Just like the Portland Trail Blazers have taken the NBA by storm this season with a 36-15 record, Damian Lillard has put the NBA on notice. He’s anointed himself as one of the most cold-blooded players in the game, nailing clutch shots like free throws. Damian Lillard will make NBA history when he becomes the first player to compete in all five events (Skills Challenge, Slam Dunk Contest, Three-Point Shootout, Rising Stars Challenge, All-Star Game) during NBA All-Star Weekend. The Slam Dunk Contest is the most intriguing, as it will feature three All-Stars for the first time in 26 years (Lillard, Wall and George).
Dunking isn’t one of the things that comes to my mind when thinking of Damian Lillard. I mean, Lillard is only 6-3, 195 pounds. However, Lillard has compiled quite a few poster worthy dunks in his short time in the NBA that validate his entrance in the Slam Dunk Contest. Maybe you feel the same way, which makes this list the perfect introduction to Lillard’s dunking entrance. Enough talking, let’s enjoy some dunks.
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15. Lillard steal and slam vs. Spurs
On this play, we see Damian Lillard charge into the passing lane, steal the pass and glide to the hoop for the slam. This dunk should be appreciated for the defensive risk that Dame took going after the pass and succeeding–then rewarding himself with a slam. I would have preferred a 360 windmill dunk myself, but this was just his rookie season. I’ll expect more out of any fast break opportunities that Dame Lillard gets after compiling this list.
14. Lillard blows past Aaron Brooks
Poor Aaron Brooks–this won’t be the only time he appears on this list. Lillard doesn’t even bother to use the screen that was set for him, just calmly ignores it and rolls to the rack for a deuce. Talk about a high percentage field goal. For some reason, the commentator said this dunk made his “tooth hurt”. I’m not sure what that means, but it was a pretty sweet dunk.
13. Lillard disrespects the Chicago Bulls
This dunk by Damian Lillard probably didn’t leave the best impression on the Chicago Bulls. With less than five seconds on the clock and the Blazers up by six, the game was virtually over. The Bulls decided to sag off on defense, assuming the Blazers would do the normal thing and dribble the clock out. Damian Lillard had a different idea, as he takes this opportunity to showcase his dunking skills for his home crowd. Nate Robinson took the time after the game to let Lillard know that type of stuff isn’t tolerated in the big leagues. Hopefully Dame got the message, but we can still enjoy this one.
12. Welcome to the NBA: summer league dunk
This one is special, because it was Lillard’s second game in the summer league before his rookie season even started. Coming out of Weber State, there were a lot of questions about a small point guard coming out of a mid-major college. This dunk addressed all the haters in one powerful slam. Right after the dunk, the commentators immediately bring up the name Derrick Rose, comparing him to Lillard. I’m not sure how accurate of an assertion that is, but it sure gave the NBA an introduction to Damian Lillard.
11. Lillard turns garbage into gold
Well, talk about making something out of nothing. After corralling a wild pass from Wesley Matthews, Dame Lillard decides to take matters into his own hands. The defense is no match here as Lillard drives right by and throws down a power jam. I swear, half of the dunks on this list look like something LaMarcus Aldridge should be doing, not Damian Lillard. He packs quite the punch in just 195 pounds.
10. Damian Lillard dunking in high school
Dame Lillard was dunkin’ on dudes before he even went to the league–before he even went to college to be exact. This is a clip from Damian Lillard in high school at a summer camp, featuring a 6-1 Damian Lillard at the time. The game is being played on a side hoop, but that doesn’t matter to Lillard as he rises up and jams over someone who probably didn’t make it to the league. This was just foreshadowing all of the dunks on this list.
9. Eric Maynor alley-oop to Damian Lillard
Flight Zero is prepared for takeoff in Memphis. Lillard takes advantage of porous transition defense by the Memphis Grizzlies and the fact that Jerryd Bayless completely forgets Lillard is even there. No one even looks Lillard’s way besides Eric Maynor, who throws the bomb to Lillard as he powers it down.
Oh, this one is pretty. Typically, we see Damian Lillard take matters into his own hands when he flys for a slam, but not here. Lillard takes advantage of Kyrie Irving‘s extremely lazy P-n-R defense and accelerates to the rim for a sweet alley-oop. Kyrie Irving can do nothing but look in amazement at a young star that is aiming for his spot as the top young point guard in the NBA.
7. Back-to-back dunks vs. Kings
We get a double dip of Lillard slams here. The first one, Lillard takes Aaron Brooks easily off the dribble and slams it home. It looks like something a power forward should be doing, not a 6-3 point guard. The second dunk is a fast break special. If you freeze the frame right before he rises up, it’s a funny picture. Lillard’s teammates are waiting for Lillard to take off and are just watching in awe, with no Sacramento Kings to be found. Will Barton was attempting to get Lillard to throw a lob, but Dame wanted this one. Just like a missile, Lillard cocks the ball back and fires it into the hoop for the easiest two points in NBA history.
6. Trilogy of Lillard dunks in 2012 NBA Rookie Showcase
These dunks are hidden deep in the YouTube vaults, but we’ve uncovered them from the 2012 NBA Rookie Showcase. These dunks prove the type of power that Lillard can bring to the dunk contest this year. I know dunking and Damian LIllard aren’t always the two most synonyms terms, but this video should prove that false.
5. Damian Lillard heats up Denver
Poor Denver–this won’t be the last time they appear on this list. When Kosta Koufos sees Lillard ready to rise up, he pushes Evan Fournier into the lane, but Fournier wisely side-steps past Lillard and let’s him drop the hammer. It’s comical how Koufos tries to put his own teammate on a poster. Thankfully, Fournier respectfully declined his own invitation to the Damian Lillard dunk contest. There’s something about the Mile High City that makes Damian Lillard rip down rims–must be the altitude.
4. Damian Lillard dunks on the Nuggets… again
Tell me if you haven’t seen this before. The high altitude in Denver must give Lillard some extra hops or something. This one is from Lillard’s Rookie of the Year season. Just a quick jab-step to his defender and Lillard is flying to the rack. Initially, Corey Brewer decides to try and stop Lillard but once he sees him going up, smartly just jumps to the sideline.
3. Damian Lillard blows past T. Ross and soars
The best thing about this dunk isn’t even the dunk. The best thing is that Damian Lillard drives right by Terrence Ross, the NBA dunk champion of last year and soars for the slam. Terrence Ross can do nothing but watch as Lillard throws down this sweet jam. Plus, whenever you throw down a dunk of this magnitude and the opposing team calls a timeout immediately, that’s a victory. When I first saw this dunk, all I could think about was screaming “I believe I can fly” when he leaps off from right inside the dotted line.
2. Try again, Anthony Randolph
Anthony Randolph has had a disappointing NBA career–there’s no doubt about that. However, he actually made a good decision here by getting out of the way of being put on a Damian Lillard poster. At first, Randolph jumps up to defend Lillard, but as soon as he realizes what is about to happen, he sort of jumps sideways to avoid collateral damage. This is just a beautiful play all by Damian Lillard and has the perfect result in a posterizing slam at the end. He avoids the trap, dribbles through the double-team, flies right into the lane and punishes the rim. Who needs teammates when Damian Lillard can split the defense and finish by himself? Better luck next time, Anthony Randolph.
1. The Wizards need more magic to stop Dame
OH MAN! This dunk almost made me jump out of my chair. Lillard blows by the fastest point guard in the league and fellow dunk contest participant in John Wall and reminds Nene that his best days are well behind him. Both Wall and Nene rise up to stop Lillard from throwing down, but their efforts are futile. Damian Lillard must smell blood when he sees a fellow dunk participant guarding him. Blowing past John Wall is one thing, but rising up for this emphatic slam is just the icing on the cake.
What are you expecting from Dame in the dunk contest?
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