Top 10 Dunkers in the NBA

Even though it’s only worth two points, the dunk is still the most entertaining play in basketball. The average human will never be able to dunk in their lifetime, but over in the NBA, guys are making it look easy on a nightly basis. Some players have even made names for themselves just by their dunking ability alone.

This list showcases my opinion of the top 10 dunkers in the Association. On any given night, these guys can put on a show with their athletic ability. So without further ado, I present to you the Top 10 Dunkers in the NBA!

#10: Jeff Green

SF – Boston Celtics (6’9”, 235 lbs)

Since being traded to the Celtics back in 2011, Jeff Green has solidified his position as the premier scorer on the team.

He’s also solidified his position as the best dunker on the team.

Throughout the league, it seems that many of the best dunkers are small forwards, and Green is no exception. Being that he is 6’9”, he is long enough to get over defenders, while not so tall that his vertical leap declines as a result. He also has the luxury of being set up for dunks easily with PG Rajon Rondo running the show.

Green is known more for his posterizing dunks rather than his creativity in the open floor. Defenders don’t want to get in the way of him coming down the paint. However, he falls behind the others on this list because of his lack of flashy dunks (like windmills, 360s, etc.). This doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of performing flashy dunks, but to this point he hasn’t really ever done anything like it.

#9: John Wall

PG – Washington Wizards (6’4”, 195 lbs)

Not only is he a member of what many consider to be one of the best backcourts in the NBA, John Wall is also a great dunker. Evidence below.

Wall is no exception to the recent trend of point guards that can throw it down. He has a good blend of open court style along with the occasional ability to put it down on defenders.

Wall was voted “Dunker of the Night” during last year’s 2014 All Star Dunk Contest. Given this award, he should be ranked higher, but last year’s dunk contest might have been the worst in history. Don’t get me wrong, Wall’s reverse dunk over the mascot in the battle round was nice, made even nicer that he converted on his first attempt. He is still a great dunker, but being named the Dunk Contest champion didn’t seem to mean as much as it has in past seasons.

#8: Harrison Barnes

SF – Golden State Warriors (6’8”, 225 lbs)

Harrison Barnes’s dunks are made even more exciting by the crazy reactions of the bench and the Warrior’s fans.

In one of his earliest games in his rookie season, Barnes put Wolves center Nikola Pekovic on a poster. Since this incredible dunk, he has established himself as one of the league’s best at putting it down over the defense. Like Green, his open court dunks are rather average, but the potential is there for him to one day do something amazing.

Barnes was another member of last year’s dunk contest. His two-handed windmill dunk may have been the worst in the individual round, made worse by the fact that it took him several attempts to finally put it in. (His dunk was unique however, as they recorded his movements and made it a new dunk animation for NBA 2k.) His dunk may have shown his weakness to create flashy dunks in transition. But this doesn’t take away from his incredible ability to dunk on anybody he wants to.

#7. LeBron James

SF- Cleveland Cavaliers (6’8”, 250 lbs)

His name is known by everyone. He is a four-time MVP. He is considered by most to be the best player on the planet (and to some, the best of all time). Yes, it’s LeBron.

LeBron does things that others don’t. He leaves his hometown Cavaliers, goes to the Heat, makes the finals all four years, but then decides that he wants to head BACK to the Cavs. I could rant on that for a while, but the point here is that he can dunk like others can’t. Some people even say that he might just be the most athletic person to EVER play professional sports. This will never be proven, but it really isn’t all that crazy.

I don’t rank LeBron as high as many people would want because quite honestly I don’t find his open court dunks that entertaining. He has patented the one-handed power slam that every basketball fan knows, but he doesn’t really expand beyond that. The occasional windmill or maybe a 360 changes it up, but he makes it look so easy that it doesn’t look that impressive to a hater like me. He is good at dunking on defenders too, but I think Barnes is better in that area. Maybe I’m just a hater.

#6: DeAndre Jordan

C – Los Angeles Clippers (6’11”, 265 lbs)

The first (and not the last) member of Lob City has made it to the list.

I never really knew how good of a dunker Jordan was until he ended the career of Brandon Knight above. (No his career didn’t actually end and he might even be an All Star this season.) Sure he had a huge height (and weight) advantage and Knight was in no position to contest, but that doesn’t take away from the fact the dunk was absolutely FILTHY. Some even say it’s the greatest dunk of all time.

As a center, Jordan will rarely get open court opportunities to showcase any flashy dunks. He is more famous for his ability to put it down with power on defenders, whether it be on a lob or on his own. He might just be the most athletic center in the NBA, with Dwight Howard being the only real competition. Jordan is a huge contributor to what is in my opinion the most entertaining team in the league, the LA Clippers.

#5: Eric Bledsoe

PG – Phoenix Suns (6’1”, 195 lbs)

He played college basketball alongside John Wall. He is an ex-member of Lob City. Throughout his career, Eric Bledsoe has been surrounded by other great athletic talents.

Another unique characteristic that Bledsoe possesses as a point guard is his ability to block shots. Not only does he just block shots, but he blocks some pretty good players too. Do names like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, or Tony Parker ring a bell? Yah, he’s blocked all of them. His short frame doesn’t help and he relies mainly on his incredible leaping ability to execute these blocks and dunks.

As my favorite dunker on this list, I would have liked to rank him higher, but I have to be at least somewhat fair. Bledsoe is a bit too short to truly posterize guys like Barnes or LeBron can do, but he has caught a number of great lobs over the years from Chris Paul and the rest of Lob City. He seems to float in the air when he catches these oops. His dunks in the 2013 Dunk Contest also would have been better than any in last year’s contest.

Enjoy your max contract in Phoenix, Eric Bledsoe.

#4: Paul George

SF – Indiana Pacers (6’9”, 220 lbs)

Sure, he hasn’t played this season, but Paul George was considered by many (mostly Pacers fans) to be the best dunker in the league last season.

His 360 windmill wasn’t as nice as Vince Carter’s famous one in the Dunk Contest. But he’s the only guy since that time to even do it. And he did it in a game! This dunk shows that not only can George put you on a poster, but he can also entertain you in the open floor. He’s really the first guy on this list that really excels at both (because I don’t count LeBron).

George was another participant in last year’s Dunk Contest, but the vast majority of fans considered him the best dunker in the contest. He didn’t win last year, but after several tries he finally put down a nice 360 between-the-legs windmill. I believe that he could have and should have won the contest, but he didn’t execute his dunks well. Maybe he should have even tried a different dunk. Either way, he’s still an extremely skilled athlete. Hopefully he will retain his dunking ability when he comes back from his horrific leg injury.

#3: Blake Griffin

PF – Los Angeles Clippers (6’10”, 250 lbs)

We all knew he’d make the list at some point. Blake Griffin has been in the talk as the best dunker in the NBA since entering the league as a rookie.

Early in his career, Griffin created a new verb – “Mosgoved.” It’s really a stupid verb, because the word originated from his overrated dunk on Timofey Mosgov. However, this doesn’t take away from Griffin’s freak athletic ability.

Any dunk that has ever been done, Griffin can probably do. He can dunk on you, over you, or around you. And when you aren’t around, you know he’s gonna do something special. He can catch lobs from his buddy CP3 (or even DeAndre Jordan at times) or he can just keep it himself and dunk in transition. He’s won a dunk contest and has dunked on seemingly every player in the league. Beyond his dunking ability, he’s also a great player on both ends of the floor and probably a soon-to-be MVP.

Oh yah, and Griffin is the king of Lob City.

#2: Terrence Ross

SF – Toronto Raptors (6’7”, 195 lbs)

He won the dunk contest in his very first year in the league. He’s also the second-best dunker in Raptors franchise history (behind the legendary Vince Carter, of course). Terrence Ross can do it all in the air.

The only reason Terrence Ross is a better dunker than Griffin is because he can put down the same dunks while being 3” shorter. He is a better open floor dunker but he doesn’t posterize people like Blake. Ross is another guy that makes all of his dunks look easy. One thing I love about his dunks is the fact that none of them bounce around on the rim. He gets up plenty high enough to put it straight through.

Ross has been in the league two seasons and he has been in the Dunk Contest both of those seasons. He won the first year but didn’t win last year’s mediocre contest. Nobody would be surprised if he was in the contest for the next few years, as he shows no sign of slowing down. Ross will continue to be one of the league’s elite dunkers for many years to come.

And watch out, he can shoot too! 51 points against the Clippers doesn’t happen out of nowhere.

#1: Gerald Green

SG – Phoenix Suns (6’8”, 210 lbs)

The list began with a Green and it ends with another Green. For the bulk of his early career, Gerald Green made a name for himself just by being the best dunker in the league.

Many of the guys on this list have the ability to do many dunks. But Gerald Green is the only one that HAS done every dunk. Off the backboard oops, 360s, windmills, one-handed slams, two-handed posters. You name it, he’s done it. If it weren’t for his ability to play basketball, he would have surely gone on to be a professional dunker of something of the sort.

Green is by far the most creative open floor finisher in the league. He seems to prefer windmills over anything else, but on any given play you should expect anything from him. He is not at the top in facial dunks, but that is probably due to the fact that nobody wants to contest him out of fear of being dunked on. The rest of the guys on this list are exceptional dunkers, but Gerald Green is the clear cut best dunker in the league today. He is the closest thing to Vince Carter reborn (except he can’t quite score like VC could).

So what do you guys think? Do you agree with my rankings or would you change them in any way? Did I forget any players? Let me know in the comments below!

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