Winner: Glenn Robinson III
Runner-Up: Derrick Jones Jr.
NEW ORLEANS — The star power and polish on stage in the past two Verizon Slam Dunk competitions might have been missing, but Glenn Robinson III didn’t have any problem finishing the 2017 competition with a bang.
The Indiana Pacers swingman outdueled Phoenix Suns rookie Derrick Jones Jr. by a score of 94-87 in the final at the Smoothie King Center, a contest that pitted two first-time participants against one another on All-Star Saturday night.
Robinson III, the son of 1994 No.1 overall pick Glenn Robinson, started the completion with a 50 and finished it the same way, executing a wicked reverse dunk over his head while jumping over three people to end the competition.
Jones Jr. had a solid final attempt, collecting a 50 on a between-the-legs windmill from just inside the foul line. But he missed all three tries on his first attempt and finished with 87 points in the championship round.
Robinson III scored a 44 on his first dunk of the final round, jumping over All-Star teammate Paul George before finishing with a compact windmill jam.
The buzz from last year’s competition was missing without two-time defending champion Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon absent from the final this time around. Gordon went into the competition the heavy favorite after he and Zach LaVine staged an epic duel for the crown last year.
LaVine, the 2016 champion in Toronto and 2015 in New York, was not scheduled to participate in this year’s contest. And he couldn’t have anyway after his season came to an early end two weeks ago when the Minnesota Timberwolves swingman tore the ACL in his left knee.
That left Gordon to try and recreate the magic the two brought from a year ago. But he wasn’t as sharp this time around, missing his first few attempts of a drone dunk before making it on his final try. He missed all three of his attempts on his second dunk of the first round and was eliminated.
Los Angeles Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan got the competition off to an interesting start, soaring over DJ Khaled and his turntables. But he didn’t make it out of the first round either.
Robinson did the cleanest work of the night, needing the fewest attempts of the entire field to claim the title.