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The Disrespectful Dunk Index, Part 2

We’re back to evaluate another batch of extremely disrespectful dunks

(Ringer illustration)
(Ringer illustration)

At the end of November, we invented the Disrespectful Dunk Index, a six-category scoring system that determines how disrespectful a dunk is. These are the categories:

  • Category 1 — Difficulty/Impressiveness: How difficult or impressive was the dunk? Scored on a scale of 0 to 20.
  • Category 2 — Dunker’s Reaction: What’d the guy who dunked it do after he dunked it? Scored on a scale of 0 to 20.
  • Category 3 — Defense: How hard did the defender try to stop the dunk? Scored on a scale of 0 to 20.
  • Category 4 — Backstory: Is there a history between the dunker and the dunkee? Scored on a scale of 0 to 15.
  • Category 5 — Dunk Cleanliness: Did the ball swish straight through the rim or did it rattle through? Scored on a scale of 0 to 5.
  • Category 6 — Secondary Reactions: What’d the people not involved in the dunk do after the dunk? Scored on a scale of 0 to 20.

The first column featured five dunks (and one bonus example) from the first quarter of the season, which we defined as “from opening night until November 28.” This column, Part 2 of the Disrespectful Dunk Index tetralogy, will feature five dunks from the second quarter, which we’re defining as “from November 29 to February 14.” And to be clear, these aren’t the six most disrespectful dunks from that period. These are simply six dunks that occurred during that period, scored using the DDI.

That’s Sam Dekker Busta Rhymes–ing the hope and warmth out of Enes Kanter’s body. Let’s score it:

Category 1 — Difficulty/Impressiveness: He’s not explosively high here, and he’s one step into the lane when he jumps, and those two things alone would make this a mostly average dunk as far as difficulty is concerned. But considering how contested it was (which we’ll discuss in moment) and also that it was coming off a full sprint, we increase the difficulty rating a bit.

My favorite part of the pre-dunk prep: When Dekker passes the Thunder 3-point line and realizes that he’s got an uninterrupted path to the basket (see the still above). He looks at Patrick Beverley and just stays staring at him as he runs down the court, trying to will Beverley to throw him the ball. That means he had about 60 feet worth of knowing he was going to ultra-dunk it on someone. That’s a lot of planning and preparation. Sam Dekker was on his Kill Bill shit.

So if you combine all of that (the speed, the distance, the contest, the planning), we end up at a 14/20 here.

Category 2 — Dunker’s Reaction: High score here, on account of Dekker staring a hole through Kanter’s forehead after he dunks on him. He holds the stare for a solid four seconds, which, as far as a post-dunk stare goes, is a wildly disrespectful amount of time. (Four seconds in dunk time is like two weeks in real time.) If you stare at someone for four seconds after you embarrass them in pickup basketball at the park, I promise you someone’s getting hit in the head with a pipe or a large branch. 17/20.

Category 3 — Defense: Enes Kanter tried so hard. What’s wild is Enes was the one who missed the shot that started the fast break toward his death, which is downright Shakespearean. He shot, missed, and galloped down the floor as fast as his oak tree legs allowed, realized Dekker was going to try to dunk it, and threw himself in front of that truck. Short of shoving someone midair like Draymond did to LeBron or Kendrick Perkins tried to do to Blake Griffin, Enes’s contest here was about as solid and genuine as they come. 18/20.

Category 4 — Backstory: The Thunder and the Rockets don’t like each other, but that’s mostly because Patrick Beverley stole a year of Russell Westbrook’s career going for a cheapie steal during a 2013 Rockets-Thunder playoff game and tearing Westbrook’s meniscus. Dekker and Enes are avatars for that dislike here, which is good enough for a 9/15 score.

Category 5 — Dunk Cleanliness: Straight through. 5/5.

Category 6 — Secondary Reactions: Excellent reactions all the way around. The dunk happens in front of the Houston bench, and the Rockets all jump up and shout and bounce around, which makes for a great background (four of the five coaches even get up, which bumps the score up). Nene excitedly signals the and-1. Enes — poor Enes — springs up immediately. I’m not sure if that was better or worse for him, but I know that it was perfect for Dekker. And Mike Tirico, who is for sure a top-three pick in the “Who Do You Want Calling a Play When You Just Did Something Dope?” conversation, declares, “Dekker… OHHHHH, WITH A PUNCH! ON ENES! SENT HIM TO THE COURT … WITH A KNOCKOUT BLOW!” 17/20.

Total: The Dekker dunk on Enes Kanter was 80 percent disrespectful to Kanter.

That’s Larry Nance Jr. Scarface-ing Brook Lopez into the Mesozoic Era. Let’s score it:

Category 1 — Difficulty/Impressiveness: Larry Nance jumps like he just found out that his girlfriend cheated on him with Earth and he’s trying to jump to more loyal planet. Look at this nonsense:

I’m sick. 16/20.

Category 2 — Dunker’s Reaction: HE. COULDN’T. EVEN. BELIEVE. IT. HIMSELF.

There was this movie that came out in 1990 called Ghost. It starred Patrick Swayze as Sam Wheat, a very polite banker who was killed and then, rather than ascending to heaven, his ghost stayed on earth to solve his own murder. (It sounds super-ridiculous, but it was actually great.) At any rate, the face that Larry Nance Jr. made after he dunked on Lopez was the same shocked face that Sam made when he realized that he was a ghost and was standing over his actual, physical-realm body. Larry Nance Jr. Sam Wheat–ed himself. That’s good for a 14/20 score.

Category 3 — Defense: It looks like Brook Lopez only halfway tried to block the dunk, but that’s because Larry Nance Jr. jumped Lopez into irrelevance. Lopez is ninth in the league in blocked shots this season. He’s a good shot blocker. He was just battling a Power Ranger here. 15/20.

Category 4 — Backstory: The only backstory anyone truly needs to dunk on one of the Lopez brothers is to realize that he is about to dunk on one of the Lopez brothers. 5/15.

Category 5 — Dunk Cleanliness: Very clean. 5/5.

Category 6 — Secondary Reactions: Just fantastic. Let’s go piece by piece. Here’s Timofey Mozgov, who was just so excited it finally wasn’t him who got got:

Here’s the Lakers bench, which Metta World Peace is on, because Metta World Peace is still in the NBA, because nobody will tell him that he’s actually not in the NBA anymore, because he’s Metta World Peace:

(If you look at the timestamps on those two screenshots, you’ll see that they came just three seconds apart. This Nance dunk has a very high Hands On Heads Per Minute ratio.)

Here’s the Nets bench with a good example of the Stifle, which is when an opposing bench restrains itself from cheering when someone thunderdunks on one of its teammates. It’s one of the best post-dunk bench reactions:

The crowd went bozo. The announcers went bozo. Even the ball, otherwise inanimate, decided to come to life so it could disrespectfully bop Lopez on the shoulder and the side of the head after the dunk. In that way, Larry Nance Jr. Beauty and the Beast’d Brook Lopez. 18/20.

Total: The Nance dunk on Brook Lopez was 73 percent disrespectful to Lopez.

That’s Mason Plumlee Eminem-ing Josh McRoberts back to the set of Sons of Anarchy. Let’s score it:

Category 1 — Difficulty/Impressiveness: This is probably the least difficult dunk we have in our bundle today. That said, it’s also one of my favorites. I’m a big, big fan of two giant dinosaurs pounding on each other in the post*. Let’s go with 7/20 on account of massiveness of the players involved.

*Big Guy on Big Guy dunks are the second-best kind of dunks (Karl-Anthony Towns is the current king of the Big Guy on Big Guy dunks. I love him so much for that.) The first-best kind of dunks is Little Guy on Big Guy. Third-best is Big Guy on Little Guy dunks. And fourth-best is Little Guy on Little Guy dunks. There’s wiggle room in the placements of individual dunks, but that’s the general template.

Category 2 — Dunker’s Reaction: I want to argue that this is one of those “The absence of style is the style itself” situations, but I can’t. Plumlee’s nothingness as a response to his dunk is exactly that: nothingness. Low score here: 2/20.

Category 3 — Defense: I feel like anytime you’re a defender and you end up in this position …

… you weren’t doing that great a job playing defense. I don’t want to give him a zero because he was at least trying to get in the way, but I also don’t want to give him anything higher than a 10 because those scores are saved for players who are at least facing the right direction. Let’s split the difference: 5/20.

Category 4 — Backstory: The two teams have similar colors. That’s about as close as it gets to a backstory here. 1/15.

Category 5 — Dunk Cleanliness: Easy. 5/5.

Category 6 — Secondary Reactions: A whole bunch of zero. There’s a tiny bump in noise from the crowd, but beyond that it’s like a lake early in the morning. None of the players on the Heat do anything, none of the players on the Blazers do anything, and none of the people in the stands go nuts. Everyone is just sort of there. My dream scenario for this dunk would’ve been Mason backing down McRoberts, spinning, and dunking it on him, then howling at the moon like a goddamn werewolf, and then one of the announcers saying something like, “OH! WE DON’T TALK ENOUGH ABOUT WHITE ON WHITE CRIME!” Had that happened, I’d had have to put that call up there with the “Oh! A spec … tacular move by Michael Jordan” call and the “Oh! He just sucked the gravity right out of the building!” call, which would’ve shot this score way up. Since it didn’t, though, let’s go with 4/20.

Total: The Plumlee dunk on Josh McRoberts was 24 percent disrespectful to McRoberts.

That’s Paul George Remy Ma-ing Clint Capela all the way up. Let’s score it:

Category 1 — Difficulty/Impressiveness: George dribbles by Trevor Ariza, gets into the lane, then hits the nuclear destruct button. 13/20.

Category 2 — Dunker’s Reaction: THE POWER POSE + YELL is a Grade A post-dunk response combination. Plus, we can add extra points to George’s score because he takes the same pose as Neo did in that hallway scene in The Matrix after he’d jumped inside Agent Smith and exploded him, which is basically what George did to Capela. He gets a high score here for being thematically consistent. 16/20.

Category 3 — Defense: Two things here: (1) I respect Clint Capela so much. There’s no timidity in his cells. It’s why he keeps ending up in highlight clips like this. He sees a player flying at the rim, says to himself, “I must not allow this to happen,” and then tries to block it. He will never not try to block. He will never even not try to not try to block it. Look at the go of it that he gives here:

He’s chest to chest with an ax murderer, and it’s total focus. He’s like the real-life version of the cartoon frog in that picture where a bird is trying to eat him and the frog is choking the bird as he’s being eaten. 15/20. And, (2) I’m so happy that Paul George is back. Speaking of …

Category 4 — Backstory: The backstory here is less Paul George vs. Clint Capela and more Paul George vs. Himself, which the announcer alludes to when he talks about how “We have not seen anything like that from Paul George since the injury.” He’s of course talking about when Paul George broke his leg during Team USA’s run-up to the FIBA World Cup in 2014. Watching Paul George rocket himself into outer space again like he did here, with no hesitation and no fear and no anything but tenacity, was a truly great moment. It was one of those situations where, even if you aren’t a Pacers fan or (somehow) a Paul George fan, you look at it and go, “That’s pretty great.” 12/15.

Category 5 — Dunk Cleanliness: Straight through. 5/5.

Category 6 — Secondary Reactions: The announcers lose their shit. The crowd loses its shit. Thaddeus Young (standing in the top corner) loses his shit. Myles Turner (33) loses his shit. The lost-and-found area in the Pacers arena was probably at capacity after this dunk because of all the shit that was lost. 16/20.

Total: The George dunk on Clint Capela was 77 percent disrespectful to Capela.

That’s Richard Jefferson Tupac-ing the goatee off of Klay Thompson’s face.

Category 1 — Difficulty/Impressiveness: Thoroughly impressive. It’s not that it was such a massive and monstrous dunk, because it wasn’t, it’s that Richard Jefferson is 48 years old. Richard Jefferson jumping this high is the same as if, say, 26-year-old Iman Shumpert jumped into the second balcony of the stadium. Look at this:


Category 2 — Dunker’s Reaction: Jefferson went with a combination of screaming and staring because he was so fired up, but he also added falling and flailing because he’s Richard Jefferson. It wasn’t as powerful or cool of a reaction as when he dunked on Kevin Durant earlier in the game and then winked at him (his wink would’ve earned him something like an 18/20), but it was certainly better than Mason Plumlee’s “What Is Life? What Is Existing?” response. Let’s go with 15/20.

Category 3 — Defense: Klay wanted so badly to block this dunk. So, so badly. 17/20. (As a matter of comparison: Clint Capela’s attempted block of Paul George’s dunk was an exercise in clinical efficiency and application. Klay’s was fueled by spite.)

Category 4 — Backstory: There’s the macro backstory and the micro backstory. For the macro: The Cavs-Warriors rivalry is the premier rivalry in the NBA. Their 2015 dislike of one another grew into contempt in 2016, then that contempt grew into hate following their Finals rematch. It’s excellent, and it makes everything that happens between the two teams more exciting, especially moments of competitive disrespect. Jefferson’s dunk here during the first game between the two of this season between played into that. For the micro: As mentioned above, minutes earlier, Jefferson dunked it on KD and winked at him. It was a delicious play, and one that the Warriors were not super excited about. So, beyond the general Cavs-Warriors hate, there was an anti–Richard Jefferson sentiment among the Warriors that afternoon. We can mark this one down as the highest backstory score we’ve seen in either of the DDI columns: 13/15.

Category 5 — Dunk Cleanliness: Splash. 5/5.

Category 6 — Secondary Reactions: Shump’s reaction is fun and the crowd’s big-burst reaction is fun, but Jeff Van Gundy, who’d earlier expressed displeasure with Jefferson receiving a taunting technical for winking, shouting “TAUNT EVERYBODY, RICHARD!” is the best reaction. Solid outing from everyone here. 16/20.

Total: The Jefferson dunk on Klay Thompson was 81 percent disrespectful to Thompson.