NBA Dunk Contest: something needs to be done fast

by Andrew Kennedy

I missed the dunk contest for the first time since I remember dunk contests but I guess I didn’t miss much. Everyone has a fix for All-Star Weekend and how to make the dunk contest more relevant so here’s three options I feel the NBA should entertain:

1. Star Power

This is a pretty obvious one but it is the most important. Nothing would be more entertaining than a LeBron-Wade showdown in the dunk contest final.

That’s a fact.

They would both be spectacular in the contest but it wouldn’t even really matter. With lesser-name guys it’s all about the dunk and how crazy it is and it’s originality.

That wouldn’t matter nearly as much if the stars competed in the contest. It would just be about which star had the better dunk. If LeBron brought back some dunks that Michael did in the 80’s, we would be fine with it. But when a guy like DeMar DeRozan does it, we’re pissed because we’ve seen it already.

And I don’t want to hear any kind of excuse about it affecting the player’s games and that’s why they aren’t competing in the dunk contest. This isn’t the Home Run Derby where you’re going to start swinging from the fences a little more for the second half of the season.

I mean, it’s not like Dwyane Wade will have the ball at the end of the game and accidentally try a between-the-legs dunk because he’s fresh off a dunk contest. I would understand if it was a half-court shooting contest but I guess that’s why there isn’t one of those.

2. Invite outsiders

This isn’t the 1970’s anymore where it was probably pretty certain that Doctor J was the world’s greatest dunker. Now, there’s plenty of non-NBA players that could give LeBron a run for his money.

Much like there was a dunk-off this year, the NBA could do a similar thing in an attempt to get players from the And 1 Tour or D-League to go against NBA players.

I know I said before that the lesser-name players become less interesting but this would work because the players aren’t in the league.

Anyone who knows dunk contests knows James White. If he were to be in an NBA All-Star Weekend dunk contest I don’t think anyone will be complaining.

3. Give it a theme

Here’s three themes I could see working: Only White Guys, Only Short Guys and Only Over 7-footers.

In a way, they are all flawed but at least it could spark interest and add another element that wasn’t there before.

The dunk contest this year more than anything else was simply something very unoriginal. Something has to be done and it’s no secret to anyone. Make them dunk on a higher rim if you have to.

But if I see someone like Evan Turner taking on Anthony Randolph next year in the final, I won’t be happy and neither will anyone else.

Now on to the actual All-Star game.

It got mixed reviews but I personally liked it because it truly is the best All-Star game in sports. It is 100 percent better than the Pro Bowl. Jason Whitlock said it was going to be just like the Pro Bowl this year on his Twitter page (once the game was over he did admit to being wrong).

Kobe Bryant called it the greatest pick-up game in the world and I think that really sums it up nicely.

This year we had a great finish to a pretty competitive game. We got to see highlight dunks and moves from the game’s best. And then in the end we saw the best players on the court start to play kind of hard with an unfortunate last minute being dominated by fouling.

Here’s a few things I took from the game:

1. If there are odds in Vegas for Kevin Durant winning an All-Star game MVP sometime in his career, take them, whatever they are. There’s no way he won’t in the next five years even with LeBron and Wade still in their primes. He scores so easily and we’ve seen it all year for him with the Thunder but he is just made for these types of games. He’s going to be one fun career to watch all the way through.

2. Thanks for being an idiot Deron Williams and fouling Wade at the end like that. If that doesn’t happen, either Wade or LeBron would get a potential game-winning shot look with no time left on the clock. If they make it, it immediately becomes the greatest All-Star game in my lifetime. In fairness, Deron probably couldn’t find anywhere in the stadium that said how many team fouls they had since a jumbotron bigger than the court was above his head.

3. It would have been nice to see Steve Nash get a few more minutes. Nash had 13 assists in under 20 minutes and could have easily been in the game late if not for George Karl coaching and playing his point guard in the crunch. Chauncey Billups did come through but if you’re the West and going against a trio of LeBron-Wade-Bosh, how do you not counter with constant Nash-Amare pick-and-rolls on the other end. No one’s taking a charge and no one’s stopping an Amare dunk. The West could have won this way and not to mention the final play call going to Carmelo Anthony 30 feet awway from the basket and just expecting him to hit a running three.

4. Chris Bosh is quietly becoming a top three or five big in the league. He had 23 points and 10 boards in the game and was key down the stretch. The East don’t win the game without him.

5. On the topic of bigs, it felt pretty cool seeing Duncan and Garnett go at each other a little bit in this stage of their careers. That must have been like seeing Ewing and Olajuwon do the same a few years ago.

6. I could of used Allen Iverson in the game even though he’s not really an All-Star. Joe Johnson just doesn’t cut it in these games for me.

7. I want LeBron and Wade to play together so bad and I don’t care at all where they do it. If they have to go to Greece and join Josh Childress to make this happen then so be it. They will be so spectacular together that they will rival and probably surpass the Jordan-Pippen duo. I really want to see them both in Chicago next year alongside Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

That’s it for the All-Star game but while we’re on the topic of trades, here’s what I’d love to see happen this year. As much as I love rooting against LeBron and will hate seeing Nash-Amare broken up, if the Cavs land Amare for J.J. Hickson and Big Z (but then get Ilgauskas back after the 30-day waive) and get Jamison in a Shaq trade this could become one scary and dominant team for the ages.

Imagine Mo Williams, LeBron, Jamison, Amare and Big Z as a starting five. That would be incredible and I only want to see it because it would be nuts but I’d still root against them when they played the Magic.

That’s it for tonight. This is turning into more of a weekly blog but I will try to get a few more updates during the week from now on.