The field for the 2019 NBA Slam Dunk Contest is just starting to take shape. Earlier in the day on Friday, we learned that last year’s champion would not participate in the upcoming event, as Donovan Mitchell revealed that he plans on watching the main event on All-Star Saturday night from the sideline.
A little later, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports brought word of the first competitor we can expect to see in the competition this year, and it’s someone who could really use the contest to springboard himself into becoming a household name. Promising Hornets rookie Miles Bridges reportedly plans on showing off his hopes in front of his hometown crowd.
Bridges, the No. 12 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, has been up and down during his first year in the Association, averaging 6.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game off the bench for Charlotte. He’s certainly shown flashes of having a future in the league, as there have been plenty of games where he’s provided a scoring punch for the Hornets off the bench.
It also helps — and here is the important thing with regards to the dunk contest — that Bridges is a wonderfully violent dunker. Here is an eight-and-a-half minute video of Bridges dunking while he was in college. It’s extremely good.
Bridges mixes the size, power, and athleticism to put anyone on a poster whenever he has a lane to the rim. He is the type of player who is capable of going up and grabbing the ball from above the rim and throwing down hard. Here is Dewayne Dedmond, a seven-foot tall man who gets paid money to prevent this sort of thing from happening, getting yammed on by Bridges from earlier this season.
Would you like to watch Bridges, still a child in high school, annihilate another young man while John Calipari gleefully watches? Of course you would.
At one point this year, the Hornets held an open practice, which let fans see some of the stuff Bridges can do in a relatively risk-free setting. All of the dunks you are about to see are fantastic.
He’ll certainly get a boost by performing in front of his hometown crowd, and with his ability to dunk and the creativity he’s capable of, Bridges very well could end up being the favorite to win the whole thing. Of course, we’ll wait until the rest of the field is announced before we say that with any certainty.