The 2015 NBA Slam Dunk Contest: By the Numbers
While this year's slam dunk contestants may not be as popular as last year's -- which consisted of Ben McLemore, Harrison Barnes, Damian Lillard, Paul George, Terrence Ross, and champion John Wall -- this group of four is better than those from recent years.
All four contestants are 24 years or younger, and all took part in last night's Rising Stars Challenge. So, while none of them are established NBA superstars, they are four young players on the rise.
But, when it comes to trying to predict winner -- in case you just want to look smart for your Twitter followers -- there's a few things you should know before making your pick.
Here are a few key numbers for each of the four dunkers.
Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets
According to NBA.com, the Nets' big man leads the field with 82 dunks and 91 dunk attempts this season. In fact, Plumlee's 82 dunks is just 30 fewer than the three other contestants combined. He's also number-one among the contestants in alley-oop dunk shots (21), reverse dunk shots (9), and putback dunk shots (6).
These numbers come as no surprise, considering Plumlee's size, length, and position. At 6'11" and 183 pounds, Plumlee primarily plays power forward and center for his Brooklyn Nets, and does a lot of his scoring close to the hoop -- 75.0% of his shots come within three feet from the basket. And despite his size, Plumlee has a standing vertical leap of 30.5" and a max vertical leap of 36.0".
Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
Oladipo, unlike Plumlee, hasn't made many dunks this season -- a mere 30 to be exact -- and he's just third among the four dunkers in dunk attempts, with 35. He's also dead last in dunking percentage, at 86%, and as a result, could have a problem converting before time runs out if he gets too creative. However, he does lead the field in driving slam dunk shots with five. Oladipo's great on the drive and explosive when attacking the rim.
And as a 6'4" guard, Oladipo can jump out of the roof. He leads the foursome with a max vertical leap of 42.0" and has a standing vertical leap of 33.0". His incredible jumping ability could electrify the crowd on his way to a slam dunk victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
The one they call "The Greek Freak" is a very talented, high-volume finisher. He has a total of 59 dunks on the season, including 34 dunk shots -- the highest number in the field. More impressive, though, is that Antetokounmpo converts on 92% of his dunk attempts -- and we all know making the dunks is half the battle.
Giannis might just have the second half covered two. He should be able to provide a lot of style points with his freakishly lengthy frame. The Freak, after growing two inches since entering the league, now stands 6'11" with more than a 7'3" wingspan, and he jumps nearly as high as the two guards in the contest. His vertical leap is nearly 40" -- so what's not to love?
Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves
LaVine is probably the most popular pick among the masses and is the favorite to win according to Vegas -- and for good reason. The rookie guard has made 23 out of his 25 dunk attempts and leads the field with 7 driving dunks this season. He may not get a lot of dunk attempts in-game, but he's very efficient when he does.
As efficient as he is, LaVine is an even better athlete. At 6'5", the UCLA product has a wingspan of over 6'8" and possesses some great hops. He has a standing vertical leap of 33.5" and a max vertical leap of 41.5".
Can anyone take down the favorite?
We'll just have to wait and see.