Reigning Slam Dunk Contest champion Zach LaVine gave those eagerly awaiting his title defense a “Hitchcockian” preview of what he has in store for Saturday’s showdown at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
The Minnesota Timberwolves swingman posted a video clip on his Instagram account Thursday, a quick cut that only appears to show the bouncy high flyer tossing an alley-oop off the backboard to himself with teammate and rookie forward Karl-Anthony Towns reacting to the executed dunk.
LaVine’s cleverly trying to build up hype and mystery around his dunk repertoire, but while he’s an overwhelming 1/3 favorite to win, it may be too hard to build on his incredible showcase from last year. LaVine breathed new life into the contest after several sub-par to disappointing years, soaring easily through the air with behind the back and between the legs moves that no one had seen before.
The clip so far has garnered nearly 20,000 likes from fellow Instagram users, and it could serve as a warning to LaVine’s competition, Orlando forward Aaron Gordon, Denver guard Will Barton, and Detroit center Andre Drummond.
All of LaVine’s competition are new to the contest, and thus far they’ve kept quiet about their plans.While Gordon and Drummond have remained mum on the contest on social media, the NBA tried to help Barton flaunt some of his moves on social media, showing a collage of photos of the fourth-year guard prepping for his debut in the contest.
— NBA (@NBA) February 12, 2016
The contest will serve as the main event for this year’s All-Star Weekend. LaVine will start his defense following the Skills Challenge and the Three-Point Shooting Contest.
The rules of contest haven’t changed since last year. It will be a two-round tournament with each contestant receiving three attempts per round to complete a dunk with no time limit. In the first round players get two dunks, and the two best combined scores more on to the final round. The players then received two more dunks and the best total score wins. Each will face five judges who can score a dunk between 6 to 10 points
Odds to Win 2016 Slam Dunk Contest via Sportsbook.ag
Zach LaVine, G, Minnesota Timberwolves 1/3
Aaron Gordon, F, Orlando Magic 9/2
Will Barton, G, Denver Nuggets 11/2
Andre Drummond, C, Detroit Pistons 10/1