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John Collins Favored to Win 2019 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

John Collins
John Collins has been a high-flier since his days at Wake Forest. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
  • Atlanta Hawks C/F John Collins is favored to win the 2019 NBA Slam Dunk contest
  • Collins is one of three first-time participants in the event at NBA All-Star Weekend
  • Returnee Dennis Smith Jr. of the New York Knicks finished third last year

When the stars come out to play at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte on NBA All-Star Weekend, odds are that John Collins will soar. In fact, the Atlanta Hawks center-forward is favored to soar above all others.

Bovada has pegged Collins as the chalk to win the 34th annual NBA Slam Dunk contest.

2019 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Odds

Player Odds to Win 2019 NBA Slam Dunk Contest at Bovada (02/06/19) Odds to Win 2019 NBA Slam Dunk Contest at BetOnline (02/07/19)
John Collins +120 +175
Miles Bridges +200 +250
Dennis Smith Jr. +300 +225
Hamidou Diallo +500 +300

Smith finished third in last year’s Slam Dunk contest, scoring 89 points.

Should You Put Your Benjamins on Collins?

Collins will be the first NBA Slam Cunk competitor from Atlanta since Josh Smith in 2006. Collins leads the Hawks in scoring (19.6 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg).

It’s easy to see why the 6’10” Collins would be the betting choice. All you have to do is watch this high-flier’s combination of athleticism and artistic ability as he rises above the rim and you’re immediately impressed.

The Hawks have produced four Slam Dunk winners in the history of the event, but none since Smith in 2005. Atlanta players won two of the first three NBA Slam Dunk competitions – Dominque Wilkins was a two-time winner (1985, 1990) and Spud Webb took the event in 1986 with one of the 5 best Slam Dunk Contest jams of all time.

Should You Build with Bridges?

Is there a home-court advantage in the NBA Slam Dunk contest? Charlotte forward Bridges certainly hopes that’s the case.

The 6’7″ forward is the Hornets’ first Slam Dunk participant since Gerald Wallace in 2010.

Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers in 2011 was the last to be NBA Slam Dunk champion in his home arena. Isaiah Rider of the Minnesota Timberwolves (1994) and Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls (1988) also utilized home cooking to capture an NBA Slam Dunk title.

How Much Value Is There in Experience?

Representing the Dallas Mavericks last season, Smith was eliminated in the first round when his attempt at a 360 windmill dunk went awry.

Dealt by the Mavs to the Knicks on January 31st in the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster trade, the 6’3″ guard’s old squad is also on board. Smith got the winning nod from former Dallas teammate Luka Doncic.

The trade may help Smith’s chances. Though no Knick has participated in the Slam Dunk contest since James White in 2013, Knicks have won the title four times, tied with Atlanta for the all-time lead.

Rookies Have Been Hot

Diallo was a last-minute addition to the event when Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. suffered a knee bruise, Diallo and Bridges are rookies. Rookies have won three of the last five Slam Dunk contests.

The 6’5″ Oklahoma City Thunder guard recorded a 44.5-inch maximum vertical jump at the 2017 NBA Draft Combine, the second-highest mark in event history.

The Verdict

Let’s break the tie. Collins beats Smith in the final, giving Atlanta a record five Slam Dunk crowns.

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