Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has taken the NBA by storm since entering the league last season. He has shown incredible explosiveness, done things that most point guards cannot even dream of and has hit clutch shot after clutch shot.
He is also a pretty darn good dunker, and the NBA has apparently taken notice. Lillard has accepted an invitation to compete in the 2014 Slam Dunk Contest, according to Chris Haynes of Comcast Sportsnet Northwest:
Because Lillard is only 6'3", you may not expect him to be a great dunker at first glance. Then he'll do something like this to 6'11" power forward Nene:
Or he'll slice into the lane and cram a vicious, rim-rocking slam on the defense:
We've seen diminutive players win the Slam Dunk Contest in years past.
The 5'9" Nate Robinson won it three times (2006, 2009, 2010). Back in 1991, Dee Brown (6'1") captured the crown. In '86, Spud Webb stunned the world by coming out on top despite being only 5'7".
Dunking is not just a thing that big men do. The little guys can get up, and in many cases it looks better because they are getting so high off the ground.
Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts is happy for his young floor general, telling CSN's Chris Haynes, "He’s young and if he wants to do it, I’m fine with that. It will be a good experience for him. We want him to have fun. But when he gets back, it’ll be business as usual."
How awesome would it be to see Lillard and Wall, two of the league's up-and-coming stars at the point guard position, compete against one another for slam supremacy?
Perhaps smaller players like Lillard can help bring the dunk contest back to the forefront. It has certainly lost some luster in recent years, and an athletic little man like Lillard could be the perfect guy for the job.