2016 NBA All-Star Game

NBA Slam Dunk Contest 2016: Start Time, TV Info and Live Stream Info

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 8: Zach LaVine #8 of the Minnesota Timberwolves goes for the dunk against the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on February 8, 2016 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
David Sherman/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIFebruary 13, 2016

The Minnesota Timberwolves' Zach LaVine put on one of the more memorable Slam-Dunk Contest performances in recent memory in 2015. He's coming back to defend his title on Saturday in Toronto, and he'll be facing an intriguing field of challengers.

Here's the viewing information and participants:

 

  • What: Verizon Slam Dunk 
  • When: Feb. 13 | All-Star Saturday Night | 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Air Canada Centre 
  • TV: TNT 
  • Live Stream: Watch TNT

 

Participants

  • Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves 
  • Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic 
  • Will Barton, Denver Nuggets 
  • Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons 

 

Each Contestant's Chances

The Big Man

AUBURN HILLS, MI - JANUARY 16:  Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons dunks the ball against the Golden State Warriors on January 16, 2016 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees tha
Allen Einstein/Getty Images

The Slam Dunk Contest hasn't been kind to big men. Dwight Howard is the only player 6'10" or taller to have ever won the event. D12 pulled it off with a variety of gimmick slams, explosive hops and costume changes.

Chances are, if the Detroit Pistons' Andre Drummond is going to dethrone LaVine and beat out the other two challengers, he'll need to take a similar route to the title. While at the University of Connecticut, Drummond proved he has the hops and flair to dazzle in a dunk contest format.

Check out some of the slams from Drummond during the Connecticut Huskies First Night dunk contest back in 2011. Drummond's portion of the video begins at the 45 second mark:

Those slams are fierce, but Drummond better bring the Temptations, Stevie Wonder and every other living and legendary Motown recording artist with him to Canada if he hopes to beat LaVine.

 

Florida Flyer

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 18:  Aaron Gordon #00 of the Orlando Magic dunks against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on January 18, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photogra
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon has explosive hops. He's an excellent in-game dunker, and his combination of length and hops, per Russell Peddle of Number Fire, implies the physical attributes are there to upset LaVine:

That said, Gordon has the look of a guy who may struggle to find the creativity and personality needed to wow the crowd. He's not going to be able to stay in the air as long as LaVine, nor will he be able to contort his body the way the defending champion can.

Gordon will need to close the gap with pre- and post-dunk flair, and that seems unlikely.

 

The Unusual Suspect

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 30: Will Barton #5 of the Denver Nuggets dunks against the Indiana Pacers on January 30, 2016 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or
Ron Hoskins/Getty Images

Casual fans may not even know the Denver Nuggets' Will Barton. He's having an excellent year for a bad Nuggets team, and he does have some pretty sweet slams this season. It's clear Barton has a strong appreciation for dunk contest greatness. On his Twitter account, Barton talked about the greatest dunker in history:

The wiry and energetic swingman is still a major long shot in this contest. One of the biggest reasons is: his thin frame. Quite honestly, guys built like Barton and the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant just don't look as cool when they dunk.

It's hard to explain why, but it's true. Maybe he'll surprise us with a memorable performance, but he's the least likely to pull the upset over LaVine.

 

And Still...

MINNEAPOLIS, MN -  NOVEMBER 10:  Zach LaVine #8 of the Minnesota Timberwolves goes up for a dunk against the Charlotte Hornets on November 10, 2015 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by d
David Sherman/Getty Images

To put it plain: no one is going to beat LaVine. He could probably rehash the same slams he did in 2015 and win the event again this year. In case you need a refresher, here's the highlights of his legendary performance at Madison Square Garden:

LaVine doesn't appear to be getting ready to put it on repeat. He put this teaser of one of his upcoming slams on his Instagram account. Use the reaction of LaVine's teammate Karl-Anthony Towns as a gauge for how awesome the dunk was:

Don't watch the 2016 Slam-Dunk contest to see who will win; there's no suspense in that. Watch it to see what amazing gravity-defying slams LaVine will use to take the trophy this year.


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