That was the worst NBA Slam Dunk Contest finish ever

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

What the heck just happened?

The NBA tried out a new format for the 2014 Slam Dunk Contest, because that's what the NBA does: every few years, it tries to freshen up the ol' dog, teach it some new tricks, pray it gets a jolt of life. But the format changes the NBA made in 2014 came with some nasty unintended consequences and a disastrous result.

The format was this: six contestants split into two teams by conference. There would be a freestyle round in which each team would have 90 seconds to do ... basically whatever they wanted. The only benefit of winning this round, which was judged by a panel, would be choice of going first or second in the battle round.

In the battle round, each East dunker competed against an individual West dunker. The loser is eliminated. The three winners move on to another battle round. The first conference to win three individual battles wins.

Except the East swept the first battle round. So there was no further competition. In the portion of the competition that actually mattered, all six contestants got to show off one dunk each. Even though John Wall finished with a fine dunk and Ben McLemore broke the unintentional comedy scale, the whole thing was disastrously anticlimactic. The TNT broadcast crew seemed confused. Twitter was horribly confused. That was not the end of the Slam Dunk Contest. But it was.

And it was totally avoidable! Instead of putting the Dunker of the Night award in the hands of fans -- who votes for that honor -- the best dunker could have been determined in a final round, no matter what happened. Even if all three East guys advanced. Let Paul George, Terrence Ross and Wall battle each other for the award, with all of the fake drama of the conference war stripped out.

People have long complained about the dunk contest format -- too many misses, guys get tired by the end, it's too slow, etc. But the NBA either dumbly ignored the potential sweep, didn't properly train the judges on tipping the scales toward a longer competition or had the worst luck possible. It was a total disaster.

Good job, guys. The signature moment of All-Star Saturday was Marco Belinelli hitting a string of corner threes. This went well. Let's do it again never.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NBA NEWSLETTER

Get news, links and Ziller's #hottakes in your inbox every weekday morning.

More from SB Nation NBA:

Coverage of Slam Dunk Contest and Saturday festivities

The soul of the Slam Dunk Contest | Meet the All-Stars

Wait, THAT GUY was in the Slam Dunk Contest?

Full schedule of All-Star weekend | The All-Star Game primer

Kevin Love on the move? | NBA trade rumors

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.