The NBA Slam Dunk Contest will always be the most exciting event of the NBA All-Star Weekend no matter how hard the league tries to sell the All-Star game itself. However, recent news that Orlando’s Aaron Gordon will miss the event due to an injury, has dimmed some of the anticipation from the mainstream fanbase. With that said, bettors are chomping at the bit, now that the heavy favorite won’t be leaping off of the Staples Center’ parquet. Let’s look at a brief betting overview for each participant of this high-flying affair.
Betting Preview for the 2018 NBA All Star Weekend Verizon Slam Dunk Contest
Where: Staples Center – Los Angeles
When: Sunday, February 17, 2018, 8:30 PM EST
Line: view all NBA lines
TV Broadcast: TNT
Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
Donovan Mitchell is a godsend for the Utah Jazz, who found it easier than expected to move on from the departure of Gordon Hayward last season because of the rookie sensation out of Louisville. Selected 13th in the first round of last year’s NBA Draft by Utah, Mitchell rapidly became the Jazz’s most potent offensive player, as he is currently averaging 19.2 points per game. He is not going to be in dunk contest, however, because of that, but largely because of his possession of one of the best springs in the game today.
Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers)
Victory Oladipo has appeared (and even sang) in the slam dunk contest before, though he lost to Zach LaVine in the 2015 edition of this event. With LaVine out of the picture this season, Oladipo is looking to take home the crown he nearly won two years ago, and he wants to do it in his best season to date. So far this campaign, Oladipo is averaging career highs of 24.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
Larry Nance Jr. (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Larry Nance Jr. is the biggest player on the field, but don’t let that make you forget that he’s probably is still the owner of the dunk of the season, which was when he boinged his way to to Neptune and slammed one down home HARD right in the face of Kevin Durant. He will not have the benefit of a superstar cannon fodder this time, but if he succeeded to take home the dunk crown, he will “only” be the second to be dunk king in his family. (He is the son of Larry Nance, the first-ever NBA slam dunk champion.) Yeah, dunking is Nance Jr.’s in his blood.
Dennis Smith Jr. (Dallas Mavericks)
We got another junior here in the form of Dallas Mavericks super rookie Dennis Smith Jr., who has done nothing but wow the crowd on an almost nightly basis. Like Mitchell, Smith was a steal in last year’s draft, when he landed on the Mavs’ lap as the class’ ninth-overall pick. Smith has a 48-inch vertical leap, so you know he’s made for contests like this. On the season, the former NC State Wolfpack scoring machine is putting up 14.8 points in 29.2 minutes of action per game.
Dennis Smith gives the going-nowhere Mavericks something to feel happy about by winning the 2018 NBA slam dunk contest.
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