Fundamentals in basketball are essential and to a certain degree, they are underrated. It’s always refreshing to see a guy who has all the techniques down because it shows a true respect for the game. In fact, most championship teams are winners because their best players are fundamentally sound.
But, let’s cut to the chase. Aside from hardcore basketball fans, most people don’t get excited about a guy who keeps the ball high after grabbing a rebound in traffic or a guy who can bank a corner 15-footer. People get hyped when a guy nearly tears down the rim with a powerful dunk, or routinely dunks on lowly defenders. With that said, here are my top 5 game dunkers in the league today.
#5 Russell Westbrook
Russell is a very underrated dunker. As a relatively young player in the NBA, he doesn’t have a decade worth of dunks yet. However, in the sample size that we have with him so far, it’s clear that he is one of the most athletic guys in the league. To be perfectly honest, we only privy to Russell’s talents because he plays with reigning scoring champ, Kevin Durant, and all eyes are on that team as a result. But in fairness, since we’re watching them anyway, Russell has proven that he is not to be taken lightly.
#4 Amar’e Stoudemire
The career-long knock on Amar’e is that he’s somewhat of a lazy rebounder. That’s because he is. His detractors feel as if his microfracture surgery has something to do with that. Rebounding aside and his microfracture surgery aside, you can’t tell me that he still doesn’t throw down some of the best dunks in the league all these years later.
#3 Dwyane Wade
I almost feel as if Wade is a deceptive dunker. He’ll sometimes move somewhat slowly to the rim, then explode out of nowhere. Just ask Anderson Verajao from last year. Some guys are either better dunker off of one leg, or two legs. One or the other. Wade does well in both scenarios.
#2 Dwight Howard
It’s not just because he a frontcourt player. It’s because his dunks speak for themself. If there was a league-wide competition of who could dunk the tallest rim, I’d bet that he’d win that.
#1 LeBron James
For as great a dunker as he is, I actually feel like he holds back sometimes. In particular, he does his patented one handed semi-windmill dunk on fastbreasks when he has so much more in him. That’s the scary part.
Obviously there are a bunch of extraordinary athletes in the NBA so, of course, guys had to get snubbed. Who would you add and who would you remove from this list of 5?
(In case you’re wondering where Kobe is, I don’t think he’s a top 5 dunker any longer. Best player in the league however? Yes.)
If you’re looking for your everyday, predictable basketball talk, then go somewhere else, because Kevin Burke of The Kevin Burke Project brings provocative, thought provoking content about basketball as only he can. Kevin also hosts The Hoop Doctors weekly podcast show, which you can subscribe to for free on iTunes.