NBA Slam Dunk Contest 2019: Participants, Odds and Predictions
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A first-time winner of the Slam Dunk Contest will be crowned Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The champion of the dunking showcase at Spectrum Center will join Glenn Robinson III and Donovan Mitchell as the third first-time Slam Dunk Contest champion in the last three seasons.
Dennis Smith Jr., who finished third a year ago, returns for his second participation in the event, while Miles Bridges, John Collins and Hamidou Diallo are first-time entrants into the famous skills showcase that is a part of NBA All-Star Weekend.
Bridges has the opportunity to achieve a rare feat, as he’s attempting to become the first player to win the Slam Dunk Contest in his home arena since Blake Griffin in Los Angeles in 2011.
Miles Bridges, Charlotte
John Collins, Atlanta
Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City
Dennis Smith Jr., New York
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Familiarity with the Slam Dunk Contest and home-court advantage will be major factors in Saturday’s competition.
Smith, who was recently traded from Dallas to New York, only got off two dunks a year ago before Mitchell and Larry Nance Jr. moved on to the final round.
Smith should come into Charlotte with a good amount of confidence, as he’s scored in double digits in each of his last four games with the Knicks.
In addition to being motivated from last year’s failed attempt to win the Slam Dunk Contest, Smith will be performing in front of familiar faces, as he grew up in North Carolina and attended NC State.
With an improved repertoire and a better understanding of what the judges are looking for, Smith will find a way to marvel the crowd with his dunks to come out on top.
Look for Smith to elevate from close to free-throw line on a few dunk attempts, and with that time in the air, he should be able to twist his body enough or move the ball around enough to wow the judges.
While Smith is more than capable of putting on a show, he’s going to face stiff competition from Bridges, who is looking for a boost to finish his rookie season off strong.
At the moment, Bridges is averaging 6.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game for the Hornets, but he’s been able to deliver a few impressive slams during his time on the court.
With the home crowd fueling him, Bridges will come close to becoming the fourth player to win the Slam Dunk Contest in his home arena.
Bridges should be able to use his length as an asset in the contest, as he gets above the rim while delivering powerful dunks, like he has during his rookie season.
The combination of height, power and whatever tricks Bridges has up his sleeve should propel him into the final round.
Before Griffin won at the Staples Center in 2011, Michael Jordan in 1988 and Isaiah Rider in 1994 were the only players to record that achievement.
Collins and Diallo will be able to get the crowd out of their seats, but they won’t have enough power and creativity to beat the highly-motivated pair of Smith and Bridges to reach the final.
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Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.
via Bleacher Report – NBA http://bit.ly/2gMI6gF
February 12, 2019 at 07:05AM