By Gordon Robinson
We discussed the Slam Dunk Contest last week and talked about the excitement around having the old rules, along with the new participants. While the Slam Dunk Contest is usually my favorite event of the weekend outside of the game itself, the Three Point Contest may be the most exciting. Every shooter on the list can light it up from behind the arc. We have the “Splash Brothers”, a couple of past champions and some of the hottest names to know when it comes to shooting from downtown. Just about all participants are tops in the league in three pointers made and in long distance percentage.
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), one half of the “Splash Brothers” and the top vote getter in the All Star Game, may be seen as a favorite to many. He recently became the fastest player in NBA history to make 1000 three pointers and drained 10 threes in a game this season against the Dallas Mavericks. So far this season, Curry is currently second in the league for three pointers made and is in the top 20 in three point percentage.
The other half of Golden State’s “Splash Brothers”, Klay Thompson is also participating in the All Star Game. He recently made 11 three pointers in a game (a league record nine in one quarter) on the way to a 52 point game. Thompson is currently top five in three point percentage and also in three pointers made. His tall frame may allow him to maintain endurance for the later rounds in the competition (so don’t sleep on Klay!).
Next there’s the league leading scorer, James Harden. Harden (Houston Rockets) is currently fifth on the board for three pointers made and there is no doubt that he knows how to put the ball into the basket. Harden has averaged over 30 points per game for the past 10 games and was Player of the Month for the months of December and January. It will be great to see if his volume shots will transfer over to the three point racks.
Atlanta Hawks’ fans are used to seeing Kyle Korver drop shot after shot from behind the arc and now he will get another chance to try become Shootout Champion. Kyle leads the league in three point accuracy as well as being at the top of the list in made three pointers. Korver may have an extra bounce in his step since he was recently appointed to the All Star Team after Dwyane Wade decided to sit out due to injury.
Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers won the Three Point Contest in 2013 but a past victory does not make him a favorite here. Irving tossed in 11 treys while on his way to a career high 55 points versus the Portland Trail Blazers in January.
Marco Belinilli will be the one that will be defending the three point crown. Belinilli is known for shooting threes for the San Antonio Spurs but usually it’s coming off of screens instead of pulling them off the rack. Belinilli defeated some stiff competition last year, which included Stephen Curry, let’s see if he can do it again.
J.J. Redick (Los Angeles Clippers) has been known for shooting the three since his college days. This season has been one of his best, he is top ten in the NBA with made three pointers and in three point percentage.
Last but not least in the Three Point Contest is Wesley Matthews of the Portland Trail Blazers. Matthews is currently third in the league with made three pointers and number one in attempted treys. He is a strong guard and will need that strength if he intends to last in this competition.
As you see there is quite a shootout to be had here. There is no doubt that all the top guys are here and the world cannot wait to see who will be the last man standing.