The NBA D-League announced its participants for both All-Star Saturday skills competitions in Houston this coming weekend.
The stage is now set for both the Boost Mobile NBA D-League Slam Dunk Contest and Three-Point Contest. The lineup for each event is complete with some already nominated all-stars, a few of the league's most promising up and comers, and not to mention, a couple of familiar faces who are no strangers to such competitions. Here's a look at the full list of competitors.
Four gravity-defying top NBA D-League prospects will compete in the Boost Mobile NBA D-League Slam Dunk Contest, including Tony Mitchell (Fort Wayne Mad Ants), Josh Owens (Idaho Stampede), Dar Tucker (Reno Bighorns) and Glen Rice, Jr. (Rio Grande Valley Vipers). Mitchell and Tucker both recently competed in the 2013 NBA D-League Showcase Slam Dunk competition, while Owens and Rice, Jr. are new to the field.
The four Boost Mobile NBA D-League Slam Dunk Contest participants will be judged by NBA D-League alumni and Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown along with the winner of the Boost Mobile NBA D-League Sweepstakes who will travel to Houston to participate in the action. The NBA D-League Boost Mobile Sweepstakes, which ran between Jan. 3 and Jan. 27, gave fans from around the country an opportunity to be a part of NBA D-League All-Star festivities in Houston. Brown and the lucky winner will be joined by Dallas Maverick Bernard James and NBA greats Darryl Dawkins and Michael Ray Richardson as judges for the event.
2013 NBA D-League All-Stars Micah Downs (Maine Red Claws) and Marcus Landry (Reno) join 2012 NBA D-League MVP Justin Dentmon (Texas Legends) and Justin Holiday (Idaho) in the field of long range shooters for the Boost Mobile NBA D-League Three-Point Contest. Dentmon and Landry both competed in the event at the 2013 NBA D-League Showcase, while Downs and Holiday compete from behind the arc for the first time.
Each of the four competitors in the Boost Mobile NBA D-League Three-Point Contest will have 60 seconds to sink up to 25 three-pointers from five shooting stations assembled around the three-point line. Four of the stations will have four orange balls (worth one point each) and one multi-colored "money ball" worth two points, while the competition kicks into high gear as the fifth station will consist of five two-point "money balls." The shooters will compete in two rounds of action with the top two scorers from the first round advancing to the final round.
Clearly a league that (rightfully so) takes pride in their most notable alumni, it's pretty cool how the D-League is involving Shannon Brown, who has progressed from his time in the minors into becoming a spot-starter in the NBA.
It's worth noting that the champions from each respective contest during last month's NBADL Showcase (Dominique Sutton for the Slam Dunk Contest and Andy Rautins for the Three-Point Contest) will not be found defending their recently awarded titles. That said, a couple of athletes who were seen losing out to the 66ers' duo will be out next week looking for redemption.
Both Landry and Dentmon competed in last month's Three-Point Contest. Now poised to take on two other new competitors, both players will look to see if they can instead take home top honors on perhaps an even bigger stage later this week.
As far as the Slam Dunk Contest, Mitchell and Tucker were both seen throwing the rock down last month in Reno as well. There may be a lot of hype around the high-flying Mitchell, but it's also arguable that the January competition was Tucker's to let slip away, and that he did. Despite showing promise by slamming home the best individual dunk of the contest, the Bighorns guard was forced to throw down a modest dunk in the final round before time expired, due to his other failed attempts at a much more flashy and explosive rim-rattler. That's sure to be on his mind as he goes for the win in Houston.