We’re midway through the 2017 NBA season, and All-Star Weekend is right around the corner. One of the best weekends in basketball includes the All-Star game, the Rising Star Challenge, the 3-Point Contest, the Skills Challenge and, of course, the Slam Dunk Contest. The league recently released the names of the players who will be competing in that high-flying event, which could end up being just as good as, or even better than, last year’s.
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It was surprisingly that Zach LaVine, the 2-time reigning dunk champion, will not be participating, but there will be some new contestants vying for the title of best dunker in the NBA.
The contestants include Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, Indiana Pacers guard Glenn Robinson III and, the most mysterious entry, Northern Arizona Suns (Phoenix Suns D-League affiliate) forward Derrick Jones Jr.
To get an idea of the talent level of these players, STACK compiled a collection of their best dunks.
Every NBA fan knows about Aaron Gordon, who took second in last year’s dunk contest. The best dunk of the 21-year-old’s career had to be when he jumped over the mascot and took the ball under his legs during the 2016 Slam Dunk Contest.
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The 6-foot-9 high-flyer is averaging a career-high 11.4 points per game this season. It will be fun to see what new dunks he has in store for fans this year.
Jordan will be participating in his first NBA Dunk Contest. This is surprising, since he consistently slams down alley-oop passes from Clippers point guard Chris Paul.
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Jordan will be representing “Lob City,” and people may be shocked to find out how well the 6-foot-11, 265-pound big man can get up. Jordan’s best career dunk was when he absolutely destroyed Detroit Pistons point guard Brandon Knight in 2013.
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Why did Knight jump? The basketball world still doesn’t know.
Glenn Robinson III
Robinson will be the shortest player in this year’s contest. Standing 6-foot-6, the 23-year-old is not yet a household name in the NBA. This is only his third season in the league, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t thrown down some impressive slams throughout his basketball career.
While Robinson was attending the University of Michigan, he pulled off this incredible 360° dunk during a game.
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The Pacers swingman is hoping to grow his fan base with a solid performance. He is playing the most minutes of his career this season (22.3) and is averaging 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
Derrick Jones Jr.
The most intriguing guy in this year’s contest is a rookie who’s played in only three NBA games this season. The 19-year-old plays for the Northern Arizona Suns, the D-League affiliate of the Phoenix Suns.
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If you think Jones Jr. doesn’t deserve to be in the dunk contest, think again. He terrorizes the NBA’s Development League with amazing dunks. He’s so prolific above the rim, it’s hard to pick just one signature dunk for this guy.
The 6-foot-7 forward is averaging 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds a game. Don’t be surprised if you see Jones Jr. hoisting the trophy after the event. They don’t call him “Airplane Mode Jones” for nothing.