U.S. Markets open in 5 hrs 40 mins

NBA litness test: The case for an all-rookie Slam Dunk contest

Just picture these rookies trying to out-do each other in L.A. (Getty Images)

Welcome back to the first 2018 edition of the NBA litness test, wherein we delve into what has the interwebs buzzing in the National Basketball Association. As a public service announcement, there is a thing called a litmus test. This is like that thing, but not that thing.  

The case for an all-rookie Slam Dunk contest

It might seem like the NBA season just started, but it’s already time to start thinking about All-Star weekend.

With this year’s new team selection process (Please, NBA overlords, televise the draft) and the big names that should highlight the Rising Stars game, next month’s festivities in Los Angeles provide plenty of intrigue and opportunities for off-the-charts litness levels.

But let’s talk about the Slam Dunk contest.

Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell said Thursday he’d “love” an invitation to compete, which begs the question: why not have an all-rookie contest?

Think about it.

From Mitchell to Dallas’ Dennis Smith Jr. to Golden State’s Jordan Bell to Atlanta’s John Collins to Oklahoma City’s Terrance Ferguson to Charlotte’s Dwayne Bacon, there are plenty of high-flyers to take your pick from.

For reference, let’s take a look at Mitchell’s body of work:

Mitchell is 6-foot-3, but he has an unlimited supply of bounce.

And let’s take a peek at Smith’s resume:

Smith is fearless and has been throwing down dunks since age 11. He’s even got a vote of confidence from none other than Cavs superstar LeBron James.

And who can forget the time when Bell threw a dunk contest-worthy slam in the middle of the game (and got chewed out by coach Steve Kerr about it)?

When one single self alley-oop off the backboard has the whole league shook, you know you’ve got some magic.

Elsewhere, Ferguson seemingly came out of nowhere and put on a highlight-reel performance Wednesday against the Lakers.


OK, one of his dunks features a blatant travel, but there are no such silly rules in the dunk contest.

John Collins certainly looks like a strong candidate to bring the trophy back for big men.

Don’t sleep on Bacon, who took home the title at the 2015 McDonald’s All-American game.

Think of all the amazing prop possibilities!

You can even throw Philly’s Ben Simmons and Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen into the mix. And, though he’s hurt, it’s important to mention that Sixers rookie Furkan Korkmaz once won a dunk contest in Europe where he did things like dunk while wearing a Darth Vader mask and cape.

So please, NBA powers that be, consider the rookie. (Buuuuut, with all this being said, it wouldn’t be crushing see guys like Larry Nance Jr. and Jaylen Brown duke it out.)

Honorable mentions

Knicks guard Ron Baker for taking being on the wrong side of an Anthony Davis highlight-reel dunk in stride


New Rockets guard Gerald Green for showing his appreciation for his squad (and subsequently balling out)


The Delaware 87ers for playing a game in SpongeBob-themed uniforms


Yes, that is Emeka Okafor.

LaVar Ball for founding the NBA


Team Account Tweets of the Week