The Top 10 Dunkers in the NBA Today

John LorgeSenior Writer IDecember 27, 2008

There are plenty of guys in the NBA today who can throw it down. Many of today's NBA players are riding their slam-jams of yesteryear. 

Can you believe it's been almost nine years since Vince Carter stuck his elbow in the rim? Nine years since Vincesanity jumped over Freddy Weis?

Vince, like many other great dunkers, doesn't have the explosion he once had. Do you think VC, Tracy McGrady, and Steve Francis could re-create, dunk for dunk, that 2000 contest?


I have compiled a list of the 10 best dunkers in the NBA today. What does it take to be a top dunker?  First, you must dunk frequently. Next, you must have a dunk style. Finally, defenders must fear that when you go to the hole, they will end up on a poster if they get in your way.

Before we get to the top 10, here are the Honorable Mentions: Shawn Marion, Shaquille O'Neal, Ronnie Brewer, Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Kevin Garnett, Vince Carter, David Lee, Jason Richardson, Hakim Warrick, Kevin Durant, Trevor Ariza, Nate Robinson, and Andrew Bynum.


10. Jason Maxiell, Detroit Pistons

Maxiell averages over a dunk per game in less than 20 minutes of play. The 6'7", 260-pounder doesn't just put it in either, he rips down the rim and destroys anything in his way. Maxiell is one of the highest energy players in the game and he shows it with his dunks. 

The No. 10 pick is the most controversial on the list but he has it all. Dunk frequency, a powerful style that us surprisingly agile, and not many players have the huevos to step in-front of Maxiell on the break or in the half-court. Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2, Exhibit 3.


9. Nene, Denver Nuggets

Nene has been dunking on everyone this year. Don't believe me?  Through 30 games this year, he is tied for the NBA lead in dunks and has the YouTube portfolio to prove it.

Nene has dunked on Yao, Diaw, and all of the Kings-men. He has long arms, good hops, and his ability to move up and down the court give him plenty of opportunities for transition jams.


8. Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers

While watching a Knicks-Sixers game earlier this season and Clyde Frazier said it so perfectly: "Iguodala makes 'em holla."  The other AI brings fans out of their seats with his long take-offs which he throws down with authority

He averages over a dunk per game, and he will take it to anybody.


7. Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies

Rudy Gay has shown us what he's made of in dunk contests and in games. Gay rises high over defenders, has amazing body control and his in-game theatrics are sweet.

The NBA has been pumping Gay on his way to the dunk competition, so you better take a look.


6. Kobe Bryant, Los Angles Lakers

Is there any question that Kobe deserves to be on this list? I didn't think so. KB24 has a unique style that we don't see from anyone else in the NBA right now. 

He simply floats to the rim, and when he drives baseline and reverses under the hoop fans anticipate a highlight slam. 

This season, the Black Mamba has continued to impress fans with a combination of power-slams and twisting theatrics.


5. Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks

When the Hawks' Smith takes flight, you better get out of the way, because none can soar higher. Smith is extremely comfortable around the rim and uses his long arms to finish from well outside the key. 

Smith is back strong from his injury; just ask Kendrick Perkins, and he has been wowing fans since his high school days.


4. Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns

Amare has go-go gadget arms. He can jump straight up in the air, get eye-level with the rim then go-go the ball in the hole, usually over the head of a defender. Amare has great dunk frequency and can go with his back to the basket or facing-up.

His most recent victim was Joel Przybilla, and he's learned a new style from his teammate Shaq. 


3. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

This season Wade has been using is leaping ability to provide some highlight swats, but he still throws it down regularly. 

Wade has an amazing ability to finish awkward dunks, wrong-foot wrong-hand dunks that should be impossible for a player his size. He can also catch the oop with ease.


2. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

After Dwight went Superman, everyone around the NBA started seeing him in a different light. He was known for his power, but now he gets respect for his theatrics.

There is not much explanation needed for why Howard ranks second on this list. His ability to get position down low makes him the NBA's most frequent dunker at over two per game. Here's some of his career best dunks.


1. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavilers

Surprise, surprise, King James is king of this list. No non-post player dunks more than James, and none of them do it better. Bron has power, finesse, and is always a crowd pleaser.

Check out James going through the gauntlet on Toronto.  I'm sure you'll be able to find a few more on YouTube too.