Before fans and media become too wrapped up in the Lakers’ struggles or in the upcoming All-NBA selections, AGR wants to tackle a truly imperative issue: the 2010-2011 season’s premier dunks and dunkers. The NBA is a globally consumed product, and in no small part due to the nightly-produced, mind-boggling (mind-altering?) dunks that have me looking for my Scooby Snacks and Mystery Van. In this post, AGR pays tribute to this season’s best yams, jams, and slams as well as to the dudes who do-done-did them by nominating players for our AGR All-Slamma-Jamma teams and showing samples of their aerial artwork.
All-Slamma-Jamma 1st Team:
PG: Russell Westbrook: Westbrook edges out Derrick Rose primarily because of his creativity and his “I-didn’t-know-that-was-possible” factor. His open-court dunks were amazing, but his ability to explode at any moment sets him apart from the rest. Westbrook prefers bee-lining to the rim after a strong perimeter move, unlike the shiftier Rose, lending to his gravity-defying posterizations and a signature lean-in dunk that can likely be completed from the three-point line.
SG: JR Smith: The most swaggerful dunker around, Earl claimed his spot on this list with a noteworthy dunk over Gary Neal. JR combines style, power, and swag like few others. I get the feeling that his flight can be attributed to the thin Denver air, rather than any hard-earned or innate hops he might have, but I only say that to see if JR’s swag is vulnerable to my harpin’. The only hold-up with Smith is that he forces the newly improved and equally as impressive Shannon Brown to the 2nd team. Maybe they’ll read this and have an off-season dunk-off to settle this debate. Eh? Shannon and JR? Tryna?
SF: Andre Iguodala: Iggy-hop is a beast that doesn’t stop until the rim is rocked, at least that was the case until another dunk-happy SF (see: LeBron James) kicked him and his squad out of the playoffs. But when he played, he slayed. He has a penchant for reverse-baseline flushes and making all of his opponents look like Shawn Bradley. When you consider that he is only 6’6″, it makes the possibility of his dunks (see below) and their unreal power even more puzzling. Andre’s position on the first team is especially impressive when you consider that his suspect jumper/teammates’ suspect jumpers don’t exactly spread the floor to facilitate his bone-crushing slams.
PF: Blake Griffin: I won’t waste too many words on this one. He’s so badass that he secured his spot as this season’s top dunker with a spike on Marcin Gortat that didn’t even count. The dunks below, though, they counted.
C: Javale McGee: I must admit, prior to trying to give my most unbiased opinions, that Javale (aka Pierre) is one of my most beloved players, if not my absolute favorite. And why shouldn’t he be, given that he’s the best dunker and shot-blocker in the entire league? He was the unquestioned *true* winner of the dunk contest. Just the other day, John Wall told me that Javale smacked the shot-clock with his right-hand while dunking it with his left hand. Next time around, he dunked it with his ear. I don’t know how, but I won’t ask questions. Then, I had this dream where God told me that Javale’s sports asthma is just God’s way of preventing a super-human takeover of the NBA. I promise, no bias here.
All-Slamma-Jamma 2nd Team:
PG: Derrick Rose: This year’s MVP did more than win games and fans’ hearts–he won over physics. Rumor has it that before the season, D-Rose looked Gravity straight in the eye and asked him to chill out for all of Rose’s drives and dunk attempts. Gravity happily agreed, and several months later (like, in December), a shifty, slashing, and slamming MVP was born. Derrick prefers two-footed jumping and two-handed cock-back dunks, both of which are just badass for a point guard. His superior control and command (relative to Westbrook) lends itself to less ambitious/out-of-nowhere dunks, but it also gives him style points. Compare the two, and if you can help it, try not to drool all over your computer.
SG: Shannon Brown: As I wrote earlier, he easily could have been on the 1st team. In fact, he might be the best dunker in the entire league. Times are tough for dunkers making it onto All-Slamma-Jamma 1st teams. More so than anyone in the league, and perhaps ever, he seems to actually fly when he jumps. The dude’s got either wings or springs, but I’m gonna guess the former as long as he’s in the City of Angels.
SF: Josh Smith: J-Smoove isn’t actually smooth when he dunks–the ball generally hits Josh’s head after he’s done with stuffing it through the rim. On the plus side, he routinely dunks on the best of shot-blockers, and he does it with ease and power. Smith uses his unholy length and athleticism to do his best Javale McGee impression (generally coming up short, of course). Although Smoove could have easily made it onto the 1st team, it’s impressive he’s on the 2nd seeing at the SF position is the league’s most-stacked dunking position.
PF: Josh McRoberts: I am going to admit, right off the bat, that as deserving and qualified as J-Mac is for this spot (and trust me, he is), that this is a case of affirmative action. The truth is, there is a stereotype that White men can’t jump. And that ain’t right. It certainly doesn’t measure up to negative stereotypes that undermine self-esteem on a daily basis (e.g. Blacks and intelligence, Muslims and terrorism), but nonetheless, as a blogger I will unashameldy use this opportunity to show the world that at least one White player can jam with the best of them (minus Javale).
C: DeAndre Jordan: How did he end up alongside Blake in the Clippers’ front court? If you combined both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, they could dunk over the freakin’ Eiffel Tower. In all honesty, if not for Javale’s otherworldly dunk contest, Jordan would rival him for 1st team. What Deandre lacks in coordination and body control (relative to Pierre), he makes up for with shocking force. He is the best power-dunker in the league. When I make it to the L next year, he’s the player I will be most fearful of dunking on me, from a survival-instinct perspective.
So there you have it–AGR’s 2010-2011 All-Slamma-Jamma Teams. Before ending, I want to give a couple shout-outs to dunkers who could have made it if not for the fact that All-Slamma-Jamma teams are already loaded as is. Honorable mention goes to: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Rudy Gay, Amar’e Stoudemire, Serge Ibaka, and DeMar Derozan. Y’all could just as easily been on those teams. Also, thanks to YouTube user LittleFundamental for the fantastic videos!
Does Javale really edge out Deandre? And how about all those high-flying small forwards? Comment on the article or e-mail us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and to like us on Facebook.