Dunk Contest Dime
What dunk would you want to see. Plus, five games to watch.
by Doobie Okon
When I think of All-Star Weekend, the one event that truly excites me is the Dunk Contest. No offense to the the All-Star Game–which is too far from a real basketball game to be considered meaningful–but the Dunk Contest always offers at least one or two memorable throwdowns, even in years when the overall competition is weak. Many people think the event’s grown stale since there’s only so much creativity an individual can come up with while slamming the rock, and I get that. In light of this, here are five dunks I’ve come up with that would be guaranteed 50’s and have never been attempted before (I think). Obviously I tried to stay away from anything too ridiculous or impossibly difficult, but these should be feasible:
1 ) The CrossBoard
How it’s executed: The dunker has a ball in each hand. As he’s running up to the basket, he throws the ball in his right hand off the backboard, and then immediately throws the ball in his left off the backboard. He needs to throw the first ball low and second ball high so they don’t hit each other, but he then has to catch the first ball with his left hand (threw it with his right) and the second ball with his right hand (threw it with his left) and dunk them one after another. A bang bang double dunk.
Ideal Dunker: Dwight Howard. He’s got huge hands, which is important since the dunker has to catch each ball with one hand. Howard also possesses incredible height to his jump and the dunker’s going to need to stay in the air for a while to complete this difficult attempt.
2 ) The Post-Script Windmill
How it’s executed: The dunker goes up for a big one-handed windmill and he grabs the rim as he throws it down….while hanging onto the rim with that hand, he catches the ball as it goes through the bottom of the net and windmills it with the other hand. The dunker finishes with both hands clutching the rim.
A possible variation: Instead of catching the ball at the net, he needs to dunk it so hard the first time that it bounces off the floor back to this other hand and then windmills it. This would probably be much harder.
Ideal Dunker: Vince Carter. He has the arm strength to hold onto the rim long enough. See the 2000 elbow dunk.
3 ) The Precision
How it’s executed: The dunker starts on the opposite baseline. He has a teammate or passer standing 10-15 rows behind the backboard. The following is just an art of precision timing. The dunker takes off at full speed and as he’s crossing halfcourt, his teammate will need to throw a perfect pass over the backboard so that the dunker can jump from just inside the free throw line and throw it down.
This is the type of dunk if attempted too many times, it’ll lose it’s edge. If executed on the first try, fireworks.
Ideal Combo: LeBron James would actually be perfect for either role since he’s a tall, phenomenal passer. I’d love to see him dish it to Josh Smith. Both could be the dunker since they are tall and fast so they can catch up to the pass and have the prowess to finish the dunk with authority.
4 ) “Cheeeeeeeeese”
How it’s executed: A teammate is sitting on a ladder to the side of the basket. The dunker goes up for an attempt, and as he’s in mid-air, the teammate whips out a polaroid. The dunker needs to turn his upper body so that he’s fully facing the camera and can make a hilarious face/pose (maybe the Heisman?) at the height of his jump before dunking the ball . Obviously, the picture needs to come out clearly and fully capture the dunker’s pose in order to receive a perfect score.
Ideal Dunker: Someone with a personality. Shaq, LeBron, Nate, Birdman…any others?
5 ) 720
How it’s executed: If you can’t figure it out, stop reading now. No. Really.
I didn’t come up with this as the 720 dunk is well known, but could you imagine seeing one in the NBA Dunk Contest? The roof would come down.
Ideal Dunker: I can’t imagine who in the League could actually do this and make it look pretty and powerful, but I’ll go with Jason Richardson.
Feel free to comment and make up your own dunks you’d want to see…easier said than done, though.
Let’s finish off the Dime with some games:
6 ) Mavericks at Thunder: Tues, 2/16, 8:00 (ET)
When the NFL season was coming to a close, I found myself rooting for the Houston Texans to make the postseason for the first time in their franchise history. I have nothing against them, and they possess a young, exciting offense to watch. So why not?
That’s how I feel about the Oklahoma City Thunder this year, only they seem poised to actually clinch a Playoff spot which the Texans fell short of. There’s still a lot of season left, and the Thunder (30-21) are only one game ahead of Portland, currently the 8th seed, but Kevin Durant is playing out of his mind and there’s no reason to think that will stop. Durant goes into All-Star Weekend riding a streak of 25 straight games with at least 25 points, only the third player in history to accomplish that feat (Iverson and Jordan), but moreover he is leading his team to victories. And they are quality victories at that, as Oklahoma City’s current six game winning streak includes W’s against Denver, Atlanta, New Orleans, Portland and the high-octane Warriors, twice.
The Southwest-leading Mavericks beat the Thunder, 99-98, on January 15th at American Airlines Center, despite 30 points and 13 boards from Durant. So it’s obvious that Oklahoma City is for real, because they’re competing night in and night out against the best teams in the league. The Mavs have gone cold since that matchup, winning only two of their last seven games (both against Golden State), but are fortunate since the rest of the division hasn’t taken advantage. Dallas goes into the break following an embarrassing 36-point loss to the Nuggets, so they’ll probably come out fired up for their first game following All-Star Weekend.
Prediction: Go with the hot hand. I’ll take Durant and his Thunder by 8.
7 ) Nuggets at Cavaliers: Thurs, 2/18, 8:00(ET), National TV: TNT
With ‘Melo now healthy, this is a fantastic game between two of the NBA’s best. Whenever Anthony, Kobe, LeBron, Wade or Durant go up against each other, it’s always fun to watch but my favorite will always be LeBron-‘Melo. Anthony looked like he was a serious candidate for MVP in December, and still could be, but his injury combined with LeBron’s phenomenal season really hurt Melo’s chances. That being said, both teams are playing very well, especially the Cavs who have cemented their title as the best team in the East this season.
Cleveland is on a 12 game winning streak and have only lost thrice since 2010 began, but one of those losses came in Denver back on January 8th when Anthony wasn’t even playing. LeBron has historically struggled a bit when playing the Nuggets, winning only four in 13 career games against Denver, so LeBron will certainly come out firing at home to even the season series. The Nuggets held their own in Anthony’s 8-game absence, going 5-3 in that stretch, and then proceeded to blow out the Mavericks, 127-91, when Carmelo returned to the lineup on Tuesday. Denver and Cleveland have been two of the most consistent teams all year, so this should be an exciting showdown.
Prediction: I want to say Denver, but going against the Cavs at home, where they are 23-3, is just stupid. Cleveland by 4.
8 ) Celtics at Lakers: Thurs, 2/18, 10:30 (ET), National TV: TNT
What a Thursday night for TNT. There’s a good chance the four teams playing on national TV this night will be the last four standing in the playoffs as well.
Like the Cavs, the Lakers (41-13) are sitting pretty atop their conference with a five game lead on the second-place Nuggets, and they just spanked the red-hot Jazz in Utah without Kobe. So, its safe to say the Lakers should coast the rest of the way.
Boston, on the other hand, is in serious trouble. I watched the entire Celts-Magic game, and Boston looked tired and sluggish after an early big lead, especially in the third quarter where they were outscored 36-11 in front of their own fans. Garnett is just not the same since the knee injury and Ray Allen has struggled this year overall, only putting up 16 a night while shooting a career low 33.8% from beyond the arc. The team is 8-13 in their last 21 games but Danny Ainge insists that he will not blow the team up. Trading Allen or Big Baby might help in my opinion, but either way Boston has a tough stretch ahead. Following the All-Star break, they immediately go on the road for four straight against the Kings, Lakers, Blazers and Nuggets and they lead Toronto by a mere four games for the Atlantic. This will be a huge game and road trip for the C’s.
Prediction: Too tough for the Celtics. Lakers by 9.
9 ) Hawks at Suns: Fri, 2/19, 9:00 (ET)
Who knows what the Phoenix Suns will look like when the Hawks come to town. Amar’e’s name is really heating up on the trading block, and although the Suns have played better recently, I don’t see them making a run for the title. Trading Stoudemire for high value and other expiring contracts is the smart move instead of letting him walk this summer, but that could seriously damage their current season as well. Phoenix is in a tough spot.
The Hawks continue to play well despite a thorough beating at the hands of the Heat on Wednesday, where they were without Jamal Crawford. However, the Magic have taken back control of the division after their recent 10-2 surge, so Atlanta will need to come out of the break on fire if they want to stay in the race for the division and the second seed.
Prediction: Atlanta gets the road victory.
10 ) Mavericks at Magic: Fri, 2/19, 8:00 (ET)
Before February is over, the Mavs will have to play the Thunder, Suns, Magic, Lakers and Hawks. Tough stretch for a team that is only in first because the rest of division has performed equally poor the last two weeks. Dallas is another team that could look very different after the February 18th trade deadline, so the rest of the month should give us an idea of how good this team really is.
Orlando, meanwhile, is finally playing up to expectations after starting off 2010 with a 3-7 record. It seems that Vince Carter has put his horrible month of January behind him, as he’s shooting 53.7% in February so far, up from 28.4% last month. The Magic needed all of Carter’s 48 points to secure a 123-117 victory against the Hornets on Monday, and it was the first time since January 15th that Orlando allowed 100 points to an opposing team. Dwight is still shooting the ball at a 60% clip and has 14 straight double-doubles, but it’s his anchor defense that makes this team special.
Prediction: Mavs stun the Magic on the road behind a huge game from Dirk. Dallas by 3.