With the minor chaos that surrounded this week’s announcement of the impending NBA G-League, this weekend seems like a good time to take a break from the action. That break will come courtesy of the events of the NBADL All-Star Saturday afternoon. While the “main event” of those festivities will come courtesy of the All-Star Game, most D-League fans will have their attention focused on the Three-Point Contest and Dunk Contest.
That anticipation is due to how D-League fans have been spoiled over the last few years with either event. Just last season, D-League fans had the opportunity to watch then-LA D-Fenders guard Andre Ingram just buried Jimmer Fredette by putting up 27 out of a possible 30 points during the final round of the three-point contest.
The excitement continued during the D-League dunk contest as 5’9 John Jordan just rocked the Air Canada Centre with a slew of tremendous dunks that would make Nate Robinson proud.
This year should be no different as a slew of talented competitors will compete in each event. With the great array of talent that will be on display, it could be tough to predict who will win in either event. However, Ridiculous Upside has never been afraid of doing something that could possibly make us fall flat on face in embarrassment. So without further ado, here’s our predictions for the front-runners in the NBA D-League Slam Dunk and Three-Point Contest.
Derek Cooke - Northern Arizona Suns
Last week, we highlighted the top dunks from each of the competitors from this year’s dunk contest. While each competitor maintains an incredible resume of slam dunks, Derek Cooke is the one dunker that stood out to me the most. Due to his incredible combination of hang time and strength, Cooke is type of dunker that just loves to intimidate the opposition with rim-rattling slams whenever his feet leave the ground.
While we’ve never had the opportunity to see Cooke compete in any prior dunk contest, we’re still confident that he’ll be successful on Saturday afternoon. Because if he can pull of dunks like this, is there anybody that can really stop him?
Sleeper: Trahson Burrell - Long Island Nets
To be honest, Long Island Nets forward Burrell actually stands as one of the more overlooked players in the NBA D-League even when we look past the dunk contest. During the first half of the season, Burrell impressed by putting up 12.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists from the field on 49% from the field and 34% from beyond the arc. Within that first part of the season, Burrell also showcased himself to be a pretty creative dunker. Some of the best examples of Burrell’s dunking prowess is seen in the play below.
Scott Wood - Santa Cruz Warriors
While this year’s 3-point contest features a vast array of solid sharp-shooters, Scott Wood stands as the undeniable favorite. That’s due to Wood shooting an incredible 44% from beyond the arc on 8.15 perimeter attempts per game. That efficiency is helped by the fact that Wood stands as a solid shooter on any part of the perimeter that’s not near the top of the key.
Coinciding with that solid perimeter efficiency, Wood has an incredibly quick release that will prove to be very helpful during this weekend’s competition.
Sleeper: Reggie Hearn - Reno Bighorns
Since he made his way to the Reno Bighorns during the 2015-16 season, Reggie Hearn has stood as one of the more reliable shooters in the NBA D-League. Over the last two years, Hearn has an unbelievable 45% from beyond the arc on around 6 perimeter attempts per game. While he stands as one of the lesser-known players in this year’s competition, Hearn definitely stands as a possible player that could really pull out a victory in Saturday’s competition.
All-Star Game MVP
Quinn Cook - Canton Charge
If you’ve been following Ridiculous Upside since the 2015-16 season, you probably know that we’re pretty big fans of Quinn Cook. Just last week, we featured a profile piece on Cook and why he should be in the NBA. A lot of that praise is due to how Cook has just been dominating the NBA D-League in recent weeks. Over the last 10 games, Cook has put up 28 points and 8.5 assists on 52% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc. Cook’s recent outburst as a scorer and facilitator is the biggest reason behind us predicting that he’ll be the NBADL All-Star Game MVP.