This year’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest is finally expected to be one of the best in years. Getting NBA superstars to participate in the contest has been an issue the past few seasons. However, this year three rising superstars elected to participate, which is creating a lot of noise about this upcoming weekend.
Headlining the group is Paul George, an athletic freak that threw down a MONSTROUS dunk a few months ago against the Los Angeles Clippers. George is emerging as an elite player on both ends of the floor and has the ability to change momentum with one slam at any point in a game.
PG participated in this event a few years ago but failed to win. George can flat-out jump out of the gym and this time around, I expect to see some explosive, high-powered throwdowns. George has led his team to a record of 39-11, atop the Eastern Conference, and has the whole NBA on watch. Why? Here is a little taste of what you might witness Saturday night.
[RELATED: Damian Lillard’s Top 15 Dunks]
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15. Reverse alley-oop slam vs. Bulls
Talk about athleticism. George makes a simple backdoor cut to the bucket and in mid air decides to reverse slam the lob pass from George Hill. PG doesn’t even have his eyes on the rim when he catches the ball but has the awareness to know where the basket is. Better yet, his high-flying dunk was against division rival Chicago. Indiana has surpassed the Bulls as the biggest threat to dethrone the Heat in the East. PG is a big reason why and as he continues to develop his game, he becomes more and more dangerous as an offensive threat.
14. Slamming it over Larry Sanders
George doesn’t shy away from a challenge. He sees a lane to the basket and knows he is going to be challenged at the rim by a very good shot blocker in Larry Sanders. However, the young star fears nothing and went right at Sanders, sending a message that he won’t back down from anyone when he gets a full steam ahead to the basket.
13. Breakaway reverse dunk vs. Rockets
Paul George on a fast break all by himself is dangerous. George capitalizes off those opportunities ten out of ten times and makes sure that it results in more than just two points. Like in this case, the crowd erupts and the opposition is forced into a timeout. If you’re an opposing player and George is all alone heading down the court, start walking to your bench.
12. China Dunk Contest
PG put on a show internationally for the fans in this video. Make sure you watch both dunks because the second dunk where George goes through the legs is downright disgusting. George is just so explosive when he takes off into the air, throwing it down emphatically. George’s through the legs dunk is just another example of why he is the most athletic player in the league.
11. Windmill Fast Break
JUST DON’T LET IT HAPPEN! Don’t let this man have a free lane to the basket because it just results in bad news if you’re the opposing team. George takes the steal and sees nothing but the basket in front of him. What makes George a fan favorite is he looks to entertain the fans whenever possible. He got a chance to get on the SportsCenter Top 10 and he took advantage of it in a big way.
10. Paul George over Dwight Howard
George sees another opportunity to go after a superstar and embarrass them and doesn’t back down from the challenge. I don’t care that the whistle blew and Howard didn’t give his best effort to block the shot. Even if Dwight decided to try and get in George’s way, he would have been posterized. Howard made the smart move to avoid embarrassment and not contest PG after the whistle.
9. Alley-oop reverse dunk vs. Thunder
This play shows how hard George works to get open and give his teammates an easy pass to make. George escapes Kevin Durant and perfectly rubs off the pick, making it impossible for Durant to get in-between him and the screen-setter. The perfectly run play results in an easy lob and an acrobatic dunk that George makes look way too easy.
8. Reverse slam vs. New Jersey
On this dunk, George beats everyone down the floor and Lance Stephenson hits him with a lead pass that results in a monstrous reverse slam. George takes a risk here as two defenders are breathing down his neck. PG, of course, wasn’t worried about the defenders trying to contest his shot, instead he decided to fly into the air and slam this reverse dunk. These dunks aren’t easy to do in a game and with no defenders in the dunk contest, I expect him to throw down some dunks with authority.
7. Windmill vs. New Orleans Hornets
George in 2012 wasn’t a superstar. Actually most people weren’t aware that George had the skill-set to be a star in the league at this point in his career. When I saw this dunk for the first time, I thought it was Jason Richardson flying through the air, throwing down his famous windmill dunk. George did this windmill dunk during a game though and it was impressive. George threw it down with authority and proved that he could jump out of the gym.
6. Game 2 series tone-setter
Yes, this dunk by PG let the defending champs know that the Pacers should not be taken lightly. George burns by King James and then sends Birdman a message that he will not be stopped when coming down the lane. This dunk wasn’t just big for momentum in this particular game; this was momentum in the series. George put the Heat on their heals after this dunk and set the tone for what would be a tough, physical seven-game series to advance to the NBA Finals.
5. Game 6 throwdown over Chris Bosh
PG made a statement in Game 2 after throwing it down over Chris “Birdman” Andersen, but this dunk over Chris Bosh was even better. George and the Pacers needed a victory to avoid losing the series and this dunk set the tone in Game 6. George had his best game of the series, leading the team with 28 points that night. Bosh isn’t an excellent defender, but this dunk from George was just what Indiana needed to show Miami it wouldn’t go home easily. This dunk even resulted in a reaction from LeBron James. If James wasn’t too scared to compete in the Slam Dunk Contest, he could show George who is king.
4. Over Hibbert and West in Slam Dunk Contest
George opened up the dunk contest leaping over 7-2 Roy Hibbert and 6-9 David West to throw it down. This was impressive and I think exceeded Blake Griffin jumping over the hood of a car in his big showing in the dunk contest. George uses his hand to push off Hibbert a little bit but leaps into the air and almost clears Hibbert’s head. I thought this was the best dunk in that year’s dunk contest but it didn’t help result in a PG victory.
3. Glow in the dark
This dunk was cool for the simple fact that it was different. Many players don’t participate in the dunk contest because they can’t think of new ways to be creative and create new moves. George decided to grab everyone’s attention in the arena by turning out the lights and letting them watch him glow in the dark and soar through the air for this slam. This dunk didn’t lead to PG winning either but his creative thoughts have me wondering what he will pull out of his hat in this year’s contest.
2. In-game 360 windmill
This dunk had all NBA fans and players in awe. George gets a fast break and shows us his best Vince Carter impersonation by doing a 360 in the air and finishing with a huge slam. This was definitely a dunk that got Blake Griffin‘s attention, who happened to be on the opposing team that night. This dunk swallowed up social media and had people talking about it for weeks. Everyone knew George was an athletic freak but to pull off that dunk in a game was sensational. This will be, without a doubt, the dunk of the year in the NBA and will be hard to compete with in the dunk contest.