NBA Dunk Contest Could Be Saved by Adding a Dunk Defender like Victor Oladipo


Every year the refrain is the same: fans want someone to save the NBA dunk contest. The complaints are varied. It’s too boring, there are no stars, too many missed dunks. Even after this year’s field of mid-level stars was announced, the fan reaction has been tepid. (Paul George, John Wall, Terrence Ross, Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes, and Ben McLemore round out the field this year.)

But the problem isn’t with the dunkers, it’s the contest rules themselves. Dunking uncontested is too easy and too boring. Challengers have to attempt dunks out of their range just to wake the crowd up. This leads to missed dunks and boring compromise. What new Commissioner Adam Silver needs to do is change the dunk contest rules to add a defender to challenge every dunk.

Jan 8, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) has a dunk attempt blocked by Orlando Magic shooting guard Victor Oladipo (5) at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Wait what? Am I crazy? Most definitely, but hear me out. Dunks are more exciting in games when they happen over a defender.Think about the most memorable dunks of the last few years. You can’t picture Blake Griffin jumping over a Kia, but you’ve watched his in-game YouTube highlights a hundred times:

Why does adding a defender make a dunk so great? The embarrassment factor. When a dunker demolishes a defender there is an undeniable display of dominance. Sure it’s fun to watch players dominate gravity, but it’s much more fun to watch a helpless defender get destroyed by a monstrous dunk. And when a defensive player successfully blocks a dunk attempt? Even better. Victor Oladipo’s denial of Damian Lillard has been one of the most dynamic plays in the NBA this year.

Now won’t adding a defender make the NBA dunk contest too hard? Not under my rules. Every dunker will get a teammate so they can execute their version of a fast break. This opens up the court, keeps the defender on his heels, and sets the table for some highlight worthy madness.

To prevent the defender from sagging off the teammate to focus on denying the dunker, if the teammate scores, the dunker gets another attempt. This keeps going until a made dunk or the defender prevents a score. Judges will score the made dunk, or if the defender gets the block, they will grade the block. The judges block scores will be averaged, and that number will be added to the defenders own dunk scores.

How will the defenders be chosen? Easy, they should be the other competitors in the contest. They should be matched up with other players of like sizes, so as to eliminate any unfair advantages.

What are the problems with my plan? There will be  missed dunks, but there are already a lot of those already. A missed dunk over defenders is exciting. A missed dunk alone is just awkward. Injuries could also be a concern, but players will take the necessary steps to protect themselves. Most defenders will act like they do during the All-Star game themselves, putting up token defense. That’s why Victor Oladipo is such a good selection, because he would go bulldogging after every insane dunk attempt.

There’s no denying that the NBA dunk contest needs a change, and adding a defender could bring new life into the fledgling contest. Let’s start the petition now to make these changes for the 2015 dunk contest, with Victor Oladipo as one of the six dunk/defenders.

What do you think? Is adding a defender a great idea or an idiotic one? Let us know in the comments section below. Want to get more Presto In The Paint? Sign up for our newsletter!