The NBA has formally announced the participants for the 2015 dunk contest: Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks, Mason Plumlee from the Brooklyn Nets, Victor Oladipo from the Orlando Magic and Zach LaVine from the Minnesota Timberwolves will compete for the crown.
John Wall won last year's event, but the NBA is scrapping the team format after it was heavily criticized. Technically, Wall was merely the "Dunker of the Night" and the winner was the Eastern Conference, which included Wall, Paul George and Terrence Ross. That will not be the case this year, as the format is changing back to what it was prior to last year.
Despite the many format changes, this event is one of the most anticipated of the All-Star Weekend and it headlines Saturday's festivities. In recent years it has served to introduce young players to a larger audience, as the big stars usually decide to sit out, and this year is no different. Even if there are no household names attached, it's still an exciting lineup with very different dunkers.
Let's take a closer look.
Plumlee is the big man of the group. He's a prolific dunker, ranking third in the NBA this season in total dunks. Unfortunately for him, big men traditionally don't do well in the contest because their dunks seem less impressive by comparison. Plumlee is a great athlete, though, and could shock the world and win the contest:
Antetokounmpo is 6'11 and has the fluid athleticism of a guard, which makes it unsurprising that he has already dunked 50 times this season. He doesn't show much flare on his in-game dunks, but maybe he has been saving his best for the contest. He definitely can get up and his charisma alone makes him a contender:
Oladipo is not an assiduous dunker, but when he does throw it down, it definitely makes an impression:
That's a solid nine in the dunk contest and the guy did it in a game. He might be the front-runner to win the contest.
LaVine may be a raw talent, but there's no doubting his ridiculous athleticism. LaVine made waves with his 46" vertical at a Lakers pre-draft workout, and while he hasn't had much of a chance to show off his dunking ability in his rookie season, we know the guy can throw it down:
The Sprite Slam Dunk contest will be held Saturday, Feb. 14 in the Barclays Center. TNT will televise the event and the broadcast starts at 8.30 p.m. ET.