It's not entirely clear what basketball hoops the world over did to anger Westbrook. But they might want to smooth things over before he begins another season of some of the most vicious dunks the NBA has ever seen. There's an explosiveness in Westbrook's game that comes out in its purest form when he decides to embarrass a defender and climb the ladder for a thermonuclear detonation of a dunk. Indeed, it always feels like there's a little something extra behind a Westbrook dunk when it's defended. In the open court, the Thunder point guard is a lot of fun, too, of course. Combine Westbrook's competitiveness and athleticism, however, and you've got the recipe for a once-in-a-lifetime meeting of the minds 10 feet in the air.
Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers
There's a long line of NBA big men who have tried valiantly to put themselves between a Griffin dunk attempt and the rim, only to find that there's little defense for the Clippers forward in flight. And that line will forever start behind Timofey Mozgov. Most players need to be somewhere near the rim to think about throwing one down. For Griffin, a play that starts anywhere on the floor has the potential to end in a dunk because he's that athletic and smart. And he has the perfect point guard in Chris Paul to help him get the rock where he needs it to accomplish the spectacular. Griffin's profile as a dunker has taken a little bit of a step back as he's expanded the rest of his game, but any defender who lets up is in danger of becoming the latest of Griffin's highlight accomplices.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY SportsKelvin Kuo
Gerald Green, SG, Miami Heat
In case you missed it, Green is the guy who had a video dedicated to him this summer highlighting his top 200 dunks. That's not a typo. Then he celebrated with the first real jaw-dropping highlight of the 2015-16 (pre-)season, flushing a windmill in the open court that would have been right at home in a dunk contest. And that's what makes Green stand out -- it seems like he has an endless backlog of contest-worthy dunk ideas, and when he gets the chance in game, he busts another one out to delight everyone. You almost get the feeling that his opponents aren't completely heart-broken when he gets ahead of the pack in transition. Yes, Green is about to score two points. But the incoming dunk is secretly a little fun to watch.
NBAE/Getty ImagesOscar Baldizon
DeAndre Jordan, C, Los Angeles Clippers
Jordan is a sage of the dunk at this point. Almost his entire offensive game is based on doing as much damage to the rim as possible, and he's very good at that. Like Griffin, he benefits from having Chris Paul throwing lobs and setting him up -- and Jordan's chemistry with Griffin puts him in nice position pretty often, too. But it's a two-way street. Watch Jordan the next time you have the Clippers on and you'll realize just how many bad passes he cleans up. He has the length to make the catch from every inch of the lane, but more impressive is his hand-eye coordination. All it takes is a quick glance at the rim by Jordan before he takes off, and he knows exactly where to throw it down, even if he has his back to the rim.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY SportsRichard Mackson
Zach LaVine, SG, Minnesota Timberwolves
LaVine was a unanimous first pick from our panel, and that would have been the case even without the recent announcement that he'll start for the Wolves this season. The game's best dunker since Vince Carter (this is not opinion; it is undeniable fact) will keep the people who produce NBA highlights busy in 2015-16. The only way LaVine could be any better as a dunker is if his last name rhymed with the popular short-video sharing service, Vine. Then a "Mr. TheVine" nickname would be perfectly fitting. The 2015 Slam Dunk champion will be working on his overall game in his second season, but that doesn't mean he can't find some time to defend his crown -- officially during All-Star Weekend and unofficially during every game.