By Marty Burns
February 20, 2005
Slam Dunk Contest Grades's Marty Burns grades each of the players participating in the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest
Chris Andersen, Hornets
Grade: C
Stats: First round -- 77 points
Analysis: Leave it to a Hornets player to need 10 attempts to put the ball in the basket. Still, he gets extra credit for being LeBron James' replacement -- and for even trying that difficult 50-foot lob-and-catch that kept everyone waiting so long.
J.R. Smith, Hornets
Grade: B
Stats: First round -- 90 points
Analysis: His first dunk, in which he took the ball around his back and soared high for a one-handed righty slam while never taking his eyes off the rim, was pretty nasty. But like teammate Andersen, he didn't do enough to beat out the other rookie Smith.
Josh Smith, Hawks
Grade: A+
Stats: First round -- 95 points; Finals -- 100 points
Analysis: Earned his spot in the NBA's Dunk Pantheon with three perfect 50s. Paid tribute to the greats with a free throw line dunk (a la Dr. J), a leap over K-Mart in a chair, a flying windmill while sporting a 'Nique jersey and a "this contest is over" gesture (Vince Carter) after his final flying 360-degree tomahawk.
Amare Stoudemire, Suns
Grade: A
Stats: First round -- 95 points; Finals -- 87 points
Analysis: Nearly followed Steve Nash (skills competition) and Quentin Richardson (3-point shootout) in giving Suns a sweep of the night's activities. Still, his off-the-backboard, Nash soccer-header dunk was the night's most memorable and an instant classic.

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