Dunk HQ

Lillard is no small wonder


VIDEO: Damian Lillard’s top dunks

We are clearly in a golden age of point guards in the NBA.

There’s explosive floor generals like Russell Westbrook, John Wall and Derrick Rose. Slick distributors like Chris Paul. Sharpshooters like Stephen Curry.

And then you have Damian Lillard, a well-rounded point guard who hasn’t met a paint he can’t penetrate, nor a rim he can’t detonate.

Just take a look at what he’s been able to do this season when he puts himself in position to finish at the basket. I’m sure every opponent’s game plan makes the note, but it begs repeating: You have to keep Lillard out of the paint. Or trouble awaits.

Air Korver, cleared for launch


VIDEO: Korver dunks — again!

In case you’ve missed it, the Hawks have been nothing to play with as the Pacmen have racked up 16 straight wins and counting.

They’ve been getting the job done with everything from top-notch ball movement to lock-down defense to lights-out shooting.

And then Kyle Korver happened.

No, not from downtown like we’ve come to expect from the sharpshooting deep threat. Instead, Korver took to the air and stole the show with a rare jam.

But wait! There’s more!

Who knows if Korver popped in Jay-Z’s “Encore” before the Hawks’ Jan. 23 game against the Thunder. But as if his comfort level with the sky was on the rise, he served up a second helping of Korver Slam for good measure. And this time he threw it down with two hands, no less.

The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest may be more of a calling for Korver in a few weeks, but after these two jams, it would be something else if the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest invited Korver after his aerial display of, uh, “excellence”.

 

Here comes PG …


VIDEO: Paul George dunks

Don’t look now, but Paul George is clearly on his way back.

And if this new footage, which shows the current state of his recovery from a gruesome broken leg, means anything, the 2014 All-Star will not only be throwing down dunks like he did last summer in no time, but the Pacers will be getting back a crucial piece to their puzzle.

Here’s to PG-13. Salute. Keep it up. And hopefully we’ll see you shortly.

Let the little guys go


VIDEO: Archie Goodwin’s facial

A lot of times, players blessed with height absorb the spotlight when it comes to throwing it down. Then there are times when we are completely wow’ed when a diminutive guy (in basketball terms, anyway) gets up and lets loose on the basket.

Enter Suns guard Archie Goodwin. (You mean there’s more than Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas in the Land of the Sun?)

Not to be outdone, Stephen Curry recently got in on the airborne fun and added a little bash to his splash with an open-court slam that I’m sure most of us figured was going to be a simple layup. Way to keep us guessing.


VIDEO: Stephen Curry gets up

 

Backboard déjà vu


VIDEO: Gerald Green does it for self

We’ve seen Tracy McGrady put his creativity to use. Many times.

Vince Carter took it to another level.

Dwight Howard even added his own Superman touch to it.

And now, once again, Dunk HQ legend Gerald Green is writing a new chapter in the “Do It Yourself”, pass-off-the-backboard-for-a-slam manual.

This spur-of-the-moment play is nothing new for Green, who stunned the Blazers last season with something similar. This time, it’s the Magic who are the victim of Green’s “make a way out of no way” thought process.

Let the scouting report show: it’s probably best if opponents don’t let Green step through and around them at the right elbow.

Flying the Green skies


VIDEO: Jeff Green’s dunks

As NBA legend Tommy Heinsohn called the Celtics-Suns game last night, one could argue that he might have caught a slight glimpse of Celtics past. Now, in no way are we comparing this current Celtics group to that of Heinsohn’s championship heyday. But, as was prevalent during those winning days of the 60s, the Boston fast break (23 points on the night) was in full effect.

And Jeff Green was the man with the finishing plan.

His fast break dunk package had it all: soaring grace, a two-handed slam off a sweet Rajon Rondo feed and a DIY facial on Marcus Morris.

Although Phoenix picked up the 118-114 win, the sky had quite a Green tint to it.

 

Don’t put Klay in a box


VIDEO: Klay Thompson serves up a facial

Apparently Klay Thompson likes a little bounce with his splash.

Yeah, the man, alongside fellow Splash Brother Stephen Curry, can flat out shoot the ball. But when you see Thompson take the ball off the dribble and throw it down on Blazers big man Robin Lopez, it shows that Thompson may have more in common with Minnesota’s new Bounce Brothers (rookies Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine) than we originally thought.

Plays like this could eventually force The StartersTas Melas to come around on Thompson. One dimensional? Not so fast, my friend.

The New James In Miami


VIDEO: James Ennis delivers the boom

Well, that didn’t take long. On just the second day of the 2014-15 season, we already have a dunk worthy of a couple of extra looks.

Enter Miami’s new James, James Ennis.

The Heat rookie officially put his name on the NBA map Wednesday night after finishing off a play that in recent years has become a staple in Miami: the fastbreak. During these recent years, it was usually LeBron James doing the finishing. As we know, his days in South Beach are over.

The days of the Miami posterizer apparently are not.

Oh, Rasual Butler, you didn’t think you were getting off the hook, did you? It’s been said time and time again: taking a charge when in position to potentially get dunked on rarely works. D up or get out of the way! #NoCharges

Do it for the Vine, LaVine

If you haven’t gotten the chance to check out the dunking exploits of new Wolves rookie Zach LaVine, All Ball guru Lang Whitaker has already provided the proper introduction.

What I’m going to do is take this a BIG step forward: Given what I’ve seen from this UCLA skywalker, both on the collegiate level and in the early stages of his NBA career, I’m going out on a limb to say that LaVine will go down as one of the best dunkers we’ve ever seen in the NBA.

You know what? As blasphemous as it may sound, LaVine might be the most exciting we’ve ever seen when it’s all said and done. Write it down. Take a picture. Hang it on your refrigerator.

I know, I know, I know. The man hasn’t even taken his first dribble in a meaningful professional game. But let’s take a quick look at why LaVine is and will be the new standard bearer of slam:

Height: The first — and quite frankly, only — names that come to mind in comparison to the air that LaVine gets is Vince Carter in his early days and Gerald Green of today. We’re talking nose-high level to the rim. Getting that kind of elevation definitely has an impact on …

Style: Nothing makes a dunk stand out quite like flair. In LaVine’s case, he has a great deal of smoothness and airborne creativity about him. As mentioned before, his crazy hang time allows him to do things in the air that run-of-the-mill dunkers just don’t have the time to pull off.

The perfect blend of these two factors? How about a windmill from the free-throw line. Yes, you read that right. The free-throw line. Allow that to marinate while we wait for the upcoming season.

And you know what sets this all off? He’s just getting started. We’ll definitely be watching, Zach. Both up in Minnesota and at NBA All-Star 2015 in New York, where we assume you’ll be taking center stage in the Sprite Dunk Contest.


VIDEO: Zach LaVine puts on a dunk show at Summer League

 

PG drops another one

Things didn’t go the way the Pacers had hoped for last season. There was another flame-out to the team they were out to take down, their Eastern Conference nemesis Miami Heat. Now free agency and trade rumors are creeping their way into the mix and threaten to cause a serious shake-up in Indiana.

Much of that, however, is out of the hands of Pacers All-Star Paul George. While he, the Pacers and the NBA wait for the dust to settle on the craziness that is the season of free agency, George continues to work on perfecting the 360-windmill dunk that he’s recently taken on as his own.

Similar to the days of the NBA lockout, many NBA players take advantage of Pro-ams and high-caliber summer tournaments like the Drew League to not only keep their games tight, but to also put on a show. Even in the offseason, George seems to still have that aspect of the game on lock.