On Saturday night, the NBA All-Star Weekend features one of its most electrifying moments, as four of the best slam-dunk specialists in the league will show off their moves in the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Each participant receives a pair of dunks to show their best for the judges. The participants with the top two scores then move on to the finals, where they have two more dunks apiece. This will be the last event on All-Sat Saturday Night, after the skills competition and the three-point shooting contest. Let’s take a look at each of the players who will be taking part, and our thoughts for your best picks if you plan to include this in your NBA sports betting for the weekend.
2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Odds & Preview
Pat Connaughton (Milwaukee Bucks) +400
This is Connaughton’s debut in the Slam Dunk Contest, although he is in his fifth season in the NBA. He is the first Slam Dunk Contest participant from the Milwaukee Bucks since Giannis Antetokounmpo took part five years ago. He comes off the bench for the Bucks. Standing 6’5” this shooting guard puts up 4.9 points and 4.4 boards per game. He is the only participant taking part for the first time. He has a surprising level of athleticism; in college, he played both basketball and baseball at Notre Dame. The Baltimore Orioles selected him in the 2014 MLB draft, but when the Portland Trail Blazers drafted him in 2015, he decided to follow a path into pro basketball. He is in his second season with Milwaukee.
Aaron Gordon (Orlando Magic) +110
This is Gordon’s second appearance in the Slam Dunk Contest, and his first in four years. He came in second in 2016 to Zach LaVine, although many thought that Gordon should have won that championship. That year, in the finals, he and LaVine both threw down two dunks that received a perfect score of 50. When that happens, each player does one more dunk as a tiebreaker. Both of them had perfect scores in the first tiebreaker, but then LaVine beat Gordon on the second extra dunk. In some books, Gordon is the favorite to win the 2020 edition. This year, LaVine opted not to take part in the Slam Dunk Contest, denying fans a chance to see a rematch — but this also adds to Gordon’s status as a favorite.
Dwight Howard (L.A. Lakers) +500
Dwight Howard has not taken part in a Slam Dunk Contest since 2009. He competed in three straight seasons, from 2007 to 2009, winning in 2008, the year he showed his fabled Superman dunk. He dressed up as the Man of Steel before flying up, catching the ball in mid-air and throwing the ball down through the ring. Back then, he was with the Orlando Magic; since that time, he has appeared on five other rosters and is with the Lakers for the second time. He’s not a favorite, because of his age (and all of the back problems that he has had since then). However, he is a creative dunker, so expect him to throw down some unique shots.
Derrick Jones Jr (Miami Heat) +175
Jones took part in the 2017 Slam Dunk Contest, making it to the finals before losing to Glenn Robinson III. That was during his rookie campaign, so he has added some NBA savvy to his game since then. This year, he is scoring 8.9 points per game and pulling down 4.2 boards. He is the youngest competitor in the contest this year — and the contest will happen on his 23rd birthday. If Jones wins, he would be the second member of the Miami Heat to win a title, along with Harold Miner, who won the contest in 1993 and 1995.
2020 Slam Dunk Contest Final Prediction
There are some who think that Howard will swoop back in from his Fortress of Solitude and reclaim his status as Superman in the Slam Dunk Contest. I’m leaning more toward the favorite here, as Gordon has plenty of motivation after losing on the cards to LaVine.