Early NBA dunk contest primer: Gordon, Oladipo return in loaded field

Gordon Hoping Third Time's A Charm in Dunk Contest

Gordon Hoping Third Time's A Charm in Dunk Contest

He'll be going up against a star-studded lineup of shooters, including defending Three-Point Contest champion Eric Gordon of Houston and 2016 champ Klay Thompson of Golden State.

Oladipo will be looking to become the second consecutive Indiana Pacer to win the Slam Dunk Contest.

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This will be the third straight appearance for Aaron Gordon, who shocked the world when he went toe-to-toe with LaVine in Toronto and established himself as the NBA's premier dunk contest big man. Gordon put up three flawless scores in that contest, and one dunk he had over the Magic mascot Stuff the Magic Dragon was one of the most awesome dunks we've ever seen. Just look above at the dunk highlights the Dallas Maverick has already put together in 44 National Basketball Association games.

Nance has missed out on the opportunity to compete in the dunk contest the last few years due to injury but this time, the high-flyer is healthy and ready to put on a show in Los Angeles. Last season, Oladipo won the Dunk of the Year in voting by fans for the inaugural NBA Awards. The North Carolina State product is averaging 14.8 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebound per game.

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As a rookie and a point guard, is a very interesting, but very worthy participant in this year's field. The dunk contest is a big-time stage for a rookie, but you can see with the authority Smith throws down those jams that he's definitely not lacking in confidence. Apart from the unreal bounce and sheer athleticism that got him drafted fourth overall in 2014, Gordon also brings a creativity and flair to his contest dunks.

But the Lakers forward is an accomplished dunker in his own right, and in his third season has already earned a reputation for putting opponents on posters. The event will take place at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, Feb. 17, and be shown live on TNT.

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