You know what would be amazing? If during NBA All-Star Weekend Adam Silver added an NBA Jam contest consisting of the top two players from the 16 teams with the best records. There is a 100% chance this concept would break the internet and make NBA All-Star Weekend a can’t miss event.
I debuted this NBA Jam contest idea back in 2013 when there was a lack of big names in the slam dunk contest. If you weren’t gonna give us MJ vs Dominique then the next best thing would be an NBA Jam contest. (You can check out the 2015 version here.)
Now it’s time for the 2016 edition of the NBA Jam Contest. Everything with the format stays the same. There’s no third player on each team (to keep things simple), games are play to 7 win by two or first to 10 straight up, and seeding is based on current win-loss record as of Feb 11, 2016 at 2 pm.
1- Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson +300
3- Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook +350
4- Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James/Kyrie Irving +350
2- San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi Leonard/LaMarcus Aldridge +400
6- Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Paul/DeAndre Jordan +550
10- Miami Heat: Dywane Wade/Chris Bosh +600
5- Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry/DeMar DeRozan +650
7- Memphis Grizzlies: Zach Randolph/Mike Conley +700
13- Chicago Bulls: Pau Gasol/Derrick Rose +800
11- Indiana Pacers: Paul George/Monta Ellis +850
12- Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki/Deron Williams +900
9- Atlanta Hawks: Paul Millsap/Al Horford +1,000
16- Detroit Pistons: Reggie Jackson/Andre Drummond +1,100
14- Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker/Nicolas Batum +1,200
15- Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard/C.J. McCollum +1,300
8- Boston Celtics: Isaiah Thomas/Jae Crowder +1,500
Here’s the podcast that Jason & I shot discussing the teams whose odds we like, which upsets could happen, and what we like best about the NBA Jam contest concept.
Just seeing these odds gives me a sports boner. Oh the possibilities.
Here’s what the bracket would look like. I kept with the same format we’d see in March Madness.
1- Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson
16- Detroit Pistons: Reggie Jackson/Andre Drummond
The Warriors are currently on a historic pace, Steph Curry is putting together another MVP season, and every game the Warriors play is a highlight real of awesomeness. They are like if NHL overtime had a wet dream.
In the opening round they get a relatively easy matchup against one of the few Big & Little teams out there. Andre Drummond no doubt is a size mismatch, but Klay Thompson is 6’7″ and is a phenomenal defender. I don’t see any way the Pistons are able to stop the Warriors offensively given the speed and ability to get a quick shot off.
The first real threat to the Warriors wouldn’t happen until the third round when they’d likely play the LeBron/Kyrie Cavs (which is something I’d pay $50 on pay-per-view to watch.)
8- Boston Celtics: Isaiah Thomas/Jae Crowder
9- Atlanta Hawks: Paul Millsap/Al Horford
Apologies for dissing Avery Bradley, who has a slightly higher ppg average than Jae Crowder (15.1 vs 14.1), but with 5’9″ Isaiah Thomas leading the team in scoring the Celtics need the versatility of the 6’6″ Jae Crowder if they are going to have any chance of winning one game.
(Note: the initial rules stated that NBA Jam selections would be made based on ppg. However, exceptions can be made in a “for the good of the game” clause.)
Isaiah Thomas is actually kind of interesting because of his quickness and ability to score. Unfortunately he is the biggest defensive liability in this entire contest (Damian Lillard celebrates) because of his lack of size, which is one thing this Hawks team has.
The duo of Paul Millsap and Al Horford are unique in this NBA Jam contest as they are 6’8″ and 6’10” respectively. They’d need to create a bruising style to punish teams with smaller guards, like the Celtics. They are without someone to handle the rock, which is a glaring weakness, and after the first round they’d run into a Warriors squad that would be too fast too furious.
5- Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry/DeMar DeRozan
12- Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki/Deron Williams
This is a sneaky good matchup as you’ve got crazy good guard play in Lowry/DeRozan vs the old man games of Dirk & D Will. This matchup solely rests on Dirk’s ability to be the most dominant player on the court, and to not get torched defensively.
I like that DeRozan is 6’7″ for whatever that’s worth.
4- Cleveland Cavaliers: LeBron James/Kyrie Irving
13- Chicago Bulls: Pau Gasol/Derrick Rose
This looks like an easy victory for the Cavs duo, especially with the Bulls leading scorer Jimmy Butler not participating. You’d rather have Kyrie over Derrick Rose and LeBron is big enough that he could at least challenge Pau in the post. However, on the flip side there is zero chance that Pau is stopping LeBron.
The Cavs without question are a top three best NBA Jam team, with a strong case for them being the best. Could this be LeBron’s first title that he brings Cleveland? Drew Carey hopes so.
6- Los Angeles Clippers: Chris Paul/DeAndre Jordan
11- Indiana Pacers: Paul George/Monta Ellis
The Clippers squad would be better suited with the more versatile Blake Griffin but because he is out with an injury DeAndre Jordan gets the nod. DeAndre Jordan was made for NBA Jam with the way he throws it down and with CP3 crossing ankles and acting like a general they’d make for a tough out.
The team of Paul George and Monta Ellis are mercurial. I love Paul George’s versatility and Monta Ellis’ ability to score. The problem being having to rely on Monta Ellis to be consistent, which will be tough considering that Paul George is the alpha dog on this team.
3- Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant/Russell Westbrook
14- Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker/Nicolas Batum
At +350 KD and Russ would be my bet to win it all. Defensively I don’t know how you’d stop them and defensively they are big enough and long enough to withstand any matchup. I recommend that Adam Silver have some extra backboards handy because Russ & DeAndre might shatter a few in their second round matchup.
I’d give the edge to KD and Russ in the third round over the Spurs as I don’t think that LaMarcus Aldridge could hang.
Charlotte doesn’t stand a chance here but I would enjoy Kemba Walker taking every shot. He’d be much better suited for the one-on-one contest though (which is something I broke down back in 2013.)
7- Memphis Grizzlies: Zach Randolph/Mike Conley
10- Miami Heat: Dywane Wade/Chris Bosh
Due to an injury to Marc Gasol Z-Bo gets the call up. This Memphis squad would have had a better chance against someone like the Clippers (CP3/DeAndre) than Wade and Bosh. The Heat crew knows how to turn it on when it matters, they are crafty (like a thumb to the eye), and if there’s a title to be won you know Pat Riley is gonna find a way to get one.
2- San Antonio Spurs: Kawhi Leonard/LaMarcus Aldridge
15- Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard/C.J. McCollum
Nice subplot of LaMarcus Aldridge playing against his former squad.
This Trail Blazers squad is one of the smallest in the contest (6’3″ & 6’4″) and their only chance would be using their quickness. Problem being Kawhi Leonard is an ace defensively, among other things. Aldridge’s offensive game suits this format well and per usual this Spurs team would play unselfish ball.
I really like the potential second round matchup vs the Heat. The problem for Miami would be that the Spurs are just a younger version of who they were in their prime(ish).
I want to hear from you. Which team would you bet on to win this NBA Jam contest? Are there any teams whose value you particularly like? Any storylines stand out to you? Let me know on Snapchat @baconsports or firstname.lastname@example.org.