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2022 Dunk Contest
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

2022 NBA Dunk Contest Preview

2022 Dunk Contest
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

A Preview of the 2022 NBA Dunk Contest

The four participants have been named for the 2022 NBA Dunk Contest, setting the stage for one of the most exciting nights in the NBA season. It will be the final event on February 19, as a part of the “State Farm All-Star Saturday Night” events. Now let’s learn a little bit about each competitor, so maybe we each have someone to root for before the night arrives.

Obi Toppin, New York Knicks

Toppin is the only participant this year who has been in the contest before, finishing in second place last year to Anfernee Simons. Toppin undoubtedly impressed with his dunks last year, leading many to believe he was “robbed” of the victory, so this year he’ll try for his revenge. Toppin was drafted with the 8th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, and has improved since his rookie season, but overall has had a little bit of a slow start to his career. Averaging just 5.6 points per game for his career, Toppin often relies on his athleticism to make plays, but he’ll have to work on his shooting and decision making if he wants his game to be pushed to a new level.

Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic

Anthony, who is the son of former NBA player Greg Anthony, will make his Dunk Contest debut in 2022. Drafted with the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, he has certainly had an impressive start to his NBA career from a per-game perspective, rising his averages to 17.8 points per game and 6.1 assists per game this season. The biggest downfall in his game currently is efficiency, where is shooting just 38.6% from the field this season. Anthony was a player who was hyped up by scouts for many years coming out of High School, and he’s been delivering with highlight-reel dunks consistently in high school, at UNC, and now in the NBA. He should be a lot of fun.

Jalen Green, Houston Rockets

There’s a reason competitors in this contest are usually young, and Jalen Green will turn 20 years old about a week-and-a-half before he competes. Green was drafted with the second overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft by the Rockets, and has had a disappointing start to his career from a production standpoint. The 14.3 points per game is certainly not bad, but making just 37.3% of his field goals is among the worst in the league and something that for sure needs to get better. Regardless, his athleticism has always been with him, and I’m the most excited to see what he can bring to the table at All-Star Weekend. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s on the level of Zach LaVine. Yes, I mean that.

Juan Toscano-Anderson, Golden State Warriors

Toscano-Anderson’s story deserves an article of its own, as just a paragraph simply doesn’t do it justice. Growing up in Oakland, California, he always rooted for the Warriors, and after becoming a high school star, he received a full scholarship to play basketball at Marquette. He struggled there, not recording even 10 points in a game until he was a junior, receiving zero NBA or overseas interest after his senior year. However, an offer to play for the Mexican National Team saved his career, and eventually allowed him to work his way onto the Santa Cruz Warriors of the G-League, and then the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. This season, Toscano-Anderson is a part of the lethal Warriors bench group that has helped lead them to a current 40-13 record. So yea, this guy is pretty easy to root for.

Regardless of who you root for, the 2022 NBA Dunk Contest should be very fun to watch, and now we wait for the three-point contest participants to be announced to see who else will highlight an exciting night.

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