7 NBA Players That Can’t Dunk (No. 7 Is a Hall of Famer)

Can your favorite NBA player dunk? Are there some NBA players that can't dunk? Every basketball fan enjoys that moment when their favorite player displays their aerial prowess. And skillfully slamming the ball into the basket is one.

Some players have never dunked on the court, which should be no surprise. While most of these players have tried to pull one or two dunks in training, they have never officially performed that jump and slammed the ball through the net.

This article will look at some NBA players that can't dunk. But first, we’ll answer questions on dunking.

What Do I Need to Dunk?

Most people, though, are unaware of the athletics and mathematics that go along with the beautiful slam.

According to 2020 reports, a standard-sized basketball hoop is ten feet tall. And the average height of an NBA player is 6'6" tall.

Now, if our calculations are correct, a 6'6 player must add 42 inches before their head can get close to the rim.

To perform a successful dunk, a player must have a vertical leap of between 25-32 inches, taking into account their arm length.

NBA Players That Can’t Dunk

So, how about a player who is under six feet tall trying to slam the ball through the net?

Ideally, to slam over the rim, a player should be at least 5'7" tall and able to jump 35" high. On the other hand, some NBA players never allowed their height to limit them from performing a beautiful dunk.

Ty Lawson, for example, was a 5'11" athlete with exceptional dribbling skills and incredible jumping abilities. The NBA star is one of the rare one-foot dunkers ever seen in the league.

Related: Who is The Shortest NBA Player to Dunk?

Is Dunking Restricted to Tall Players?

"How tall does a player have to be to dunk?" some of you might wonder. This question is okay; however, it is not the appropriate question to ask.

On countless occasions, shorter players have proven to us that dunks aren't dependent on your height.

Your standing reach and vertical jump play a big role when performing dunks. Standing distance is how high you can reach with your arm while standing flat-footed.

Players who focus more on developing their hops are usually far better at dunking. So, they do not have to rely exclusively on their height.

Players can improve their vertical skills with enough practice and determination, and they can work on improving their vertical leap so they can dunk.

While tall players have the edge over shorter players, height has never been the main decisive factor in executing thrilling dunks.

Top 7 NBA Players That Can't Dunk

  1. J.J Barea

Barea is a 6'0 tall Puerto Rican player who first signed for the Warriors in 2006. Unlike most NBA players, J.J Barea was not born with a towering height.

Though Barea has other incredible playing skills, slamming the ball through the basket isn't one of them.

While some fans may wonder, "why keep a player who has never dunk successfully in a game?" Barea is one of the few players with incredible passing skills. And he is also one of the few that shoots a high percentage from outside the arc.

  1. Jameer Nelson

If you're a fan who prefers players who can dunk, then Jameer may not be on your list of the best NBA players.

Jameer Nelson is 6'0 tall and has only performed one successful dunk throughout his career. Jameer played as a point guard, and this is one NBA player who shoots like a magician.

However, in 2008, the NBA star assisted Dwight Howard in performing an iconic dunk. His fans dubbed it the "superman dunk."

The NBA player didn't care much about being booed or what the crowd thought of him. If anything,  he focused on other important skills to improve his game.

  1. D.J Augustin

Augustin is a 6'0  NBA star who currently plays for Orlando Magic. The NBA star has never performed any successful dunk throughout his NBA career.

There are currently few to no clips on the internet proving that the player has ever attempted to dunk. But don't be surprised if his fans dig up some old clips in the future. 

As bad as his dunking records are, the NBA star is an incredible three-point shooter, hitting 42% on all of his 3-pointer field goals.

  1. Beno Udrih

Beno Udrih, a 6'3 NBA player. He made his NBA debut in 2004 with the San Antonio Spurs. Beno played for many NBA teams before hanging his boots in November 2021.

Currently, the NBA star is working as an assistant coach for the Westchester Knicks. The NBA star never made a successful dunk throughout his career. Beno mostly played as a point guard, which he was extremely good at.

The NBA player appeared in over 800 games, and not once did he ever dunk on the court.

Most fans, however, are surprised as to why the star never tried a dunk despite having many clear chances of doing so.

In comparison, Rusell Westbrook is another 6'3 NBA star. He never misses an opportunity to slam the ball, and he is well-known in the league for his wild dunkers. 

This clearly shows that Beno's problem wasn't his height, as the player could have had at least one dunk in his career if he wanted to.

  1. Isaiah Thomas

Unlike most players on our list, Thomas is a player who loves trying out dunks during the games. Unfortunately, none of his attempts has been unsuccessful.

Thomas is a 5'9 player. He has a stubborn head for trying out dunks, even when he knows he has a bad dunk record.

The NBA star doesn't have the height or skills for dunking. So what then is he good at? If the NBA had a list of the best small-looking defensive players, Thomas would undoubtedly make the top ten list.

The NBA player has excellent passing skills and quick hands, and those allow him to get to the ball before his opponents even make a move.

  1. Patty Mills

Patty Mills is a 6'0 Australian NBA star who has spent his entire professional career with the Antonio Spurs.

He has never recorded a successful dunk throughout his career. And it doesn't look like the Australian is hitting one soon.

Dunking isn't one of the many things the NBA superstar can do with the ball. So what then is Mills good at? Mills possesses enthusiasm, good shooting skills, and good leadership qualities. He is also one of the few players with a good basketball IQ.

  1. Steve Nash

Steve Nash is a 6'3 NBA star who didn't allow his height to stop him from achieving greatness. He also played alongside Kobe Bryant in the Lakers. And the pair virtually caused a lot of trouble to the opposing team. 

Although the NBA star made several dunking attempts in training and on the court, none of those attempts ever made their way through the basket. Although dunking isn't one of the player's greatest strengths, he is unrivaled in creating spectacular passes.

In addition to his passing skills, the player also dazzles his fans with his exceptional shooting skills.

He is also one of the best three-point shooters and free throw shooters. He tops in overall assists per game player in NBA league history.

Related: Did Muggsy Bogues Dunk in the NBA?

Final Thoughts: NBA Players That Can't Dunk

As most NBA players that can't dunk have shown us, all players need to perfect their dunking skills is practice. Some players believe that nothing is impossible, and as Ty Lawson has shown us, height isn't a limiting factor.

However, if all of your hard efforts aren't paying off, shift your focus to improving other vital basketball skills. Those might be useful to you.

Of course, every NBA fan knows what a dunk is. What's more?  Most fans enjoy it when their favorite player hits a wild dunk.

Related: Does Playing Basketball Make You Taller?

Joshua Bast

My name is Joshua Bast and I have been playing basketball ever since I was 7 years old. I love the game play, I love the feeling whenever I score a basket, but what made me fell in love was the camaraderie with my team mates. This blog is dedicated to help any up-and-coming basketball players maximize their potential.

Joshua Bast