Everything you need to know about the 2022 NBA Slam Dunk Contest
Started from the beginning of the season, now we're here. Or, something to that Drake-esque lyrical effect. Yes, we’ve reached the 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend. KD and LeBron have chosen their teams, and one will likely need a microscope to detect any defense being played in the All-Star Game itself. And that’s OK, because the real action is going to take place where it always does – on Saturday night!
Here's everything you need to know about the 2022 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
When is the 2022 NBA Slam Dunk Contest?
The annual dunk-off will take place on Saturday, Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. ET at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s the last event on Saturday night, following the Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest.
Who are the judges for the 2022 Slam Dunk Contest?
Though they’ve yet to be announced (at time of writing), typically there’s a line-up of five NBA legends who are picked to judge the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. They’ll look for a combo of athleticism, creativity and moxie when making their picks. Officially, the judges will score every dunk on a scale of 6 to 10, resulting in a high score of 50 and a low score of 30. But let’s just say it’s an "inexact" science.
Expect some controversy due to the very subjective nature of decision-making process.
Who is taking part in the 2022 Slam Dunk Contest?
This year’s participants are going to be fun to watch, and no matter who wins, the competition will have a brand new champ. That’s because last year’s champ, Anfernee Simons, isn’t in the show. Instead, we’ve got the following four ballers:
Jalen Green, Houston Rockets (+150)
The rookie Rocket has some big pressure on him as the favorite to win the dunk competition. Coming into the All-Star break, he’s played 43 games with Houston and is averaging a not-too-shabby 14.6 points per game, 3.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists nightly. The man can also jump.
Though a more diminutive 6’4" and 178 lbs, Green has demonstrated he can get serious air time with the best of them, which is why the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft is going to get his chance to fly like a... umm, rocket, in the competition.
Obi Toppin, New York Knicks (+220)
Toppin is the only one of the four participants who was in the competition last year, and was the runner-up behind Simons, losing by just one point. As the "veteran" of the bunch, he’ll likely experience less nerves than the others, which could give him the edge to win.
Oh, he’s also got the height and weight advantage over the other three dunkers. At 6"9" and 220 lbs, power forward Toppin has the strength and length to put on a show and rock the rim like no one’s business. He’s also out to prove he should have won last year.
Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic (+250)
It’s originality time with Cole on the spot in the competition tomorrow. Standing at just 6’2", he’s the shortest competitor on the floor. However, what he lacks in physical stature, he could more than "magically" make up for in creativity and hang time.
Of the four competitors though, Cole is a bit of a wild card. During the season, he’s shown some flashes of slam, but his bread and butter thus far has been as a decent ball distributor from the perimeter for the Magic. Still, it’s always nice to have a "don’t know what you’re gonna get" element to the competition, because you could get a lot.
Juan Toscano-Anderson, Golden State Warriors (+450)
The second biggest/tallest player in this year’s slam dunk competition at 6'6" and 209 lbs, Toscano-Anderson comes into the weekend with a relatively small portfolio of slams due to his imited minutes (14.5 per game). Though he’s become a fan favorite for his grit and hustle.
Sounds like it could be a disadvantage, right? Maybe not. Consider this: he may have the freshest legs of all four competitors. As such, the "spring" in his step could be that much more pronounced. So, while he’s listed as the least likely to win this thing, stranger outcomes have happened in years past.
So, who are you taking on Saturday night?