NBA Slam Dunk contest: Larry Nance needs to wear his Dad's number

(Cavaliers), Dennis Smith (Mavericks) and Donovan Mitchell (Jazz) will battle in the throw-down contest that is expected to bring lots of aerial creativity at Staples Center.

It's been an impressive season thus far for Mitchell in Utah, but his work doesn't stop this weekend like it might for others around the league. One of the most exciting aspects of Smith's game is his ability to get above the rim nearly effortlessly.

"This was my first dunk contest", Nance said.

"That's one you've got to look at the replay and see that I tossed it off the glass, caught it, tossed it back off the glass, finished it all in the air", Nance Jr. said. And he knows where everybody is supposed to be on offense, one through five, so if you're in the wrong spot, he can help you out and direct you to the right spot. It feels like everything we're doing, everything going forward, is gearing up for the playoffs and that's so exciting. Smith's teammates have echoed that sentiment. For example, Zach LaVine won the 2016 Slam Dunk Contest even though Aaron Gordon had some of the best dunks in the history of the competition. The dunk produced a flawless score of 50, but was not enough to take down Mitchell.

"Guys from this team?"

When the trade between the two teams was made before the season, the Thunder looked like the clear victor, but after a little over a half a season done, that doesn't look to be such a sure thing anymore.

If the field in the 2018 dunk contest is any indication, we should be in for a treat.

So, we're in for a surprise.

Growing up in the mid-2000's in North Carolina, Smith Jr. just missed Michael Jordan's glory days ... but it was another North Carolina high schooler that's his favorite dunker of all-time. Outside of that, what he does is anyone's guess.

Phoenix's Devin Booker won the 3-point contest and Brooklyn's Spencer Dinwiddie won the 2018 Taco Bell Skills Challenge. However, don't mistake that for being overwhelmed by the glitz and glamor of being in the Los Angeles spotlight. What's important to remember here is this: Make your dunks, kids. "I'm ready for it". His first win is undoubtedly his best, in which the diminutive (by National Basketball Association standards) point guard dunked OVER former champion Spud Webb with a one-handed catch and dunk.

  • Julie Sanders