Chase Budinger will compete in the NBA's dunk contest at All-Star weekend in Orlando.
Chandler Parsons can’t get an invite to the NBA’s Rising Stars rookies-sophomores All-Star challenge next weekend, but Chase Budinger will be in Orlando to take part in the dunk contest.
Budinger, the Rockets’ 6-foot-7 reserve shooting specialist, will be one of four competing in what looks to be an underwhelming group. New York’s Iman Shumpert, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Derrick Williams and the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George also were picked to dunk away. To go along with an obscure class, the league also announced that the contest will “consist of only one round and each competitor will execute three dunks. Fan voting will open after all four players have completed their first dunk. Previously, the contest consisted of two rounds, with the first round scored by a panel of judges which determined two finalists. Beginning this year, only fan voting will be utilized in determining the winner and voting will also expand to social media. For the first time ever, fans will be able to cast votes on Twitter by posting a corresponding letter assigned to each dunker along with the hashtag #SpriteSlam.”
Basically, what they’re trying to do is find any way possible so that fans just stop watching the contest altogether. This used to be a great event to look forward to, but not anymore I guess. It’s particularly disappointing after last year’s spectacle won by Blake Griffin, but that also included stellar showings from DeMar DeRozan and JaVale McGee. But, I digress.
The good news is at least a Rocket will be participating in all-star festivities. The intriguing news is that guy is Chase Budinger. Out of his 7.5 field goal attempts, only 2.2 come at the rim this season. In fact, a greater percentage – 3.4 – come from beyond the arc. Dunks account for only 3 percent of Budinger’s shot attempts. It would’ve made total sense if he was picked for the 3-point shootout. But the dunk contest?
While Budinger is indeed athletic, he is nothing dynamic when taking it to the hole. I don’t mean to dump on the guy, but it’s just a really odd choice. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s got something up his sleeve.
Here’s a mix I found of Bud to give you an idea of his hops. Yes, the mix was made in December 2010.
I’m happy for Bud, and particularly happy for the Rockets, who definitely deserved to be represented at All-Star weekend. It’s not his fault he got picked, and I’m sure he’ll relish being the underdog. At least I’ll have someone to cheer for that weekend, that’s for sure.
For those wondering, the last time a Rocket qualified in the dunk contest was Steve Francis in 2000.
By the way, here’s Chase’s thoughts on the selection, via Rockets.com: