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Grading Dunk Contest dunks: Evans and Budinger get an A

Feb 25, 2012, 11:59 PM EST

Sprite Slam Dunk Contest Getty Images

It was not a great contest, and worst of all it felt scripted, like the Kardashian “reality” shows. But I guess that’s where we’ve gotten to with the All-Star Dunk Contest. It’s style over substance. And only a couple dunks really impressed

We’ve graded all 12 dunks from the contest (from A to F, like in school) and have the video of some worth watching. Basically, we suffered through Derrick Williams’ last dunk so you don’t have to. Here are my grades for your winner Jeremy Evans, plus Chase Budinger, Paul George and Williams. Feel free to disagree in the comments.

Evans double ally-oop over Gordon Hayward: Grade A. This was hands down the best dunk of the night (you can see it by following this link). Evans said he only had a couple chances to practice this dunk — at 3 a.m. in a local L.A. Fitness location in Orlando. It has a little gimmick but the double ally-oop is an impressive dunk however you do it.

Budinger over Diddy: A. Sure, the “white men can’t jump” intro was scripted and stiff like Keanu Reeves doing Shakespeare. Still, a little star power, a great ally-oop pass from Diddy (playing the Baron Davis in the sunroof roll —but Diddy’s back is in better shape). Budinger got up high, threw it down hard. Impressive dunk.

Budinger “hocus pocus” blindfolded tribute: B+. Got to love good retro dunks. And unlike when Cederic Ceballos did it the first time 20 years ago, it was pretty clear after his first attempt that Budinger was genuinely blindfolded and could not see.

George over Roy Hibbert/Dahntay Jones: B: The first two attempts he missed because Jones was early with the ally-oop, so George took the ball himself. When he did he threw the rock down hard, and he got over 7’2” Hibbert. Not bad.

George black-light 360 windmill: B. At least he tried something different, even if George looked like a human glow stick.

Williams 360 off side of backboard from Ricky Rubio. B. We’ve seen something like it before, but still pretty impressive dunk. Not going to win the contest with that, but not going to lose it either.

Williams windmill over motorcycle: B-. Not bad, even though he missed the first two (yes, I count that against him, it was fairly straight forward). Thing is, jumping over a motorcycle really not impressive after Blake Griffin last year.

Jeremy Evans Mailman tribute over Kevin Hart: C. In what way was that like Karl Malone? He should have backed Hart down on the block, spun quick and done a one-hand slam as a Mailman tribute. Also, if someone has jumped over Hibbert earlier, jumping over Hart does not impress.

Paul George Larry Bird sticker dunk: C-. A tribute to Larry Bird, one of the great dunkers of all…. what? Seen the sticker dunk and Dwight Howard put it at the top of the backboard, which is why it was impressive. Plus, George needed a few runs to get this one right.

Evans dunk with camera: D. Meh. Seen the dunk the camera didn’t really enhance anything.

Budinger windmill: D. Not that it’s a bad dunk, but how many times have we seen that?

Williams off backboard: F. He failed a bunch of times at a fancy off the backboard, between the legs dunk and just had to fall back on something Kobe Bryant has done better in games.

  1. charlutes - Feb 26, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    I’m with you on the double dunk. Best in show.

    I thought the glow in the dark, reverse 360 windmill was the next best dunk. We all went crazy when Vince did it with the lights on, and he did it flawlessly on his first attempt. That deserves an A.

    Not sure why you like the Diddy dunk, that whole thing was scripted like you said, and its been done a thousand times.

    I have to get this is my comment as well: Someone, please, I beg you, get Kevin Hart off my television screen. I cringed so many times on Friday when he went out of his way to make a fool of himself to get attention, so of course he shows up to do it again tonight. I didn’t like his weird accent thing, thought it was insulting to people with disabilities, and I just found his whole routine sad and embarrassing.

    The NBA needs to make these events more of an athletic contest, and less one long commercial for whichever celebrities pay up.

    I loved how Love and Durant did the 3 point contest. They were both going hard after it, trying to win. That’s what these events need more of, lose the gimmicky celebrity crap.

  2. Justin - Feb 26, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    “Got to love good retro dunks. And unlike when Cederic Ceballos did it the first time 20 years ago, it was pretty clear after his first attempt that Budinger was genuinely blindfolded and could not see.”

    Really? I thought that made it apparent that he could see. Him goofing up made it look even more staged. Also, for one he stutter stepped before he jumped implying he didn’t want to jump too late and when he was in the air he looked around.

    And again, stop shoving the Griffin over a car one on us. Although I didn’t like the Williams over a motorcycle dunk it didn’t seem that much different than the Griffin over the car dunk. I guess you could argue Williams was better because he windmilled.

    • Justin - Feb 26, 2012 at 1:40 AM

      Oh here is video of Williams’ first 2 good dunks http://wp.me/p1zWAl-PN

  3. losangelasbasketball - Feb 26, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    The dunk contest is one of those events that are only watchable from courtside seats….if u got the bills for it….

  4. premiumpit - Feb 26, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    That was the worst dunk contest EVER…They have to step it up!!!!!!!

  5. rohlo - Feb 26, 2012 at 7:13 AM

    worst ever..

  6. birmy - Feb 26, 2012 at 7:33 AM

    Charles Barkley commented something to effect that he was going to try and talk to some of the guys in the league about doing the dunk contest. It was awful. It is a shame that the 4 dunkers we saw weren’t 4 of 10 or 4 of 12 contestants, Lebron James said he would consider doing it if paid 1 million to the winner. LOL. I don’t think the players in the league, other than the 4 who tried their best, really care about that event

  7. blueintown - Feb 26, 2012 at 8:50 AM

    Lose the teammates. Lose the uniform changes. Lose the props. One man. One ball. Dunk. Go.

  8. futurebillionare - Feb 26, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    They should do it like the skills challenge. Winner helps a kid get a scholarship.

  9. carolinakid - Feb 26, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    LOL I will never watch another one of these fixed pos NBA dunk contest.

    Last year was so staged … what if Blake Griffin had NOT made the finals. And he shouldn’t have to begin with !!
    Then who else was jumping over the planted sponsor plug (KIA).

    What did they jump over this time …. a 5” tall soda can ?

  10. pardontheerruption - Feb 26, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Ever since Andre Iguodala got jobbed by Nate Robinson, I refuse to watch this stupid event. I still remember I was able to back a rack of ribs by the time that little turd was able to throw it down…

  11. isujames - Feb 26, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    the dunks suck just like your writing ability.

  12. tcclark - Feb 26, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    The problem with the dunk contest is 2-fold: Fan expectations, and player preparation.

    First of all, the fans need to relax. Some fans don’t want the props(I’m one of them), but they still want to see something they’ve never seen before. There is only so much you can do with a basketball. Derrick Williams’ 360 off the side of the backboard lost points because it had been done before, but that was an awesome dunk. Paul George’s glow in the dark dunk had been done before without the glow in the dark, but he lost points for the gimmick. How does that make sense. That was a really nice dunk, gimmick or no gimmick. If fans don’t want the props than they are going to have to be ok with seeing a really nice windmill or 360 every year.

    Second, the players need to practice more. What made the dunkers of the past so special was that they didn’t miss. all of the excitement was bottled up into that one attempt. They did dunks that they know they could finish at any moment. Guys today *cough Derrick Williams* practice a dunk, make it once, and think they can do it on the big stage. Personally my favorite dunker of all-time is Jason Richardson. He didn’t have any gimmicks and he rarely used his teammates, he just took the windmill and the between the legs and did them better than anyone else.

    Also, get the judges back, but keep Kenny Smith away from the judges table. Fans are too stupid to vote, and so is Kenny Smith.

  13. eagles512 - Feb 26, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Not that it was a great dunk but the tribute to Malone was putting his hand behind his head.

  14. ashutto20 - Feb 26, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    budinger could see…for 1 he messed up the first time on purpose to make it seem like he couldn’t see (it worked because it fooled you the writer) and 2 he didnt pull the blindfold all the way over his eyes…go look at the video…it was an ok contest but we need it to go back to the old days

  15. toosano - Feb 26, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    I turned it on just as that puff dude was chanting “Black Power” with a raised fist.
    That was enough for me. WTF?

  16. sydsgma - Feb 26, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    The dunk contest is a sham anyway…the dunk itself is a total rules infraction. Remember the one about goaltending? Anytime a players’ hand is touching the ball within the cylinder it is goaltending….

  17. jamoomba - Feb 26, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    The format was terrible. The idea of having an MC(Kenny Smith) was excrutiating. No judges. Vey little imagination by the dunkers and the whole thing had a “WWE feel” to it. Overall, a very dull conclusion to Saturdays festivities. Bottom line, they need to up the prize money for the winner of the contest because that’s the only thing that’s going to motivate the top players in the league to enter and actually try to win the contest. If the NBA isn’t willing to up the prize money, then they should just get ANd1 and streetball players to do the contest ’cause at least those guys would go all out and actually put on a show. Worst dunk contest ever? Probably.

  18. stillbleedingblue - Feb 26, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Paul George was robbed. Never let fans vote again…never!!!

  19. max20characters - Feb 27, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Dunking my Oreo Cookie in my glass of milk was more exciting than the dunks. NBA is a joke!

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