We’ve got a lot to get to in a busy week in the NBA. The Lakers and Nets are down, the Clippers and Knicks are up, the Spurs are, as always, the steady Spurs and the Heat are outstanding. But we wanted to have a little bit of fun with this week’s Hoophead by starting with a question from a reader…
Reader Questions of the Week
Do you think LeBron James can beat Michael Jordan in a slam dunk contest?
WolfCat33, that is one awesome question. LeBron vs Jordan in a dunk contest would be the ultimate contest of power vs grace. LeBron’s dunk game is entirely about speed, strength and explosiveness—he’s a freakish athlete. Jordan relied on his silky smooth style and his hang time to win his dunk contests over the “Human Highlight Film” Dominique Wilkins.
Well, this may be sacrilege, but watch those old MJ dunk contests and you’ll see that those dunks aren’t that great. Back then, they were as good as you get, but they lacked the flair we see now. I don’t need you to jump over a car like Blake Griffin to have a creative dunk, in fact, I don’t think that’s very creative. However, Jordan doesn’t even spin in the air during any of his jams, they’re all pretty much straight on. The dunk has moved past that with far more intricacy. It’s not the 1980s anymore, man.
Does that mean LeBron would beat him? You have to believe that Jordan, maybe the most competitive player in the history of the league, would up his game if he dunked today. But I don’t think you could argue that Jordan is a more explosive athlete than LeBron. The wild card is that we’ve never seen LeBron have to take his slams and apply some creativity for a dunk contest. Most of what we see in a game are tomahawks dunks and two-handed slams. Can he take his athletic advantage over Jordan turn that into a creative series of four winning dunks?
So who would win? What’s the answer? The answer is Vince Carter. Back when Vince played for the Raptors he could jump out of gym. You couldn’t watch a Sportscenter in 1999-2000 without seeing an amazing Carter dunk. Then, to everyone’s delight, during the 2000 All-Star weekend, he heeded the call to enter the dunk contest. The contest had become stale and a little boring by that point, but he combined his leaping ability with an unbelievable creativity to astound those watching in the arena and at home. It wasn’t about props, it wasn’t about gimmicks, these dunks were visceral and cerebral. When you first watched a dunk, you were wowed by it, but then you watched the replay and thought about the difficulty of spinning against the grain on the 360-jam or putting his whole forearm through the hoop. There had never been, and never will be, a dunk contest like it.
Fantasy Tip of the Week
I’m going to give you a tip that I actually used myself and that is, you should take a good look at the Hornets’ Al-Farouq Aminu. In my fantasy league, everyone passed on the third-year forward during our draft, but it didn’t take long for us to notice him after a stellar week one. This season he’s playing a much larger role in New Orleans’ gameplan, upping his minutes from 22.4 per game last year to 34.5 this season. That has allowed him to notch career-highs in points (12.3), assists (2.3), rebounds (9.3) and steals (2.0) so far. And although his scoring dropped off this week, he’s still grabbing a ton of rebounds, like the 16 he nabbed against Philadelphia on Wednesday. So, take a look at Aminu, but you better look fast though, because he’s now owned in 78.7 percent of ESPN.com leagues, up from 2.1 percent a week ago.
Interview of the Week
Our Kid Reporter Jack Murphy talked to Golden State Warrior rookie and North Carolina alum Harrison Barnes and if you watch, you may find out what his favorite video games are...
Sneaker of the Week
Nike Air Force 1 Hi Royal Blue/White PE
New York Knick Rasheed Wallace came out of retirement this year and while the former star and NBA Champion (2004 Detroit Pistons) is only playing 6.7 minutes a game, he’s still sporting some awesome kicks. Here are his Air Force 1s with his own logo.
Dunk of the Week
We’ve told you this a few times before, but Denver is making the case that it should be “Lob City” and not the Clippers side of Los Angeles. Andre Miller LOVES throwing alley oops and he’s one of the best—if not thee best—in the game at doing it. Check out this jam by Kenneth Faried off the Miller pass. It’s our dunk of the week!
Have questions for the Hoophead? Ask them in the comments below and he may answer them in an upcoming mailbag…