minutes to show it, Anderson can certainly throw down from time to time.
James Harden is best known for his spectacular ability to finish at the rim, so it should be no surprise to see Houston’s top player in this contest.
Though Harden often prefers the soft touch of a floater or contact layup to polish off his many escapades to the rim, he’s never afraid to go for the slam given the opportunity.
The Beard has a solid array of dunks at his disposal, but he most prefers the tomahawk.
Easily the most athletic power forward on Houston’s roster, Terrence Jones’ combination of mobility and power would make him a dangerous contender in this imaginary contest.
Jones’ NBA action has been limited this season, but he proved to be a fearsome dunker during his college years at Kentucky, and has certainly taken advantage of his opportunities here in his rookie campaign.
Jeremy Lin isn’t a terribly frequent dunker, but he has certainly shown a knack for powerful finishes whenever a lane opens up before him.
Lin wouldn’t be able to win a dunk contest off athleticism, but perhaps he could put those Harvard brains of his to use to come up with clever enough finishes to take the win.
A hustle player with plenty of skill to match, Chandler Parsons excels at running the lanes in transition and punishing lazy opponents with vicious putback dunks.
Parsons is a strong finisher, but not a particularly flashy one, and he seems better suited to powerful in-game jams than to the theatrics expected of a dunk contest. But if this contest allowed for dunks off an offensive rebound, Parsons would have a clear advantage.
Patrick Patterson makes his living as a stretch 4 in the NBA, but in his starting role this season, he has occasionally shown a surprising ability to finish at the rim.
Patterson seems to finish best off of assists from his teammates, so he’d be wise to team up with Harden or Lin to make the most out of his dunks.
While a Rockets-only dunk contest would be a hard-fought and exciting affair, the victory would most likely go to Houston’s best, Harden.
While the three forwards would put up a good fight, none could ultimately match the combination of finesse and power constantly exhibited by the crafty Harden.
Harden’s tomahawk alone would net him plenty of points, but pair that tremendous finishing ability with elite athleticism and arguably the most swagger of any player in the league, and you’ve got a clear winner. Second place goes to Terrence Jones.
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