Paul George, John Wall and Damian Lillard headline a 2014 Slam Dunk Contest field that will compete at All-Star weekend, ESPN's Marc Stein reports. That All-Star group will be joined by reigning champion Terrence Ross, Harrison Barnes and rookie Ben McLemore.
What will each bring to the table?
Paul George, Indiana Pacers
For Paul George to throw down a 360 windmill during a game means two things. For one, he'll take risks. For another, he's a damn good dunker. That should make for an enthralling competition. George happens to be one of the longer dunkers in the 2014 contest considering there aren't any big men, and he's arguably the smoothest athlete in this group. He's also experienced, having competed in the event in 2012.
Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors
Ross won the 2013 Slam Dunk Contest as a rookie, and it's pretty clear why. The Raptors shooting guard came prepared, and he's apparently doing the same this year. This offseason, Ross has been working with Team Flight Brothers, slam dunk specialists who have made dunking across the world their careers. They're apparently coaching Ross up to take the dunk contest for the second year in a row.
John Wall, Washington Wizards
Wall brings all the best parts of a dunker together. He's not quite the size of a wing, which makes his dunks more impressive, yet he has the length to do a lot in the air and still finish. He's explosive and combined with his speed, it makes for some violent slams. The Wizards point guard has been a very good in-game dunker who has put it on people's heads when they challenge him, and his fluidity -- just looking at his YouTube videos you can tell he can go off either foot -- makes him a fine choice.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Lillard is in for quite the busy weekend as a participant of the Rising Stars Challenge and the All-Star Game. It's possible he also competes in the three-point contest, and he'll defend his Skills Challenge title as well. In the dunk contest, he's getting into Nate Robinson territory because of his size. He doesn't dunk often, but in a season and a half he's already compiled a couple poster-worthy jams.
Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings
The Kings rookie is probably the dark horse of the group because he's only had half a season to compile a resume, but he might be one of the more creative players in terms of what he does leading into the dunk.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors
Barnes might come in with the biggest disadvantage as a power dunker who is probably at his best when he's throwing it down on top of defenders. He's one of few mortals who has dared to dunk upon Nikola Pekovic, which alone probably earned the Warriors forward a spot in the dunk contest.