NBA All-Star Saturday Night: Who Will Win The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest?
The dunk contest gets all the hype, but All-Star Saturday Night would not be complete without the three-point contest.
This contest showcases the most basic and important skill in basketball. If a player can't shoot, he better be fantastic in a few other skills. If a player can shoot, he can make a career of it.
This Saturday night, we'll see some of the league's very best shooters battle for long distance supremacy.
Before the contest begins, I'm going to look at each competitors stats and chances, and predict the winner.
3-Point Makes: 121
3-Point Attempts: 265
Hot Spot: Anywhere
Ray Allen is arguably the greatest three-point shooter of all-time. He already holds the record for most threes made, and he'll soon pass Reggie Miller for most attempts as well. Plus, his career percentage is just barely under 40.
Due to his quick release, he should be able to get through all the racks well under the time limit. And he won't wear down toward the end of the competition. He's one of the best conditioned athletes in the league.
Back in 2001, Allen won the contest as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. Wouldn't it be fitting for him to win the title again during the year in which he broke the all-time threes record?
Chances: The Favorite
3-Point Makes: 91
3-Point Attempts: 269
Hot Spot: Up Top
Kevin Durant is an interesting addition to this lineup. Everyone knows he's one of the league's best pure scorers, but many don't think of him as a three-point shooter.
His solid three-point percentage is even more impressive when you see the type of shots he puts up. A lot of his looks are long bombs, and he often has a hand in his face.
In the confines of this contest, with no defense to worry about, Durant could be deadly. On the other hand, he's the kind of shooter I can see catching a cold streak.
His stroke is pretty smooth and effortless, which translates well to the three-point contest.
Chances: Needs to get hot
3-Point Makes: 86
3-Point Attempts: 194
Hot Spot: Corners
The Cavaliers have been tragically bad this year. However, Daniel Gibson is enjoying the best individual season of his career.
He's in the top five in the league in three-point percentage, but his shot type may lead to him wearing down. He typically gets way off the floor for a jump shot, and his legs may get tired.
Chances: Might make the second round, but will tucker out.
3-Point Makes: 93
3-Point Attempts: 220
Hot Spot: Corners
James Jones has almost made Miami's Mike Miller signing look like a mistake. Miller was brought in to stretch the floor and open things up for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Jones has done a great job with that task. He's made 109 field goals this year and 93 of them have been threes.
Not many people will be picking him, but his smooth stroke could surprise a lot of people.
Chances: Dark horse
3-Point Makes: 75
3-Point Attempts: 195
Hot Spot: Wings
The defending champion has a great chance to take home his second straight title. If Pierce were to win this year, he'd join fellow repeat champs Larry Bird, Craig Hodges, Mark Price, Jeff Hornacek, Peja Stojakovic and Jason Kapono (Bird and Hodges were threepeat champs).
His shot can be a bit slow at times, but other than that, it's pretty much tailored for the three-point shootout. His shot is pretty much set and consistent.
3-Point Makes: 135
3-Point Attempts: 337
Hot Spot: Wings, Up Top
Dorell Wright is enjoying a breakout season. He's averaging career highs in points, assists and rebounds, and he's one of the favorites for the league's Most Improved Player Award.
He leads the league in three-pointers made this year, and he's shooting nearly 40 percent from long distance.
Wright may be considered an underdog by many, but I think his chances are great.
Chances: Look out!
And The Winner Is...
Will Paul Pierce repeat?
I anticipate a final of Ray Allen and Dorell Wright, with Allen narrowly edging Wright for the trophy.
Like I said on Allen's individual slide, it seems fitting for Allen to take home this title in the same season that he broke the record for career three-point makes.