All-Star Weekend 2011: 3-Point Contest
Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:12 pm
By: News On 6
Originally Published: Feb 17, 2011 7:11 PM CDTMore All-Star Coverage on Oklahoma Sports:
All-Star Weekend 2011: Slam Dunk Preview
All-Star Weekend 2011: Rookie-Sophomore Challenge
All-Star Weekend 2011: Skills Challenge Preview
All-Star Weekend 2011: All-Star Game Preview
Harden to Replace Evans on All-Star Sophomore Team
Westbrook to Take Part in All-Star Skills Challenge
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
What: Footlocker 3-Point Contest
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles
Who: Six of the NBA's premier 3-point shooters
When: Coverage of All-Star Saturday Night begins at 7 p.m. Central on TNT
|Name||Kevin Durant ||Ray Allen||James Jones ||Paul Pierce ||Daniel Gibson||Dorell Wright|
Forward Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Vegas Odds: +350
What to watch for: Kevin Durant's shot selection during games is an interesting phenomenon. It's often hard to tell what qualifies as a good shot for him. When Durant is feeling it, he is nearly unstoppable. He can pull up from 30 feet with a 7-foot defender in his face and launch a 3 that barely even moves the net when it goes through. And everyone in the building knows it is going in. Then there are times when nothing seems to be falling for Durant, and Thunder fans hold their breath as he dribbles out the clock and launches a closely guarded 3-pointer at the buzzer. Though both situations are similar shots, the shot can be considered either ill-advised or completely justified based on which Kevin Durant is shooting the ball. This inconsistency makes Durant a fun and unpredictable addition to the 2011 3-point contest. If he is feeling it, he has the potential to run away with the whole contest. If he is not, however, he could easily put up the lowest score in the first round and make a quick exit. Ironically, the Thunder have a former 3-point champion on their roster in Daequan Cook (2009).
Guard Ray Allen, Boston Celtics
Vegas Odds: +200 (Favorite)
What to watch for: Stepping into a 3-point shootout with Ray Allen is like sitting down for a physics test against Albert Einstein or a play writing contest against William Shakespeare. Despite what the other shooters might say, there has to be something intimidating about stepping onto the court against literally the NBA's best 3-point shooter in history. Allen broke Reggie Miller's record for career 3-pointers on Feb. 10 against the Lakers, moving up to a staggering 2,562 career makes from downtown. Analysts obsess over Allen's form, pausing and replaying the high-speed cameras to show the angle in which the ball comes off his hand and his picture-perfect follow through. They use stopwatches to record the amount of time between when Allen catches the ball and when he releases it for his shot, which usually amounts to less than a second. Needless to say, Allen is a heavy favorite to come away with the contest suited perfectly for him.
Forward James Jones, Miami Heat
Vegas Odds: +250
What to watch for: James Jones is living the life every shooter dreams of living. He sits at the perimeter and watches three NBA All-Stars (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh) drive into the lane. When the defense collapses, Jones catches the pass wide open and with plenty of time, makes a 3 and jogs down to the other end of the court. Sitting at the 3-point line with plenty of time, however, might not be the best thing for Jones when it comes to the 3-point contest. Jones' release is still quick, but it's not out-of-this-world quick. In the 3-point shootout, he won't have all day to sit around and knock down a shot with his great form like he does in a day. 60 seconds goes by really quicky when a player has to hustle around the court launching up 25 shots before the buzzer sounds. If Jones can pace himself correctly and get off all 25 shots with goos form, he has the potential to challenge for the crown this year.
Forward Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
Vegas Odds: +500
What to watch for: When most people think of Paul Pierce, they think of a surprisingly strong, powerful slasher to complement the post play of Kevin Garnett and the outside shooting of Ray Allen. Which is why everyone was shocked last year when Pierce ran away with the 3-point competition at All-Star Weekend 2010. Pierce racked up 20 points in his final round to take the title. It's hard to tell whether Pierce was simply feeling it during the competition last year or if he has some hidden secret that he is some sort of stellar 3-point specialist that doesn't even need to use it because he has Ray Allen sitting out on the perimeter to do it for him. While a defending 3-point champion would normally be considered the favorite coming into the next year's contest, it appears the odds makers are seeing through last year's performance and not expecting the same performance from Pierce.
Guard Daniel Gibson, Cleveland Cavaliers
Vegas Odds: +350
What to watch for: In the same manner that James Jones sits on the perimeter and shoots wide open 3s because of LeBron, Gibson used to reap those same benefits. Gibson was undoubtedly a 3-point specialist, but he proved that he can still fill it up on arguably the worst team in the league these days. Smaller shooters such as Gibson sometimes see a better production increase in the 3-point contest than do taller shooters. In games, it's sometimes harder for smaller guards to see through the taller defender and over the outstretched arms to get a shot off. In the contest, they have a wide-open court to work with. They can sit back and shoot without having to worry about a taller defender in front of them or getting their shot blocked. Gibson competed in the 2008 contest, so he's got the experience factor on his side.
Forward Dorell Wright, Golden State Warriors
Vegas Odds: +285
What to watch for: The 3-point shootout isn't exactly serious business, so it's not like anyone is going to try to nitpick why someone should or should not be a participant in it. If it was a life-or-death situation, however, people might try to toss around phrases such as "product of the system" for Dorell Wright, or for any Golden State player for that matter. It has long been known that the Warriors only play on one end of the court, hoping to make it to 140 points each game so that they don't have to worry about playing any defense. This can result is huge possession numbers and huge stats for Warriors players. Wright has a high release and a great follow through. He also has more 3-pointers made this season than any of the other participants.