Reports emerging after Wednesday's loss in Boston indicate that the NBA has finalized its lineup for the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, to be held on the always-fun Saturday night on All-Star weekend. While no official announcement has been made, several reports indicate that Andre Drummond, along with Denver's Will Barton, Orlando's Aaron Gordon, and defending champion Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves, have been invited to participate.
Sources: Zach Lavine, Andre Drummond, Will Barton and Aaron Gordon to participate in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest https://t.co/HyB3g4NCiF— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 4, 2016
LaVine is the only player with experience in the format in this lineup, beating out Giannis Antetokounmpo, Victor Oladipo and Mason Plumlee last year for a relatively easy victory in Brooklyn. His Space Jam themed entrance and high-flying theatrics won the fans and judges over, but he may be judged against that performance this year, which will be hard to improve upon.
Barton, a second round pick of the Trailblazers back in 2012, has really blossomed in Denver this season, emerging as a legitimate sixth man of the year candidate. He is wiry in build, only weighing around 175 pounds, but he has explosive ability and long arms and can really give LaVine a run for his money.
Aaron Gordon was the 4th pick in 2014 of the Orlando Magic, and while his play has suggested that maybe he was drafted too high considering those below him, he is still an exceptional athlete and has a number of high profile dunks to his name in his short career.
Andre is the underdog in this event due to big men not having a positive track record in the dunk contest. That's not to say he isn't an amazing athlete and dunker, but his creativity may be limited due to his size and handling ability, plus the fact that he doesn't have to jump as high will make it harder to impress.
Who would you like to see in the dunk contest? Comment below.