One of the highlights of the season was the announcement that the Dallas Mavericks’ dynamic rookie point guard, Dennis Smith Jr., will participate in the 2018 Verizon Dunk Contest during NBA All-Star Weekend. Now that the contest is almost upon us, we can start imagining the tricks Smith Jr. may have up his sleeve. Luckily for us, Smith has given us many pre-game and in-game previews.
So, what kind of dunks will we be likely to see in a few weeks? Let’s do some educated guessing.
The Tomahawk Dunk
I’d be willing to bet good money that we will see at least one of these in the dunk contest. Before Smith even played his first real NBA game, we learned the tomahawk was something he was very good at. Refresh your memory by watching this clip of Smith blowing past Lonzo Ball for the slam back in the Las Vegas Summer League.
It didn’t take him very long to make people forgot about that one, though. Against the New Orleans Pelicans, in just the 10th game of the season, Smith surged in for another thunderous tomahawk slam, one that was so vicious, it forced DeMarcus Cousins to make a business decision.
Smith isn’t biased towards the one-handed tomahawk, though. He can throw it down with two hands just as easily. Smith showcases that ability here, driving past San Antonio Spurs’ center Pau Gasol for the easy dunk.
Not to run the tomahawk dunk in the ground here, but Smith is just so very good at performing them, and the one he completed on a fast break against the Washington Wizards is arguably the best one we’ve seen all season. You could hear the entire Capital One Arena “ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing” after this one.
The “Feature” Dunk
This one makes too much sense not to happen, if you ask me. By now, everyone knows how tight Smith is with rapper J. Cole. Both Smith and J. Cole are from Fayetteville, North Carolina, or as they would refer to it, “Dreamville.” J. Cole fans like to bring up the fact that he went platinum with no features. Likewise, Smith could probably win the dunk contest without any features, but man would it be so cool to see those two doing something like this on All-Star Weekend.
So, Dennis and J. Cole, if you’re reading this, let’s make this happen — Signed, everyone.
The 360 Dunk
We’ve already re-lived one Smith dunk against the Wizards. Well, we’re not done just yet, because when the two teams met for a second time this season, this time in Dallas, Smith again put on a show. This time it was an unexpected 360 dunk on a fast break.
Again, this was an in-game dunk. Smith is just ridiculously gifted with his hops, and I can’t wait to see if he decides to bring this one out.
The Between-the-Legs Dunk
We haven't seen any in-games dunks like this from Smith — yet. However, he has shown us glimpses of his ability to pull off these dunks. During the summer, this was a clip that surfaced of him doing a nice between-the-legs dunk.
Smith is the perfect candidate to for the Dunk Contest. He’s supremely athletic and has an unbelievable 48-inch vertical. Standing at 6-foot, 3-inches tall, his dunks just look a lot cooler than they would coming from a taller player, because they seem to defy the laws of gravity.
Smith has been preparing for this moment, and now he’ll get to show off his abilities on the biggest stage. And as breathtaking as some of his dunks have been, Smith hinted that he hasn’t even been trying hard.
.@Dennis1SmithJr on the dunk contest: “I believe I can put on a show for Dallas. ... I’ve got a couple (tricks), man. You’ve got to wait and see. Warmup lines, I just be getting loose with that & trying out a couple of things. But by dunk contest time, I’ll be ready.”— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) February 2, 2018
The competition won’t be a cake walk, though. Smith will be going up against fellow high-flyers Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Larry Nance Jr. (Cavaliers) and Donovan Mitchell (Jazz). But as we all have seen on more than one occasion this season, Smith is more than capable of rising to the challenge in a big way.
Get excited, Mavericks fans, because Dennis Smith Jr. is about to put on a hell of a show.