Previewing the slam-dunk contest

The dunk contest is still the crown jewel of All-Star Saturday. It can be a terrible, bloated mess, made worse by cackling announcers yelling at us about how the slam-dunk Contest is "back" (year after year), but it can also legitimately be the most fun you'll have in front of a TV until the playoffs start.

And, on basic cable in the middle of February on a Saturday night? Who's getting harmed by this fun? Or folly?

So don't mind, when they tell you the contest is dead. It's been pretty terrible at times for years. It's also been quite the show, I'd venture to say, twice as much for just as long. It's hit and miss. And, again, on a Saturday night in February. No static at all.

If you've never heard of Zander Hollander, well, there's no shame in that. For decades, Hollander produced a yearly NBA almanac that dove into the details behind every player in ellipses format. And in a tribute to his dry stylings, we humbly submit the participants in the 2011 NBA dunk contest:

DeMar DeRozan(notes), Toronto Raptors

A disappointment in 2010, betraying his hops and wits. ...Trying to get it right this time. ...Able to go off of either foot, with the ability to either pull a near 360, or some impressive Terence Stansbury action. ...In a contest full of bigs, will try to bring it home for all the wings.

Blake Griffin(notes), Los Angeles Clippers

Power with either hand. ...The ability to jump off of two legs, with the quickness of a one-leg bounder. ...Hands, hops and the height to make it all look otherworldly. ...The reason many of you are tuning in. ...The one to beat. ...More importantly? The reason to hope.

Serge Ibaka(notes), Oklahoma City Thunder

Can jump, but will have props. ...No props from us.

He has one day to reconsider.

JaVale McGee(notes), Washington Wizards

Certified dingbat, guaranteed reason to watch the train roll by. .. Length and jumping ability to drool over, with the ability to either pull off a dunk we've never seen before, or a goofball Chris Andersen(notes)-styled meltdown that could set the Internet on fire. ...Or, he could just miss a bunch of dunks.

Whatta you reckon?