John Wall, Paul Geroge, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, Harrison Barnes, and Ben McLemore are all promising stars in the NBA. But that's not the only thing they have in common.
It was announced today that those six players will be competing in the 2014 Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night. The high-flyers will be participating in a contest like no other, for new commissioner Adam Silver has installed some new rules that completely change the game.
This year, the dunkers will be competing against each other in teams; Western Conference versus Eastern Conference. Representing the East will be Paul George, Terrence Ross, and John Wall. The latter is Ben McLemore, Damian Lillard, and Harrison Barnes.
This group of contestants is very intriguing because it's an excellent mix of underrated players, well-proven stars, and young talent. Whether or not every player in the bunch is a household name, the dunking will definitely be entertaining because all six of them have had posterizing, highlight reel dunks in games this season or in years past. Overall, the field is the strongest it's been in years, ever since superstars decided they were too cool for the dunk contest.
Terrence Ross, the defending Slam Dunk champion, will look to defend his championship. But it's a guarantee that he won't be the talk of the All-Star Weekend even if he wins back to back. Fellow contestant, Damian Lillard is already the talk of the games. Lillard will compete in all five events; he will be the first player ever to play in the Rising Stars Game, Skill Challenge, 3-Point Challenge, Slam Dunk Contest, and All-Star Game.
Paul George of the Indiana Pacers will be Ross' biggest threat at a repeat. George has thrown down some vicious slams in the regular season, including the 360 Windmill on the fast break; arguably the dunk of the year.
It shouldn't matter who wins this year, the Dunk Contest this year will be a testament to Adam Silver's future as commissioner. In his first two weeks of being active commish, Silver will be respected by the fans for completely reviving the Slam Dunk Contest and All Star Weekend. He somehow regained star power in the Dunk Contest, something that David Stern failed to do in his later years as NBA commissioner.