It might be 2013, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look back on the best dunkers from the 2011-12 season. As they say, “better late than never.” Well, unless you are the help defense coming to contest a Blake Griffin dunk. Then “never” is better. But late defense can also be responsible for the dunkgasms we’re about to celebrate.
So, yeah, let’s quit this reading business and move onward to the most badass physical action that humans partake in–dunking. Below are AGR’s All-Slamma-Jamma teams–three teams made up of the season’s best dunkers with video-evidence of their aerial assaults. (You can find the 2010-11 teams here.)
All-Slamma-Jamma 1st Team:
PG, Russell Westbrook: Derrick Rose had a great season, but dunking-wise he didn’t produce the same highlights as in years past. Westbrook only knows how to play one way–batshit-insane-to-the-point-where-he’d-dunk-on-your-grandma (it’s in the dictionary, you can look it up). No wonder he had more dunks than any other point guard (48).
SG, Gerald Green: There are a lot dunkers to choose from at the wing positions, but only one player converted a windmill alley-oop with his entire head above the rim. I dare you not to excrete at least two types of bodily fluids while watching the below video.
SF, Rudy Gay: As much as anyone in the league, Gay was born to dunk. He moves with power and grace; he has a long, lean frame; he could probably jump across the Atlantic ocean; and he has a nose for the hoop. Gay led all perimeter players with 110 dunks, good for seventh in the league overall.
PF, Blake Griffin: Kendrick Perkins. Pau Gasol. 192 dunks in 66 games Enough said.
C, DeAndre Jordan: After spending some time on the second-team due to my pro-JaVale McGee bias, Jordan stole the first-team spot. He finished third in dunks (141) behind McGee (150). It’s not an overstatement to say that, in terms of raw power, he’s among the best power-dunkers ever. You heard it here first (probably not, but maybe!).
All-Slamma-Jamma 2nd Team
PG, John Wall: After suffering injuries his rookie season, Wall showed off the athleticism he’s been touted for ever since high-school. In his top ten below you’ll find alley-oops, double-clutches, classic posterizations, the ability to dunk with either hand, and even a behind-the-back slam from the rookie-sophomore game. His 47 dunks were the second-most among all point guards.
SG, Andre Iguodala: Iggy-Hop displayed his dominant dunking self once again, posting 70 dunks–good for fourth-most among perimeter players. AI2 is similar to Rudy Gay in his combination of power and grace as a wing-dunker. He’s a terror in transition, where he’s a nightly threat to break the rim with his ferocious throw-downs. Iguodala also knows how to make something out of nothing–whether it’s a broken play, end of a shot-clock situation, or getting caught in the air during a jump-pass, he finds a way to finish plays with jaw-dropping jams.
SF, LeBron James: MVPs, Championships, and Gold Medals are all fine and dandy, but they aren’t as impressive as jumping over a dude in order to complete a one-handed alley-oop. I’m not sure what’s more ridiculous–the dunk or the fact that it isn’t even one of the top two of the NBA season. Either way, check out LeBron’s top ten playoff dunks here; below, you’ll find the best of his 8th-place 1o4 dunks in the regular season (second among perimeter players).
PF, Josh Smith: Smith tends to irk die-hard NBA-types with his shot selection and occasionally frustrating attitude. But people are quick to forgive your flaws when you can convert nearly any alley-oop pass thrown in a three-mile radius of the hoop. Smith does more than finish his teammates’ passes, though. He’s excellent at creating fast breaks through his D and finishing them himself in the open court. And marching through traffic to dunk on people’s heads. And really, everything “dunk,” which is why we shouldn’t be surprised that he finished with 83 dunks, good for 11th in the league.
C, JaVale McGee: McGee went through some tough times during 2011-12 season. He was a consistent presence on Shaqtin’ a Fool. He was traded to the Nuggets. And save for a good playoff series against the Lakers–which the Nuggets lost anyway–McGee’s season was underappreciated from a basketball standpoint, and especially from a dunking standpoint. Below are some of his highlights from the season; his dunks with the Wizards (starting at the 3:20 mark) are especially incredible.
All-Slamma-Jamma 3rd Team
PG, Jeff Teague: Teague is just a tad above average as a point guard, but as a dunking point guard few are better. Teague’s 33 dunks were the third-most among point men. His speed is his greatest asset, which combined with his impressive bunnies, allows him to take opponents by surprise. Don’t sleep on the man, or else you’ll look like the folks in the video below.
SG, JR Smith: Earl’s spot on the team is primarily a testament to one thing: his ability to reverse dunk. Smith, a notorious gunner, fittingly has an idea of where the hoop is at all times–even when he is running full speed trying to catch an errant alley-oop pass. It’s this skill that plays out in the dunks below, the best of which would have put him on the first team if not for a certain other dunker in the NY/NJ area.
SF, Kevin Durant: The wing position is loaded with dunkers, and Durant is as good as any. There’s no reason why the dunks below couldn’t land him on the first team. His 102 dunks were third among perimeter players (ninth league-wide) and was a mere two dunks behind LeBron. KD can jump off either foot and dunk with either hand (or both)–last season he showed a special ability to drive from the left wing to the hoop, finishing with a right-handed dunk. It’s a dunk that lends itself to being blocked if not done correctly, but when done right, it makes for the greatest of posters.
PF, Kenneth Faried: A bundle of energy, Faried got most of his dunks on hustle plays and alleyoops. Despite having approximately 57 pounds of hair, he still manages to jump out of the gym. All that energy not only lends itself to lots of slams, but also slams of the particularly badass nature. There’s a reason he’s called the Manimal.
C, Brandan Wright: Wright didn’t get tons of playing time (16 min/g) or play tons of games (49), but that didn’t stop him from dunking 57 times (27th in the league). Not unlike Faried, Wright makes his living dunking off alley-oops and offensive rebounds. And despite a normally gangly look and ungainly appearance, he has surprising style and grace as a dunker.
Who was your favorite dunker? Who did we leave off the list? 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.