A pair of rookies in Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and Utah Jazz combo guard Donovan Mitchell, the latter who replaced former champion Aaron Gordon in the competition due to a strained left hip flexor, along with first-time All-Star Victor Oladipo and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. went at it in the latest iteration of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
The night started with Donovan Mitchell going with a second hoop and immediately everyone perked up with the immediate use of a prop.
Victor Oladipo was next and all eyes were on the man with the most NBA dunk contest experience in the 2018 showdown. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t land a slam in the contest.
Dennis Smith Jr was next up and the man with the preseason dunk contest hype was expected to deliver. He showed out early on.
Next up was the new Cav Larry Nance Jr and as expected the son of the first slam dunk contest winner paid homage to his father.
Round 2 saw Victor Oladipo lead off and the Pacers guard had to come out strong to get himself back in the contest. Vic channeled his inner superhero and went to get an assist from Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman to outfit him with a mask for his dunk.
Despite four solid dunks to start the night, we still didn’t get a perfect score until Dennis Smith Jr elevated for his second slam. The Mavs rookie broke out a spectacular between-the-legs 360 as he switched hands.
Dunk two for Larry Nance Jr was a deep cuff windmill which saw him start behind the backboard.
Donovan Mitchell ended round two by getting some help from his sister and Kevin Hart and his family. He revealed a ‘Dr. Dunkenstein’ jersey paying homage to another fellow Louisville product that joined the Utah Jazz, Darrell Griffith.
The finals saw Larry Nance Jr take on Donovan Mitchell. Somehow, Dennis Smith Jr was eliminated and Victor Oladipo also hit the bench after not landing one of his first two dunks.
Nance opened up the finals with another assist from his dad. This time the senior Nance tossed the ball up and left it there for his son to windmill.
The first dunk for Donovan Mitchell in the finals saw the Jazz guard go off the backboard once again but he used only one basket. Mitchell threw it off the glass, caught it and did a little one hand windmill for a score of 50.
Possibly the most subtle but effective dunk of the night was the final slam from Larry Nance Jr. It initially looked like Nance threw it off the backboard and then dunked it down with two hands. But upon further review, Nance threw it off the backboard, caught it, tapped it off the backboard and then dunked it down for a double tap dunk. That’s a 50 for Nance.
Donovan Mitchell needed at least a 47 to beat Nance and take the 2018 Slam Dunk Contest crown. Mitchell wanted to end it one a strong note so he paid homage once again to a dunk legend. He revealed a Vince Carter jersey and wanted to officially declare that the dunk contest was ‘over’.
Donovan Mitchell scored a 48 for his final dunk and officially walked away as the 2018 NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion.