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How I would have judged the 2011 NBA Dunk Contest February 21, 2011

Posted by pacejmiller in Basketball, NBA, Sport.
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Source: theprovince.com

By now everyone knows that Blake Griffin won the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.  But did he deserve to win it over the likes of JaVale McGee, DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka, each of whom threw down some excellent dunks of their own?

Here’s how I would have judged each dunk from the the dunk comp yesterday.

(to read on and see each dunk, click on ‘more…’)

[Note: 4 contestants, 2 dunks each in first round, judged by panel of 5 judges (Clyde Drexler, James Worthy, Brent Barry, Dominique Wilkins, Julius Erving) who can give a score of up to 10 for each dunk.  2 top contestants make it through to second round, 2 dunks each, fan voting decides winner.]

DeMar DeRozan (Coach: Darryl Dawkins)

Round 1 Dunk 1 — Off the backboard support, catch in mid-air, through the legs, one handed slam. (East Bay Funk remix)

Judges’ score: 44
My score: 47

Comments: Got robbed here.  Not sure if it was because he took so long to get going or because he was the first contestant — either way, that was a pretty nasty dunk that deserved more than 44, the lowest score of the evening.

Round 1 Dunk 2 — Reverse, to-himself alley-oop windmill. (Show Stopper)

Judges’ score: 50
My score: 50

Comments: Possibly the best pure dunk of the evening (ie one that didn’t rely on props or gimmicks).  Amazing and a deserving 50.

Serge Ibaka (Coach: Kevin Durant)

Round 1 Dunk 1 — Free throw line dunk.

Judges’ score: 45
My score: 48

Comments: The days where a free throw line dunk can guarantee you a dunk comp win are long gone, but anyone who has played basketball before knows just how hard it is to jump that far, so I reckon it’s still special, especially when you see it from a 7 footer.  More importantly, he took off with his entire foot from behind the free throw line, something Dr J, Jordan or Brent Barry couldn’t do.

Round 1 Dunk 2 — attached a soft toy to the rim, ran from behind the base line, ferocious dunk while retrieving the toy with his teeth.

Judge’s score: 45
My score: 48

Comments: Robbed again.  Bonus marks for creativity and presentation.  The dunk itself was pretty good, but I don’t think a lot of people appreciated just how hard it is to snatch something that high up in the air with your teeth while throwing down a vicious jam.

JaVale McGee (Coach: Chris Webber)

Round 1 Dunk 1 — brought in a second backboard/hoop right next to the first and dunked on both with two balls using separate hands, one of which was an off the backboard alley-oop to himself.

Judges’ score: 50
My score: 50

Comment: Are you kidding me?  Only someone with arms that long could have accomplished something this ridiculous.  A well-deserved 50.

Round 1 Dunk 2 — dunked three balls — the first two with one in each hand, then the third one off an alley-oop from a teammate.

Judges’ score: 49
My score: 50

Comment: Maybe they didn’t want to give him a perfect first round, but if that is not a 50 dunk, then I don’t know what is.

Round 2 Dunk 1 — jumped from one baseline to another, twisting the body and curling the ball around it, dunking it through while the body was moving away from the basket.

Judges’ score: N/A (fan voting)
My score:
49

Comment: Probably the second best pure dunk of the night after DeRozan’s (some may say this was even better).  Sick move, but the fact that he’s 7 feet tall didn’t do him any favours.  Probably should have given him a 50 for it, but I stand by my initial instinct.

Round 2 Dunk 2 — off the glass, one-handed alley-oop.

Judges’ score: N/A (fan voting)
My score:
44

Comment: He left his least impressive dunk of the night until the end, probably when he realised that there was nothing he could do that would give him the victory because they were in LA and Blake Griffin’s name was already inscribed on the trophy.

Blake Griffin (Coach: Kenny Smith)

Round 1 Dunk 1 — two handed 360 degree dunk with the ball pulled back behind his head.

Judges’ score: 49
My score: 48

Comment: Very impressive dunk, but you’re telling me that’s as good as McGee dunking three balls in quick succession?

Round 2 Dunk 2 — windmill alley oop off the side of the backboard support.

Judges’ score: 46
My score: 46

Comment: Judges got that right, which means they got it wrong for DeRozan’s dunk (which only got a 44).

Round 2 Dunk 1 — alley-oop to self off glass, arm through the rim dunk (ala Vince Carter).

Judges’ score: N/A (fan voting)
My score: 49

Comment: Couldn’t quite bring myself to give him a 50 for that, as impressive as it was.  Yes, he is 6’10”, but he got more arm over the rim than Carter, it was an alley-oop, and plus he threw it down with some much force he got a welt from the impact.

Round 2 Dunk 2 — dunked over hood of car after catching an alley-oop pass from Baron Davis through the car’s sun roof (plus gospel choir singing in the background).

Judges’ score: N/A (fan voting)
My score: 46

Comment: I guess you could look at this dunk in two ways.  One — a spectacular, more-difficult-than-it-looks dunk that brought dunk contest props to a new level.  Dunking over the hood of a car is not as impressive as the top of the car, but it’s still very hard and actually rather dangerous.  To have Baron pass him the ball from the sun roof was also quite clever.  Two — overrated dunk because he didn’t have to jump as high or far as some of the other dunkers, and the car was merely a gimmick.  When you take away the car, it was just a two-handed alley-oop from close range.  I still thought it was pretty good either way.

Final Thoughts: So there you have it.  If the dunk contest were up to me, McGee (100) and DeRozan (97) would have been battling it out in the final instead of McGee and Griffin.  In fact, Griffin would have had the lowest score (94) behind Ibaka (96).  But once the finalists were set, I think Griffin had the better dunks overall in the second round, primarily because McGee didn’t give us much with his final dunk (with the outcome already decided).

 

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