NBA Slam Dunk Contest 2013: Previewing All-Star Weekend's Most Exciting Event
The NBA Slam Dunk Contest is the most electrifying event offered during All-Star weekend.
And the 2013 competition won't disappoint.
Last week NBA.com released the competitors for this year and a new format:
The 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk will feature six dunkers competing in a two-round competition as part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. The new format will pit the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference in an exciting night of competition that will also raise money for charity.
The Western Conference will be represented by the 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk champion Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz along with the Los Angeles Clippers' Eric Bledsoe and Denver Nuggets' Kenneth Faried.
The Eastern Conference lineup will include the Indiana Pacers' Gerald Green, Toronto Raptors' Terrence Ross and New York Knicks' James White.
Who ya got?
Of the six participants there are two former dunk champions in Evans and Green.
Evans is the defending champion and is looking to encore his performance after Nate Robinson did in 2009 and 2010.
Green won it back in 2007 when with the Boston Celtics.
To that end, let's take a quick glimpse of each participant and predict a winner.
Eric Bledsoe, LA Clippers
Bledsoe may be a point guard, but that doesn't mean the guy can't fly.
At 6'1", Bledsoe still possesses the ups to grab boards and register the occasional blocked shot. So it's no surprise he can dunk with the best of the association.
Having played with the Clippers thus far in his career, Bledsoe is a key element to their recent success.
Jeremy Evans, Utah
As the defending champion Evans not only has experience on his size, but an extreme amount of confidence.
This is also Evans' time to shine, because he's averaging only 5.4 minutes per game this season.
Nevertheless, the Jazz have one athletic bench player and perhaps another dunk title will realize he deserves more minutes.
Kenneth Faried, Denver
Faried is an athletic monster.
Whether it's in the paint on on the perimeter, his ability to defend, get physical and grab boards is unreal. Faried also ranks No. 6 this season with 90 dunks thrown down.
That is the most of anyone in this competition.
Gerald Green, Indiana
A former dunk contest champion, Green also competed here in 2008. Unfortunately, that was the same year Dwight Howard went Superman and dominated.
Still, Green finished in second and his experience is a competitive advantage.
If there's one concern, though, it's that Green's averaging a 34.5 field goal percentage this season, the second-lowest of his career. So should a dunk fail, odds are on Green.
Terrence Ross, Toronto
The lone rookie in the competition, Ross has been a solid role player for the Toronto Raptors this season.
He is got quite a road ahead to take this contest, though, because everyone else does have more NBA experience. At the same time, Ross is feeling confident in an interview with Dan Devine of Yahoo! Sports:
"I mean, people kind of have an idea of what they think that [the other competitors] are going to do, so I think it's going to be a little harder for them to showcase something different. But for me, I don't think too many people know what I'm capable of."
James White, New York
White bounced back and forth between the NBA and its D-League from 2007-08 through 2011-12.
But he's now with the New York Knicks and has previous dunk contest experience to his name.
In addition, he's also ready to rock this weekend, per Slam Magazine:
"I have about five dunks where I'm absolutely certain that I will get a 50 on those." -James "Flight" White bit.ly/VKqpTt— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) February 8, 2013
Prediction: Kenneth Faried
Of everyone in the contest, Faried is arguably the best athlete.
His forte of working in the paint and playing tough will transition well, because dunking is Faried's specialty.
Given that he already dominates against the bigs and ranks among the top dunkers this year, just imagine Faried getting to freestyle.
It's going to be ridiculous.
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