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Slam Dunk Contest grades

2/16/2014

All-Star Grades: TEAM HILL | TEAM WEBBER | 3-POINT | SKILLS | DUNK | SHOOTING


A+

John Wall

Washington Wizards
PG


Freestyle Round: East wins 3-0
Battle Round: Defeated Ben McLemore 3-0


ANALYSIS

There was no question Wall was Dunker of the Night after he pulled off his reverse over Wizards mascot G-Man on the first try. With so many moving parts -- grabbing the ball, double pumping and finishing while showcasing his hops -- Wall's dunk will go down as one of the best in dunk contest history, even if it doesn't necessarily bring it "back" like Magic Johnson said afterward. And Wall's pass off the shot clock to George set up far and away the most memorable dunk of the freestyle round.


A

Paul George

Indiana Pacers
SF


Freestyle Round: East wins 3-0
Battle Round: Defeated Harrison Barnes 3-0


ANALYSIS

Give George full marks for audacity. If he'd pulled off his dunk, which saw him spin 360 while going between his legs the wrong direction, on the first try, George might have been Dunker of the Night. After three misses, he nailed a slightly less powerful version on his final attempt that was still mighty impressive in its own right -- good enough for Julius Erving to bless it as "sick."


B+

Terrence Ross

Toronto Raptors
SF


Freestyle Round: East wins 3-0
Battle Round: Defeated Damian Lillard 2-1


ANALYSIS

As the defending champ, Ross hardly started from the bottom, and the assistance of Drake couldn't help him stay on top. Ross needed three tries to make his between-the-legs finish after grabbing the ball out of Drizzy's hands, and while that was good enough to beat Damian Lillard in the battle format, it left Ross third on his own East team.


B

Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers
PG


Freestyle Round: West loses 3-0
Battle Round: Lost to Terrence Ross 2-1


ANALYSIS

In the last event of his historic, busy night, Lillard offered a worthy spinning, double-pump dunk that he made on his second try. The head-to-head battle with Ross could easily have gone Lillard's direction, drawing the only split decision of the evening with judges favoring Ross by a 2-1 count. Lillard might have won had he saved his between-the-legs dunk from the freestyle round. As Dr. J noted, pulling that off is difficult for a smaller player like Lillard.


C

Ben McLemore

Sacramento Kings
SG


Freestyle Round: West loses 3-0
Battle Round: Lost to John Wall 3-0


ANALYSIS

With the guidance of Shaquille O'Neal, McLemore spent plenty of time on the presentation of his battle dunk, which featured a proclamation dubbing him "Shaq-lemore" and Shaq offering him a crown. I guess you had to be there. Too bad McLemore's dunk over a seated Shaq (in a throne, natch) didn't match the hype. He didn't have to jump nearly as high as Wall, and did a straight dunk that was less complex than Wall's version moments later. Let's hope McLemore wasn't saving a rumored (and unprecedented) 720-degree dunk for a later round that never came.


D

Harrison Barnes

Golden State Warriors
SF


Freestyle Round: West loses 3-0
Battle Round: Lost to Paul George 3-0


ANALYSIS

Barnes offered up some creativity on his battle dunk, an attempt to cradle the ball while already high in the air. He wasn't able to finish it, however, and had to settle for a less challenging version that was the weakest of the dunks in the final round. At least Barnes demonstrated he can do more than just windmill from different angles, as he did in the freestyle round.