February 17, 2014

Dunk off disaster

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

While many could agree that the NBA’s slam dunk competition needed a little bit of a makeover after going stale in recent years, what happened this year was a huge step in the wrong direction.

It went so poorly that in the individual rounds, we only saw six total dunks. This came after a freestyle round which saw some dunks that were average in dunk-off terms, with the exception of Damian Lillard’s two efforts.

Is that what we want from this once-hallowed event?

Also hurting the competition was the fact that there was no real way to decide who was crowned champion. Thanks to the awkward East vs. West format, we had one conference with the three best dunkers walk sweep the matchup round and end the whole thing earlier than I’m sure organizers envisioned.

Why couldn’t we go to another round and have the three East dunkers face each other for the title of dunk competition king? Instead, the only King we saw was Sacramento’s Ben McLemore crowning himself after dunking over a throne in a very average slam.

We didn’t even get the chance to see the usual “10” paper cards that we’ve come so accustomed to, instead having the judges hold up tablets with either East or West on it. What a bummer.

After watching the freestyle portion of the contest, I actually thought that Lillard wasted a few good dunks. In retrospect, it turns out that he wouldn’t have been able to use them anyways thanks the to the brevity of the event.

That’s a problem too: We should never have guys leaving dunks on the table.

We’ll never know what these guys had up their sleeves for their second or third attempts. Like, what was Drake still doing sitting with Terrence Ross after assisting on the first jam?

After all the tweaks this year, there is bound to be more next year. After all, we can’t have these guys doing six dunks maximum, including some throwaways in the crummy freestyle round.

We want to see the best dunks. We want to see some props and celebrities involved – it adds to the excitement of the event.

Whether the NBA goes back to basics next season is a real question. And perhaps that’s the biggest question other than what the hell that mascot John Wall used in his dunk was.

Was it the cousin of the Greendale Human Being? We’ll never know, but thing was bound to be in some children’s nightmares.

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