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Monday, April 23, 2018

Better 2011 Slam Dunk Competition Dunk: Blake Griffin or JaVale McGee?

Everyone expected Blake Griffin to win the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, so it came as no surprise when he was given the crown. When you can do things like this, this, this, and this, it kind of makes you an easy favorite.  Earlier, we showed you a compilation of all the dunks from Saturday night.  Griffin may have had the better dunk when it mattered in the final round, but there are a lot of people — myself included — who thought JaVale McGee had the dunk of the night.  Maybe he should have saved it for the last round rather than using it in the first.  In any event, let’s look at the two slams to determine which was better.

Griffin dunked over a car.  You really can’t take that away from him, but let’s be honest — if I told you Blake Griffin dunked over a car and you didn’t see it for yourself, the image in your head wouldn’t be of him only jumping over the hood.  The alley-oop effect was a nice touch, but in an era where we have seen athletes actually jump over the tallest part of a car it left a little to be desired.

As for McGee, the ease with which he pulled off dunking two balls at once on 13-foot hoops took away from the actual difficulty of the slam(s).  Throwing a ball off the backboard and dunking it while trying to focus on an entirely separate dunk takes a tremendous amount of coordination.  There aren’t many players in the NBA who could pull that off on a 10-foot hoop, let alone a 13-footer.  The creativity was worth a 10 and the execution was worth the same.  I’m not sure if McGee wanted to use that dunk to guarantee he advanced beyond the first round, but the judges’ decision would have been a lot more difficult had he busted it out in the final round.

With respect to these two dunks in particular: advantage McGee.

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