Look, it's not that I didn't think the short guy in the dunk contest wasn't cool. When they did it. And it's not that I didn't dig the awkward white dude. When they did it. And hey, I think Russell Westbrook and Rudy Fernandez could put on a show. But I've got a better idea for the fourth competitor.
I think you know where this is headed.
On the Friday before the All-Star game, the night before the Dunk Contest, the D-League will hold it's Dream Factory exhibition with a HORSE contest, a skills contest, and a dunk contest. Last year's winner, Brett Petway, narrowly edged out now-Clipper Mike Taylor. Here's one view. Here's another.
Now, I know these guys can't play defense like NBA starters can. They can't stay focused, knock down 18 footers, break the trap, or work the screen like NBA starters can. But dunking is different. It's a different animal, born from a different place than defensive rotations and curl screens. It's more emotive. And the guys in the D-League are going to have a whole different set of emotions.
Here's what you do. The D-League dunk contest winner is put into the actual dunk contest as a regular competitor. He isn't allowed to use any dunk used the night before. A league representative is there to check, and if he does, he's disqualified. This puts the advantage even more firmly in the hands of the NBA guys.
Imagine it. An undrafted rookie or a veteran journeyman who's bounced around in the dunk contest, trying to outdo Dwight Howard and Rudy Gay for the dunk title. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved. If the D-Leaguer fails, he'll probably fail miserably, cementing how superior a product the NBA is. Bloggers get to post video and mock him. And every year that the D-League guy doesn't pull it off, it starts the streak. So whenever someone gets close, they can flash that graphic.
"NO D-LEAGUE ENTRANT HAS EVER WON THE DUNK CONTEST."
And it builds suspense. So when someone actually does pull it off, it's a huge deal (if ever).
And think about that. What if he does well enough to warrant votes? America and the world will go bonkers for him! That's a fantastic story.
It hurts the league but not at all, lets them focus on the good players, and provides an instant story. There's nothing more ridiculous than the D-League, except for maybe the Dunk Contest.
Let's make this happen.