For a very long time, the NBA has been about who has the better athletes. From Bill Russell to Wilt Chamberlain to Oscar Robertson to LeBron James, the better athletes have always been the best players in the league.
Over time, that athleticism has stretched from position to position. Normally, you’d see the better athletes playing wing positions. But throughout the history of the league, the better athletes started becoming smaller and smaller.
This is a list of the 20 best little man/point guard dunkers in NBA history. All of these guys are guards and every one of them have dunked on someone at some point. Whether the dunk was in game, in a dunk contest, a finesse dunk or a dunk filled with power, all of these guys have been there and done that. You can see our top 20 below…
This cat can get up — he was doing windmills in-game when he was playing overseas. Ask Tyson Chandler, who got crowned a few years back on one of the most ruthless lil’ man dunks you’ll ever see. Bynum jumps like a jackrabbit who just comes out nowhere. You don’t expect it. You can’t plan for it. You probably won’t survive it.
We had a few other names thrown out for honorable mentions, but let’s face it Darrell Armstrong and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, if you end up at No. 1 and 2 on this video, you probably can’t make it into this list.
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20. DERON WILLIAMS
Deron Williams, like Rajon Rondo, doesn’t really dunk anymore. After his wrist injury that he sustained in 2010 when he was traded to the New Jersey Nets, he just doesn’t take too many chances when it comes to dunking. Still, he was one of the better point guard dunkers in his Utah Jazz days. Williams glided through the air and covered a lot of ground after takeoff. He doesn’t have the look of a dunker, but he’s a very good one. If he dunked more, he’d be much higher than 20 on this list.
19. SMUSH PARKER
Smush Parker isn’t known for being a good NBA player, but I’m here to tell you that he was a very good dunker. His dunks were pretty smooth with a touch of force on them. No one really talks about Smush other than him being the guy that gave the ball to Kobe and got out of the way, but in his short career he was a very good dunker.
18. RAJON RONDO
Rajon Rondo doesn’t really dunk anymore like he used to. In the 2011-12 season, Rondo didn’t dunk the ball one time. But in the early stages of his career, Rondo jumped out of the gym. If he dunked more, he’d likely be in the top 10 part of this list. Ask Jason Maxiell whether or not Rondo can dunk. I’d bet you’d get a solid answer out of him.
17. JEFF TEAGUE
Jeff Teague really came into his own as a point guard this past season, but he’s always been a great athlete. Teague could jump out of the gym even in his Wake Forest days. He always has that sleepy look on his face, but if he has a clear path to the basket he’s going to bang on your head. Watch out.
16. STEPHON MARBURY
Stephon Marbury wasn’t known as a huge dunker, but when he did dunk he got over the rim. While he was one of the greatest little guys to ever lace ’em up, sadly, he was a more traditional point guard when it came to finishing at the rim. Marbury could throw down reverses, windmills and even catch lobs. He was a great dunker and you probably didn’t even know it.
15. ISIAH THOMAS
Isiah Thomas is a two-time NBA champion and one of the best point guards of all time. But what if I told you he was one of the best dunkers as a point guard too? Thomas was adept at put-back dunking like a big man. He’d often climb over the trees and slam the ball home.
14. KENNY SMITH
Kenny Smith is better known for being a shooter and not a dunker. However, Smith had a lot of bounce in his prime. He participated in the dunk contest in college and early in his career once he made the league. His best dunk was catching a self-oop off of the bounce and then slamming it in.
13. DEE BROWN
Dee Brown is one of the more underrated dunkers in NBA history. He is best known for his no-look dunk in the 1991 dunk contest, but Brown also had plenty of no-look dunks to go along with that one. Brown had so much bounce that he’s still dunking today. Not too long ago, he strapped on the Reebok Pumps and dunked for a crowd in Rucker Park. In his prime, he was one of the best dunkers we’ve ever seen.
12. PENNY HARDAWAY
Penny Hardaway was one of the better point guards in the league before he was plagued by injury. He stood at 6-7, was a phenomenal passer and, to top it all off, could jump out of the gym. He was very good at reverses before he stopped dunking. He was also good at dunking on people. He’s dunked on guys like Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing and Sam Mitchell — a pretty good list if you ask me.
11. ALLEN IVERSON
Allen Iverson is one of the better scorers in NBA history but he isn’t really known for his dunking ability. I’m here to tell you that Iverson is one of the better leapers who are 6-0 and under. Some of my favorite dunks from him were his put-backs. He’d use his phenomenal leaping ability to rise up above the trees and slam it down.
10. ERIC BLEDSOE
From one Kentucky Wildcat to another, Eric Bledsoe has just as much athletic ability as John Wall. After making an appearance in this past year’s Slam Dunk Contest, Bledsoe is known around the nation as a great dunker. At only 6-0, Bledsoe is capable of doing 360s, tomahawks and anything else that comes to mind.
9. JOHN WALL
John Wall is poised to have a breakout year this season in his fourth year with the Washington Wizards. Wall hasn’t been seen too much on the national level, but it doesn’t take much to see that he’s a spectacular athlete and a phenomenal dunker. Wall’s most spectacular dunk has got to be his dunk in the Rising Stars Challenge where he gets enough hang time to go behind his back and dunk the ball.
8. NATE ROBINSON
Nate Robinson, like Spud Webb, was hard to place because of his lack of in-game dunks. However, becoming the first three-time Slam Dunk champion is going to land you on this list automatically. Nate is a show-stopper when it comes to the dunk contest. My favorite dunk of his is when he caught an alley-oop from Spud Webb as he went over him. It was as if Webb was passing the torch to Robinson.
7. KEVIN JOHNSON
Kevin Johnson is not only one of the most underrated dunkers in NBA history, but he’s also one of the most underrated players in NBA history. Known more as Charles Barkley‘s sidekick on the mid-90s Phoenix Suns, Johnson was quite the banger himself. Johnson is known best for dunking on Hakeem Olajuwon during the 1994 Playoffs.
6. BARON DAVIS
Baron Davis in his prime was the predecessor to Russell Westbrook. He had the athleticism and speed to get up and down the floor like a mad man. His dunks were ferocious and fast. So fast, in fact, that he was able to dunk on Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal and Andrei Kirilenko — some of the better defenders of the modern era.
5. SPUD WEBB
It was very hard to place Spud Webb on this list. Not because he doesn’t deserve to be on it — he certainly does. But he wasn’t a true in-game dunker. However, I don’t think that he should be penalized for that. At only 5-7, he bested his own teammate and extraordinary dunker, Dominique Wilkins, in the 1986 dunk contest. He gave all little ballers hope that they could dunk among the bigs someday.
4. DERRICK ROSE
Derrick Rose may be the ultimate finesse dunker and has some of the sickest finishes you’ll ever see. All of his dunks have a smooth, silky motion to them before they finish with force. Rose is a guy who isn’t going to dunk on you… instead he gets high enough to dunk over you and around you. If you ask me, that’s a pretty impressive feat in itself. But don’t take my word for it. Maybe we should ask Goran Dragic.
3. ROBERT PACK
Speaking of ferocious dunkers, did anyone say Pacman? Robert Pack is also one of the most ferocious dunkers that we’ve seen in NBA history. Pack had much more creativity than Westbrook but he combined that creativity with force. The only reason that he isn’t above Westbrook here is because Westbrook gets a bit higher than Pacman. Still, at 6-2, Pack was one of the better dunkers in NBA history.
2. RUSSELL WESTBROOK
Russell Westbrook is the most barbaric dunker that I’ve ever seen. It feels like he never puts any creativity into his dunks, but they’re always ferocious and can strike fear into the opposition. If you see Westbrook coming at you with a clear path, you better get out of the way. He’ll throw it down over your head and put you on a poster without a doubt.
1. STEVE FRANCIS
“Stevie Franchise”, as many people call him, is the best little man dunker that we’ve ever seen. Whether the dunks were in game or in a dunk contest, Francis had an entire dunk repertoire. Whether it be the reverse double pump, tomahawk slam, or the statue of liberty, Francis could do it all. Even though he bounced from team to team by the end of his career, he never lost his bounce. And a little tidbitâ€”if not for the greatness of Vince Carter, Francis would have a dunk contest trophy of his own to solidify his place at the top of this list.
Who is the most underrated point guard dunker you’ve ever seen?
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