Harrison Barnes, Damian Lillard and Ben McLemore will compete against Paul George, Terrence Ross and John Wall in the 2014 Slam Dunk Contest, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. The sextet begs the question why it took so long to return All-Stars to the competition.
George and Ross (the 2013 champion) will make their second go-around. Lillard could potentially be the first NBA player to participate in all five All-Star Weekend activities if he accepts an invite to the Three-Point Shootout.
The Slam Dunk Contest will feature a new set of rules intended to pick up the pace of the event. The three Western Conference representatives will fare off against the East trio collecting points as a team. One round is a layup line-style game where a squad will have 90 seconds to throw down as many dunks as they can. Then players will go head-to-head with an opponent until one athlete is left and their conference is crowned victor. Fans will be able to vote who’s the best dunker of the night (Source: USA TODAY Sports).
The West is a major underdog considering their attributes. Barnes is a power dunker, which historically don’t fare well in the contest (like the 2010 Gerald Wallace disaster). Lillard and McLemore are coordinated in the air, but the guaranteed creativity and popularity of George, Ross and Wall will be tough to top. Regardless, it’s hard to complain about this season’s pool of talent; yet somehow, the event is slated to be the cheapest in four years in terms of ticket prices.
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