No star power, not really interesting. There’s a problem with what used to be the signature moment of the All-Star weekend, but is now stretching a concept that seems to have gone quite boring and stale in recent years. People like Terrence Ross and Jeremy Evans, but aren’t that interested in seeing them battle for the Slam Dunk Contest crown.
Yes, Ross dunked over a kid while putting the ball between his legs. Jeremy Evans jumped over a sitting Mark Eaton, while Eaton was holding the ball for Evans to grab midair, messing it up on the first attempt. Nice ideas, probably technically difficult, but nothing that really caused any gasps and standing ovations among the fans.
And this weekend is about the fans. This has nothing to do with Ross and Evans as players. They’re nice, legitamte NBA players, but not stars. Gerald Green has a bit of dazzle to him in the dunk contest, but he usually pulls off better in games. Same goes for Kenneth Faried, who seemed to waste all of his energy in the Rising Stars Challenge. We were left with a guy from the Toronto Raptors who averages 6.4 points per game. Evans, playing for the Jazz, is averaging 5.4 minutes a night. He’s someone that even some basketball experts don’t have much to say about.
When Blake Griffin jumped over a car, it wasn’t the most difficult dunk that night. Both DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka pulled off better. So did JaVale McGee. But Blake Griffin was a star, acting like a star in a competition this is much more about the show than the technical difficulty. It’s about an aerial duel, and about wielding the fans’ attention and love. Without getting notable faces to show up and to use some creativity along with some flair and razzle dazzle, the day of packing up the Slam Dunk competition for something else (one on one?) isn’t too far away.