Sharpshooting Golden State Warriors floor general Stephen Curry will highlight the 2014 NBA All-Star weekend three-point contest lineup that features five All-Stars, including defending champ Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Belinelli, Beal and Afflalo are the only non-All-Stars—although some would argue the Orlando Magic shooting guard deserved a spot.
“New to this year’s contest, each player will also be able to switch one of the five shooting locations to a full rack of five ‘money balls,’ each of which will be worth two points.”
Previously, the money balls were located at the end of each rack. This year, players can put a full rack of the two-point balls in any given location. Provided that many players have different comfort levels at certain spots on the floor, this rule change could lend itself to bigger scores than we’ve seen in years past.
For instance, Curry missed all five attempts on his second rack in 2013. When he got warmed up, however, he sunk all five on the fourth rack and 4-of-5 on the final rack. He posted a score of 17 last year, which tied for the second-lowest total alongside Steve Novak.
"The second rack killed me," Curry said, per CSN's Nate Stuhlbarg. "I was (disappointed) at first, I mean, you want to win. It's a competition and you want to have a good showing. But 17 was a good number for me. Can't be mad at that."
Judging by his numbers in 2013-14, Curry may want to put the money balls at the top of the key. He's shooting 44.7 percent from that location this season, per NBA.com/stats.
Irving went on to win the competition with a final-round score of 23 to beat the San Antonio Spurs' Matt Bonner, who posted 19 in the first round and 20 in the final round.
Minnesota Timberwolves star K-Love will be back after a hand injury prevented him from defending his shootout title in 2013 (he won in 2012).
Of all the contestants, Belinelli of the Spurs has posted the best three-point percentage in 2013-14. His 44.4 percent shooting clip from downtown ranks him tied for fourth in the NBA among qualified players.
Irving has posted the lowest percentage of the competitors by far, with 35.4 percent.
It will be interesting to see if the Dubs' floor general backs up KD’s sentiment during All-Star weekend by winning the shootout crown.