Rating each dunk in the McDunkContest

Doug McDermott dunks the ball for the Indiana Pacers (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
Doug McDermott dunks the ball for the Indiana Pacers (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Doug McDermott has been throwing down some dunks for the Indiana Pacers this season. Let’s turn them into a spectacle.

Over 20 percent of the dunks in Doug McDermott‘s career have come as a member of the Indiana Pacers. When he joined the team, most expected him to be a three-point sniper and elite cutter, but nobody expected him to be rattling rims with Earth-shattering throwdowns.

McDermott threw down his first dunk in the inaugural game of the 2018-19 season against the Memphis Grizzlies. At that moment, my Twitter timeline was filled with enthusiasm. Well, at least a small niche of it. Nobody thought they would see a play like that from McDermott all year long.

The hype around the dunk inspired Pacers Twitter video guru Marc Schutz to make a sensational movie about the dunk:


That video was just the first of many. That day, thanks in large part to Marc, I coined the hashtag “#McDunkContest”, and now every McDermott dunk has become a spectacle worthy of reliving.

Meanwhile, it is the All-Star break, and there was just an actual dunk contest. But there weren’t any Pacers in the event (or any event), so fans of Indiana’s team need a dunk contest to watch.

Let’s do it. Right here. Doug McDermott versus… Doug McDermott.

In the actual dunk contest, the final round features 4 dunks. As much as I would like to review all 10 McDermott slams from this season, we are going to stick to that 4 number for entertainment purposes. Here we go.

Round 1, Dunk 1.

November 26th, 2018. Indiana Pacers versus the Utah Jazz – in Utah. Early in the 4th quarter, the Pacers were up 17. They had this game won, but Doug McDermott decided to give the team one more push of momentum to seal the deal.

McDermott cut around Domantas Sabonis to receive a handoff… but it was faked! McBuckets then cut toward the basket the other direction around Sabonis, receiving a pitch pass as he sprung toward the rim.

Joe Ingles wanted to have other plans. He flew other from the weak side and attempt to block the jam, only to be dunked on by the spry Douggie.

A Cowboy Bebop reference? That’s quality content.

Give McDermott a ton of credit. He used a teammate to receive the pass AND had to dunk over an obstacle, but he had no problems. This masterpiece deserves a great score.

The verdict: 9/10

Round 1, Dunk 2

Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Doug McDermott’s greatest nemesis…

Indiana Pacers versus Cleveland Cavaliers. December 18th, 2018. Yep, that game.

This game was brutal. The Pacers lost on a buzzer beater, a fate that they have been commonly on the other side of over the past two seasons. This evening was not theirs. But it was a great night for a McDunkContest entry.

After 16 minutes of play, the Pacers had amassed just 23 points, and they needed a spark. Look no further than the Pacers dunk master himself.

Similar to the first dunk, McDermott cut to receive a handoff from Domantas Sabonis. This time, he got the initial handoff and had a sizeable amount of space in front of him in the lane. Channing Frye was his only obstacle.

Even if you consider McDermott slow, Frye is a tortoise and Doug blew by him and rose up for a dunk. Frye looked for a second like he may jump and get dunked on like Ingles in the first slam, but the veteran kept his feet planted as McDermott smashed the rim.

The cursed Motorola patch was a perfect touch on this McDunkContest video. All in all, this dunk was very similar to the first one, with a similar entry pass and an obstacle. But this one had a less substantial obstacle, and we have to ding Doug for that.

The verdict: 8/10

Round 2, Dunk 1

Indiana Pacers versus Sacramento Kings. Bankers Life Fieldhouse. December 8th, 2018.

Both Pacers vs Kings games this season were a battle, and this one had been raging for a while. It was the middle of the third quarter in a tight game, and the Pacers found themselves down 3. There’s only one solution to this problem.

They needed to open up a can of w̶h̶o̶o̶p̶ ̶a̶s̶s̶ McDunkContest if they were going to get this game in order. And they did.

With the score 65-68, Domantas Sabonis (what a guy for being McDermott’s dunk contest partner) was surveying the floor. McDermott, being guarded by Buddy Hield, realized his matchup had fallen asleep, so he hit him with a spectacular back cut.

But this time, he was met by TWO defenders at the basket. As the result would show, however, I don’t think either of them expected McBuckets to elevate for a dunk.

This one, for those unaware, is a reference to the popular video game Super Smash Bros, which had just had a new version released around the time of the dunk.

The second dunk of round 1 got dinged for having lesser obstacles. This dunk had more powerful and physically more. And McDermott threw down a beauty anyway. I loved it.

The Verdict: 10/10

Round 2, Dunk 2

Sabonis has been in the picture every time so far, so let’s keep him there for our final dunk.

Our final masterpiece came just over a week ago, in the Pacers second-to-last game before the All-Star break. The Hornets were in town, and Indiana had rolled off 5 wins in a row. This game could keep them afloat in the Eastern Conference standings.

McDermott hadn’t dunked (in a game) in over a month. and he had just missed 5 straight games with a rib injury. His return couldn’t have been better, as he finally gave us another #McDunkContest entry. The Pacers had seen their 16 point halftime lead cut as low as 1, but McDermott pushed the lead back to double digits with one final masterpiece for the contest.

I mean, come on? A McRib reference as Doug McDermott returns from a rib injury? That is brilliant.

Compared to the other dunks in this contest, this one was a pretty standard McDermott dunk. He back cut his defender out of his shoes, Sabonis found him with an open lane to the rim, and Douggie rocked the world. With no obstacle, it’s hard to give him a fantastic score, but the anticipation was killing me, so this number will get inflated.

The verdict: 8/10

Next. Pacers player grades at the All-Star break. dark

The All-Star content you all crave – watching Doug McDermott dunk the ball 5 times. Hopefully, we see many more fun slams from Doug in the home stretch of the season as the Indiana Pacers make their playoff push.