Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Dunk Contest

We have long been irked by unequal application of discretionary rules for stars who can potentially sell jerseys and drive TV ratings. After seeing last night's All-Star slam dunk contest, there should be little question that from the outset, the league planned to vault Griffin into the final round. It certainly was handy that Griffin had a gospel choir and the corporate sponsor's car ready to deploy for his final-round dunk, eh?

Clearly, the judging, at least the first-round scoring, was not quite objective. Here is how I would have judged the first round of the contest (assume I am judging each dunk on a 50-point scale; a 50 should represent an all-time iconic dunk):

  • Derozan: 40 for his first between-the-legs, off-the-backboard-side dunk (the "East Bay Rim Shaker"), which failed to innovate on dunks from previous years. 45 for his "Show Stopper", a consciously spare performance that entailed a one-handed catch, scoop, and jam. [Actual grades: 44, 50]

  • Ibaka: 46 for his initial free-throw-line dunk, requiring but one attempt. 42 for his teddy-bear dunk involving the mohawked thespianito. Biting the bear off the hoop was in fact a feat. [Actual grades: 45, 45]

  • McGee: 46 for his double-rim, double-armed dunk (a couple points deducted for his multiple attempts and his relative lack of power on the dunks). 46 for his three-ball dunk (same reasoning). [Actual grades: 50, 49]

  • Griffin: 46 for his 360 dunk. 38 for his pedestrian windmill dunk off the backboard pass from Baron Davis. [Actual grades: 49, 46]

  • Based on these grades, I would have advanced McGee and Ibaka to the finals, rather than McGee and Griffin. But neither of those former guys plays in Los Angeles or performs a featured offensive role for his team.

    I also wish to note that Turner Sports / NBATV (which is really the same entity) employees were over-exposed last night. The veterans in the Shooting Stars competition were all Turner personalities: Kenny Smith, Steve Smith, Rick Fox, and Steve Kerr. Chris Webber and K.Smith served as dunk contest coaches, while Brent Barry served as a judge for the dunk contest. Particularly in hard economic times, it is easier to use a talent already on your payroll rather than signing someone to a one-night appearance contract, but on a weekend of all the stars, I would have rather seen Cedric Ceballos, Dee Brown, and Harold Miner coaching, rather than Chris Webber, the master of elbow jump shots.

    No comments: