All-Stars Paul George, John Wall and Damian Lillard will headline the 2014 NBA Dunk Contest at All-Star Saturday according to SportCenter.
The past few years has seen the dunk contest field some lacklustre lineups as the game’s star players turned down the opportunity to compete in the once star-studded affair.
However, the inclusion of established stars such as this years trio of All-Stars should help breathe some life back into the once superstar-powered contest.
According to SportsCenter, joining the three All-Stars in the field will be defending champion Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors, and rising stars Ben McLemore (Sacramento Kings) and Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), each spectacular high flyers in their own right.
But it is the star power of the All-Stars that will have the fans most excited for this years competition.
George has quickly developed into one of the games’ star players, as a two-way force who can defend just as well as he can light it up on offence. He’s already put together quite an impressive highlight reel this season, and should have learned from his “lights out” let down during his last foray into the Dunk Contest. He should be an early favourite.
The news that Lillard would be participating in the contest leaked yesterday, but that doesn’t make todays announcement less exciting. The young Trail Blazers’ point guard has burst onto the NBA scene in his first two seasons, and while he hasn’t displayed the flair that some of his fellow competitors have, he has shown he has the jumping ability and isn’t afraid to take it to the rim.
Wall’s inclusion comes as somewhat of a surprise after the Washington Wizards star was rumoured to have already turned down an invitation in order to rest a sore heel. However, fans should be salivating at the prospect of the explosive Wall in the contest. If his showing in the Rising Stars challenge is anything to go by, Wall should be one of the competitions most exciting entrants.
Last year’s champion Ross has continued his gravity defying exploits this season. Last year he upset dunk contest veterans Gerald Green and James White with an impressive array of rim wrecking finishes, but if he took home the trophy again this year, no one would be surprised.
Kings’ guard McLemore comes into the competition as the biggest unknown. Perhaps his biggest highlight this season came on the wrong end of a vicious LeBron James slam. But he has shown flashes of his ridiculous athleticism and clearly belongs in the contest.
Whatever the outcome, this year’s contest should be one of the most intriguing in recent years.