Every NBA All-Star weekend it feels as though the slam dunk competition is the big event and everything else just builds up to it. But this year it’s the three-point contest that everybody is talking about and the slam dunk competition feels like an after thought. The reason this is so is because in essence, this event is complied of the top eight three-point shooters in the NBA: Marco Belinelli (38.1%), Stephen Curry (39.9%), James Harden (38.3%), Kyrie Irving (41.4%), Kyle Korver (52.3%), Wesley Matthews (39.8%), J.J. Redick (43.6%), and Klay Thompson (44.0%). (Note: Current season three-point percentages are in parentheses)
In almost any other year, any of these eight players would be the favorites to win the event. But this year, it’s way too close to call. Judging by the statistics, one would say Kyle Korver is the clear front runner, but given that James Harden and Stephen Curry take a lot more pull up threes, the discrepancy there isn’t as huge as one might think. Still, given that Kyle Korver is a catch and shoot shooter and this is a catch and shoot event, Kyle Korver has to be the favorite to win this event.
In case you are not familiar with how three-point contests work, there are five racks of five balls that one has to shoot within 60 seconds. The last ball on each rack is typically called a “money ball” that is multi-colored like an ABA ball. Hitting a shot with the money ball is worth two points, so players really want to make sure they make those shots. Three players will advance to the finals and the best out of those three will be deemed the champion. I’m not entirely certain of the format since it sometimes changes from year to year, but my guess would be that each player gets two rounds and the top three from there will advance.
If I had to pick two other finalists to go alongside Kyle Korver, I would have to go with Marco Belinelli and Klay Thompson. Marco because he’s the defending champion and has experience with this event, and Klay because he’s a catch and shoot shooter. However, I could see any number of possible outcomes happening, which is why this event has so many people buzzing. There really is no favorite and there really is no dark horse. Each and every participant is an accomplished shooter who knows how to hit open threes. I expect the scoring for this event to be through the roof and the bar raised to another level that we have never seen. It should be pretty wild!
—Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord