The 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest was unfortunately robbed of much of its luster by a new format that fell flat.
The festivities kicked off with 90-second team rounds that ended up looking like little more than pregame warmups. Team East was represented by John Wall, Paul George and Terrence Ross. Team West featured Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes and Ben McLemore.
All three dunkers from each team went at the same time during that opening round, and then the judges selected a winning trio.
The reward for that simply granted the East squad the opportunity to choose the matchups in the battle round, in which one dunker from each team went head-to-head. Judges then picked winners of each battle round, after which the contest abruptly ended.
When Vince Carter was in a dunk contest, "it's over" wasn't so much a question as it was a statement. Tonight, it was definitely a question.— Garrett Jochnau (@GarrettJochnau) February 16, 2014
If I had to give a grade for the layout of the event, I'd likely go with an "F." Unfortunately, it inhibited what might have been a pretty good contest. Not even a spectacular show from Wall on his final dunk could salvage the new format.
On the bright side, there were still some great moments from individual dunkers.