There’s probably more star power this season to the All-Star Slam Dunk competition, with defending champion Terrence Ross joined by All-Star players like Paul George, Damian Lillard and John Wall, with Harrison Barnes and Ben McLemore completing the field of six.
There’s a change, quite a big one, to this year’s competition, with a more conference vs conference look and a separate “freestyle” and “battle” round. All members of the winning conference will be considered “Slam Dunk Contest champions,” and the fan vote will determine a “Dunker of the Night.”
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors – Barnes is only 89th in the NBA this season with 20 dunks, but it’s about the quality, not the quantity. He’s averaging 10 points per game in his second season.
Paul George, Indiana Pacers – George took part in the 2012 competition, finishing third with 24% of the votes. He is 19th in the league with 48 dunks so far this season, and is averaging 22.7 points per game.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers – Lillard has only 8 recorded dunks this season according to Basketball-reference, but they’re usually worth watching. He’s averaging 20.6 points per game.
Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings – It hasn’t been the best of rookie seasons for McLemore, but he is 82nd in the number of dunks with 21, while averaging 7.7 points per game.
Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors – Ross is the defending champion, beating Jeremy Evans in the final last year. He is 108th in the NBA with 16 dunks so far this season, averaging 10.2 points per game.
John Wall, Washington Wizards – Wall making his first appearance in the competition and is 75th in the NBA with 24 dunks so far this season. He’s averaging 20 points a game.
For the Pro’s and Con’s of the new concept, check out Ben Golliver’s excellent article about it.