As the NBA regular season winds down, it’s time to reflect on the moments that got our hearts racing and made us jump out of our seats. I’m talking, of course, about the best dunks to take place during the year. Not including alley-oops or putback slams, this list of the top 25 dunks of the 2013-14 season purely features the traditional dunk, ranging from vicious poster slams to feats of finesse and hang time.
You’ll find the usual suspects peppered throughout, but don’t expect an incredible posterization of a hapless defender to take the top spot. This year–on top of a bevy of dunk faces–also featured a few dunk contest-worthy slams in the open court that probably would have won the contest.
We take a look at 25 of the most scintillating slams, as well as who comes away with the dunk of the year, barring someone doesn’t do something incredible over the final week of play.
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25. DeMar DeRozan dunks on Joakim Noah
It’s not every day you see someone get the best of Joakim Noah on the defensive end of the floor, where he could likely win an award for the league’s best defender, but he was upended in this instance by DeMar DeRozan.
The high-flyer out of Toronto has his team in the playoffs, and now on this season’s edition of the dunks of the year. However, if you’ll remember back to one fateful night in Denver, you’ll know DeRozan isn’t the only Raptor on this list.
24. Dwight Howard dunks on Jermaine O’Neal
It’s tough for a center to make this list, because of how many dunks they have over the top of their defenders, but we’ll make an exception for this intense throwdown by Dwight Howard over the top of Jermaine O’Neal.
23. Tony Wroten dunks over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
The Philadelphia 76ers didn’t have much to celebrate this year, but they do have this poster dunk by Tony Wroten, who had a solid season after being a non-factor with Memphis last year, over the top of Charlotte’s athletic small forward, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
22. LeBron James dunks on Paul Millsap
This dunk, featuring LeBron James slamming over the top of Paul Millsap, who unwisely tried to draw a charge, is great on its own, but it’s the subtle details that really make it.
The transformation of LeBron’s expression from “YEAH, HOW’D THAT TASTE, MILLSAP?” to “OH, RIGHT, WE’RE STILL LOSING” is priceless.
21. Taj Gibson dunks on Bismack Biyombo
Taj Gibson has been disrespecting defenders with his athletic power jams for years, but this throwdown over Bismack Biyombo has to be one of his most vicious.
20. Josh Smith punches it in on Chris Bosh
There are times where the defender just needs to stay down and admit they made a play on the defensive end, rather than giving a futile effort to attempting to block the dunk.
This is one of those cases. Chris Bosh was in the wrong the second he attempted to stop Josh Smith from completing a fast-break dunk, which is one of his few specialties on the offensive end.
19. C.J. Miles dunks over Orlando Johnson
C.J. Miles, regularly known for his shooting, wanted to make sure that his name, as well as Orlando Johnson’s, were remembered.
Well, we probably forgot about them shortly after this game, but here it is to recall your memory of when Miles flew one in over Johnson.
18. LeBron James dunks on Ben McLemore
I know Ben McLemore is a rookie and all, but shouldn’t he be aware that trying to draw a charge on LeBron James isn’t a good idea?
Just do what everyone else does: either get out of his way or foul him hard enough to risk injury. Why do you think the Chicago Bulls are so proficient at defending him?
17. Quincy Acy destroys Marcin Gortat
Quincy Acy scared me when he’s at Baylor, and he continues to terrify me as a Sacramento King.
I’m sure Marcin Gortat is in the same boat with me now, especially after this powerful, downright cruel slam on his head by Acy.
16. Victor Oladipo dunks on the Hawks’ best
As a rookie, you can either have jitters and struggle to come along and adjust to the NBA, or you can attack the game with ferocity and fearlessness.
Victor Oladipo, as you can tell by this dunk over Al Horford and Paul Millsap, chose the latter.
15. Taj Gibson tells Nikola Vucevic to take a seat
Taj Gibson, once again making the league’s tallest and strongest defenders look like children.
This time it’s a dunk over the top of Orlando’s 7-foot center, Nikola Vucevic, who can only sit and stew in the puddle of embarrassment Gibson just delivered.
14. Anthony Davis dunks over Glen Davis
Here’s a little bit of Davis on Davis crime, but with about a 100-pound weight difference.
Anthony Davis, the lankier of the Davis’s, goes right up over the top of Glen Davis, who does not nearly possess the athleticism or length to have a say in what Anthony Davis dunks or does not dunk.
13. John Wall gets payback against Greg Monroe
Consider this payback for a fast-break poster slam Greg Monroe had on John Wall earlier in the season.
This dunk by Wall is far more impressive for many reasons. One, Wall is about half-a-foot shorter than the Detroit power forward. Two, he only had a few steps to get going, while Monroe had the entire length of the court. Three, he threw it down with his left hand.
John Wall wins this war, which really grabbed headlines and national attention all season.
12. LeBron James flies in over Ekpe Udoh
It should frighten the rest of the league that LeBron just performed this dunk over Ekpe Udoh in Miami’s recent win over Milwaukee. Yeah, it’s Milwaukee, but there’s nothing to be taken lightly about a poster that almost starts from the dotted line.
11. Reggie Jackson dunks on Kenneth Faried
This will certainly not be the only time we see Kenneth Faried on the wrong end of a poster, despite being a high-energy athlete that makes a living around the rim.
While Faried specializes in dunking and rebounding over defenders, he lets the diminutive point guard of Oklahoma City in Reggie Jackson sky over him for the driving dunk down the lane.
10. John Wall completes the 360
It’s always bothered me how dunks like this 360 by John Wall are as good as any dunks I’ve seen in the dunk contest since Jason Richardson won it back in the early 2000s.
No need for the props or flash. A simple 360 by an athletic 6-4 point guard is just as impressive as turning off the lights and then doing a dunk on a lighted runway or dunking over the hood of a sedan.
9. Gerald Green hits us with the windmill
Gerald Green makes dunking look so easy, as he does here with this windmill against Orlando, that it could make anyone think they could grab the rim.
/Goes outside and barely grabs the top half of the net.
Yeah, I’ll leave the levitation act for Gerald Green.
8. Xavier Henry dunks on Jeff Withey
Two names that aren’t exactly household, yet–probably because Xavier Henry is a member of the Los Angeles Lakers–this slam by Henry over New Orleans rookie Jeff Withey is one of the most filthy of the year.
Withey, a 7-footer out of Kansas, got his ‘Welcome to the NBA’ moment early in his career with this posterization by a fringe player off the Lakers’ bench.
7. Gerald Green levitates over DeMarcus Cousins
Gerald Green is a rare kind of athlete. No human being should be capable of floating as he does in his dunks, or in this case with a slam over an unsuspecting DeMarcus Cousins, who can only stare in wonder at Green’s knees reaching Cousins’ eyes.
You could compose this entire list with all of Green’s dunks, but that wouldn’t be fair to those born without a literal spring in their step.
6. Paul Millsap dunks over Jared Sullinger
If I were Jared Sullinger, I’d be peeved with Vitor Faverani for allowing Paul Millsap to go baseline.
Sullinger had little time to go after Millsap, who completed one of the better poster dunks of the year after eluding the slow-footed center of Boston.
5. LeBron James dunks on Serge Ibaka
There’s a lot of LeBron James on this list, and although I didn’t want to fill it up too much with just the exploits of James, it didn’t seem right to exclude a dunk where he got his nose broken and was still able to dunk over arguably the league’s top shotblocker in the same sequence.
4. J.J. Hickson punishes Marvin Williams
One of the earliest nominees for dunk of the year, the J.J. Hickson slam over Marvin Williams still holds up, over six months after it occurred.
Hickson demoralizes Williams, who proves to be not nearly as athletic as the high-flying power forward of the Denver Nuggets, by sending him to the floor with the two-handed flush.
3. Terrence Ross annihilates Kenneth Faried
Kenneth Faried just went about this all wrong. From the wayward pass he threw to the timing and angle he had in his attempt to block the dunk attempt of Terrence Ross, Faried was just begging to get on a poster of epic proportions.
Have to admire all that hustle, though!
2. Blake Griffin kills Kris Humphries
Our obligated ‘Blake Griffin embarrasses the life out of a defender’ dunk of the season was another one for the ages.
It’s not as prolific as his dunks over Kendrick Perkins or Timofey Mozgov, but this dunk over Kris Humphries is up there with Griffin’s better posters of his career.
1. Paul George gives us a little taste of Vince Carter, circa 2000
The Indiana Pacers may be falling apart at the seams, but, hey, at least they’ll always have that one regular season game against the Los Angeles Clippers where Paul George somehow pulled this off.
Did we miss any?
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