This weekend's Slam Dunk Contest is all about Blake Griffin, as the powerful Los Angeles Clippers rookie is a huge favorite in the annual exhibition.
Other than Griffin this year's Slam Dunk Contest doesn't boast the big names that the event has seen in the past. That just one reason why Griffin is a heavy -275 favorite in the contest over at . If you want to see the other reason head over to YouTube and search for Blake Griffin dunks.
Joining Griffin in the dunk contest are Toronto's DeMar DeRozan, Washington's JaVale McGee, and Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka. DeRozan is the only competitor in this year's contest that has been in the event before and he follows Griffin on the NBA odds at at +275. DeRozan was in the dunk contest last year and made it to the final where he lost to three-time champion Nate Robinson.
The longshots in the competition are McGee at +600 and Ibaka at +750. The seven-foot McGee has the height to pull off some spectacular dunks but he lacks the notoriety of Griffin, which will likely hurt him in the fan voting. The same goes for Ibaka, who might not have been heard of by the casual NBA fan.
Before the NBA's high-flyers soar in the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night the league's sharpshooters square off in the Three-Point Shootout. The favorites in this year's shootout are a pair of Celtics, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. Pierce won last year's shootout but he's actually an underdog to Allen at at 3/1.
Allen is a Three-Point Shootout veteran, having taken part in the competition five times previously and winning in 2001. Earlier this season Allen broke Reggie Miller's record for career three-pointers and he also has the top three-point percentage this season among all competitors in the contest. That's why Allen is a 2/1 favorite at .
Challenging Pierce and Allen in the shootout will be Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Cleveland's Daniel Gibson, Miami's James Jones, and Golden State's Dorell Wright. From that group the best odds are going to Durant at 4/1. Durant isn't known for his prowess for shooting from beyond the arc, and his current 33.8% from three-point range is the worst of his career since his rookie year, so he may not be the best pick for your money.
Daniel Gibson is the only participant other than Pierce and Allen to take part in the shootout before. In 2008 Gibson made it to the finals and ended up finishing second to champ Jason Kapono. At the oddsmakers have tagged Gibson at 5/1, and considering he has the second best three-point percentage in the field this season he could be a nice value pick.
The odds on the rest of the shootout field at include Wright at 9/2 and Jones at 11/2.