2015 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Preview and Predictions to Win
By Adam, NBA Handicapper, Predictem
On Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 8:30pm EST, the 2015 NBA Slam Dunk Contest kicks off at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY for those of you without a date for Valentine’s Day.
This year’s crop of contestants includes Zach LaVine (Minnesota), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee), Victor Oladipo (Orlando), and Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn). According to Bovada, the odds to win are:
Zach LaVine -110
Giannis Antetokounmpo +225
Victor Oladipo +300
Mason Plumlee +700
This year, the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest will be a classic two-round event where each of the four participants can do any dunk they please without time constraints and they will have three chances for each dunk. They must complete two dunks in round 1. There will be five judges who will score every jam on a scale of 6 to 10, resulting in a high score of 50 and a low score of 30. The top two dunkers from round one advance to the second and final round and continue the same format of two dunks, three tries a piece. The player with the highest combined score for his two dunks in the second round will be crowned champion.
This year’s crop of high flyers consists of three second year players and the favorite, Zach LaVine, a 19 year old rookie guard from UCLA, who plays for the Timberwolves. LaVine, who stands at 6’6″, has incredible athleticism and a great vertical jump that has been reported to be as high as 46 inches, according to a Lakers pre-draft workout. He has also showcased his dunking skills in the Summer League. All you have to do is google Seattle Pro-Am to see LaVine’s stylish dunks in action from July of 2014.
My choice to win, however, is Giannis Antetokounmpo, aka the “Greek Freak”. Standing at 6’11”, the Freak has a reported wingspan of 7 feet 4 inches, which will lead to an ability to jump further from the net (think Michael Jordan’s dunk from the free throw line). Giannis is ranked tenth in the NBA with 66 dunks, which ranks him second amongst the four contestants.
Victor Oladipo is 6’4″ 210 pounds, and a smaller body enables more mid-air tricks as the body is more compact than someone like Giannis. He is having a very productive second year for the Orlando Magic and is averaging over 16 points a game. According to his combine results, Oladipo has a 6’9″ wingspan, a 33″ standing vertical leap, and a 42″ maximum vertical leap.
Centers are not usually taken in the Slam Dunk Contest since big men’s dunks usually seem less impressive, but Mason Plumlee hails from the Brooklyn Nets and was probably chosen for that reason alone. He was a controversial pick whose +700 line to win tells us all we need to know. He only has a 36″ maximum vertical leap. However, the 6’11” center leads the group of four in dunks this year with 86, good for fifth in the NBA. He also has some experience in dunking contests when he participated in the 2009 McDonald’s All-American Dunk Contest. During that contest, Plumlee dunked three balls at a time, which is pretty impressive.
So, Zach LaVine probably has the most dunking skills, Giannis has the wingspan to do stuff no one else can do, Oladipo might have the best athletic ability, and Plumlee has his home crowd rooting for him. Take your pick, but it should be a pretty exciting show of up and coming young stars. Bet your pick at one of the most trusted sportsbooks on the net, where your credit card will work for depositing and where you’ll receive a 50% bonus up to $250 in FREE CASH! —> Bovada Sportsbook.