The Verizon Slam Dunk contest, just like the All-Star game, had its ups and downs over the years but thanks to the Aaron Gordon of the Orlando, and Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls guard and winner of the 2015 and 2016 contest, we can say that this event has reached a pinnacle.

This year we are hoping to see a crazy show, because of the flashy dunks the Slam Dunk contest participants had shown us in regular season games, each of them in their own unique style.

This 33rd Verizon Slam Dunk Contest will take place on Saturday, February 17, at the Staples Center, and will be aired on TNT and ESPN radio at 8 PM ET, right after the JBL Three-Point contest and Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

Slam Dunk contest participants this year

The Four Sultans of the Slam this year are Dennis Mitchell from the Utah Jazz, Victor Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers, Larry Nance Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers forward, and last but not least Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks guard.

Larry Nance Jr. is probably the most athletic guy on the list, his vertical is reportedly 44” which is absolutely insane for someone who is 6’8” tall. Nance also comes from the lineage of dunking. His father, Larry Nance, was a Slam Dunk contest winner back in 1984. And now that Nance is traded to Cleveland he will probably be motivated to bring home a trophy. Larry Nance Jr. is likely the best poster dunker in the game today, and he is not afraid to jump even on the best of defenders.

Donovan Mitchell came in the contest as a replacement for the injured Aaron Gordon, but he should probably have been in the contest from the beginning, given the fact that he can easily explode to the rim at only 6’3”. Donovan is also in a rookie of the year conversation because of his on-court performance for Utah Jazz. He is averaging 19.2 points, 3.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game and although he is young he already had two 40-point games.

Victor Oladipo earned the perfect score in the 2015 Slam Dunk contest with his impressive 360-reverse slam, but Zach LaVine eventually won that year leaving Oladipo to try and take the hardware home this year. Oladipo is averaging 24.3 points this season for Indiana Pacers and is playing extremely well, he also won dunk of the year award last year.

Dennis Smith Jr. is known for his jumping ability, he has a 48” vertical leap, that’s all we need to say about him. He was the 9th overall pick in 2017 draft, but the way he is playing proves that he should have been off the board earlier. He averages 14.8 points and 4.8 assists per game.

Who is the possible winner of the contest?

For the judges and the fans only two things matter, dunker’s creativity and how high can they jump. So it comes down to two people, Larry Nance Jr. who is an impressive jumper given that he is 6’8” as mentioned, and Dennis Smith Jr., mister 48” vertical. In the end, the winner will probably be Dennis Smith Jr. because of his unique style and originality. But we can’t know what tomorrow brings, so all that is left for us is to wait and see it for ourselves.