Derrick Jones Jr. came thisclose to winning the Slam Dunk competition, but couldn’t finish off an impressive array of dunks in the final round.
If you want to see whole contest, where DeAndre Jordan failed to impress, Aaron Gordon completed only one of eight dunk attempts and Glenn Robinson III took home the trophy, check it out here.
This particular article is only about the Suns’ rookie Derrick Jones Jr.
If Derrick Jones Jr. wins this, he needs to be the logo for the NBA G-League.— Ridiculous Upside (@RidicUpside) February 19, 2017
I think he should STILL be the logo.
His first, but not best, dunk of the night was to jump over four teammates all ranging from 6’10” (Marquese Chriss) to 6’6” (Devin Booker).
Derrick Jones Jr. clears four teammates in the first round pic.twitter.com/dVZ4eqwD8K— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) February 19, 2017
This is my favorite picture of the dunk. Check out Booker, who’s likely thinking “please god don’t brush my head with your junk”.
Here it is from behind, starting with the gold shoes, courtesy of LB’s twitter account.
He got a perfect score on his second dunk of the first round, putting him into the lead going into the Finals.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, DERRICK JONES JR. pic.twitter.com/gipsffFl8F— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 19, 2017
Unfortunately, Jones Jr.’s Finals weren’t that great. He couldn’t finish his first dunk at all, within three tries, then he had to bring his final dunk in closer to the rim from the starting point of the free throw circle. He later was reported to have strained his achilles in that final round.
But he’s a pro, and he finished second in the dunk contest and took home $50,000 for his efforts. For a young guy who just turned 20 years old last week and on his first, rookie minimum contract, any take-home haul is worth it.
Prize money on the line for NBA All-Star Saturday Night pic.twitter.com/MFyXRnZveV— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 19, 2017
For a superstar, the top prize of $100,000 is what makes the dunk contest not worth it. On one hand, they were lucky to DeAndre Jordan into the contest. On the other, Jordan’s dunk was unimpressive and didn’t even get him into the Finals.
Per Rovell, the league’s best players would want a bigger prize to put their names into the event.
And that’s what makes this all the more exciting for a young guy like Derrick Jones Jr. who’s $50,000 prize is significant bonus to add to his league minimum contract (just under $800,000 for the season).
Here’s what might be Airplane Mode’s first autograph session ever.
Here he is talking about his rise from nothing to one of the game’s greatest dunkers.