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Slam Dunk Betting Notes

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2013 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Preview

 
Eric Bledsoe (9/2)
 
The Clippers’ back-up point guard to Chris Paul, Bledsoe got a lot of minutes as a starter while Paul was sidelined with an injury for nearly three weeks before returning last Friday. Although Bledsoe is only 6-foot-1, he clearly has hops, as is evident by the fact that he ranks second on the Clippers in blocks to 6-foot-11 DeAndre Jordan, and that’s despite the fact that Bledsoe ranks seventh on the team in minutes played. With fans doing the voting, Bledsoe’s relative lack of height—he’s five inches shorter than the next-shortest participant, Toronto’s Terrence Ross—could be a huge advantage as he looks to follow in the smallish footsteps of such past winners as Spud Webb, Dee Brown and three-time champion Nate Robinson.

Gerald Green (4/1)
 
One of two prior Slam Dunk champions in this year’s competition along with 2012 winner Jeremy Evans, Green beat out such dunk luminaries as Nate Robinson and Dwight Howard to win the 2007 title when he was a member of the Celtics. He should’ve won in 2008 when he was with Minnesota—his dunk that year when he blew out the candle on a cupcake sitting on the back of the rim before throwing down a vicious left-hander was arguably one of the greatest dunks of all time—but he was ultimately overshadowed by Dwight Howard's far-less-difficult but more flashy "Superman" dunk. Green is from Houston, so he’ll get to perform in front of his hometown crowd.
 
James White (8/5)
 
The 30-year-old White may be past his dunking prime as the oldest participant in this year’s contest, but he has experience on his side despite never before competing in an NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk contest. Not only did he finish second in both 2002 McDonald’s All-American and 2006 NCAA slam-dunk events, but won a 2009 D-League Dunk Contest and dominated overseas contests when he played in Turkey (2008, on a ridiculous windmill dunk on which he took off from behind the free-throw line), Russia (2010, where he beat Gerald Green) and Italy (2011). All that experience is the reason he’s the favorite, perhaps in addition to the fact that he’s already gone on record as saying that he has a number of dunks worthy of a perfect score in this year’s contest.
 
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Jeremy Evans (5/1)

 
Evans won last year’s event despite the fact that he didn’t join the field until three days prior to the competition after the Knicks’ Iman Shumpert was ruled out because of injury. Because he was arguably the most athletic among a group last year that included Paul George, Derrick Williams and Chase Budinger, he was StatFox’s pick to win at 11-to-4 despite not being favored. (Evans entered last year’s contest with 61 of his 88 made shots over his first two NBA seasons having been on dunks, including 30 on alley-oops—his 69.3% dunk percentage was the NBA’s highest since he’d entered the league.) This year’s group is not only larger and deeper, but more athletic and diverse than last year’s. Evans will have his work cut out for him as he tries to join Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson as only the fourth player to win the Slam Dunk contest in back-to-back years.
 
Kenneth Faried (5/1)
 
Faried’s dunking tends to be more ferocious than stylish, as his nickname “Manimal” would attest to. There have been rumors circulating that he’s thinking about playing to his strength—which is his strength—and dunking a bowling ball in this year’s contest. While such a move would certainly get people’s attention, nothing has been confirmed as of yet, and you’ve got to believe that the Nuggets may dissuade Faried from going that route due to the potential for injury. There’s also the case of whether the folks who maintain the floor in Houston will want to risk having a Bugs Bunny moment and watching a bowling ball dent their floor, if not go straight through it.
 
Terrence Ross (4/1)
 
Ross will try to become the first Raptor since Vince Carter in 2000 to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.  He’ll be the third Raptor to attempt the feat in the past six years —Jamario Moon competed in 2008 and DeMar DeRozan did so in both 2010 and 2011—and will aim to become the first rookie since Josh Smith in 2005 to win the competition. Ross played college ball at the University of Washington, which is where Nate Robinson also played, so it’s possible that the three-time champion could give his fellow alum some insight and advice. (Robinson is the only former University of Washington player ever to compete in the dunk contest.) Ross did sport an impressive vertical leap of 37.5 inches at last year’s draft combine, which reportedly puts him in the top 1 percent of the NBA.
 
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