With all due respect to NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, the 3-point contest is usually the best event of the weekend. While everyone clamors about the excitement t hat is the Slam Dunk Contest , this event is when the superstars come out and shine.
A field of eight sharpshooters enter this year's contest, highlighted by none other than reigning champion Klay Thompson. In last year's event, Thompson beat out fellow "Splash Brother" Steph Curry to capture the title after putting up a final-round score of 27. He will need to turn in another stellar performance against the competition this year if he has any hopes of defending his crown. Despite his up-and-down season, Thompson still comes into this contest as the favourite. However, I believe he won't be able to defend his title.
The field for this event is comprised of Thompson (+110), Kyrie Irving (+400), CJ McCollum (+800), Eric Gordon (+850), Kyle Lowry (+850), Nick Young (+1000), Wesley Matthews (+1000) and Kemba Walker (+1200).
All odds are courtesy of our friends at Bovada
Klay Thompson (+110)
As I mentioned, Thompson comes into this contest as the odds-on favorite to defend his title. He will be in tough to do so against some of the better 3-point shooters in the league. He has been battling an foot injury that kept him out of the lineup for a few games. Despite that, Thompson is still averaging 21.8 points per game and is shooting 41.8 percent from beyond this arc this season. That is right at his career average of 42 percent. On a team that boasts five superstars, Thompson has to pick his spots to take over games. He has done so lately, scoring more than 25 points in four straight. I liked him a lot better last year at +400, so this line is going to make me look elsewhere for a winner.
Kyrie Irving (+400)
Kyrie Irving is known for a lot of things. He barely played in any games for Duke prior to being drafted and has battled through adversity and injury for the most part. Last season was his coming out party, and who could forget his title-clinching 3-point shot in Game 7 of last year's NBA Finals. This year, Irving is living up to expectations and scoring around 25 points per game. He knocks the 3-ball down at a 39.5 percent success rate and knows what it takes to win this event (2013 Champion). In a contest filled sharp-shooters, Irving's swagger and confidence in his game could be the X-factor in helping him win his second 3-point contest.
CJ McCollum (+800)
If you live on the East coast, it's tough sometimes to watch some of the West coast teams play. For me, CJ McCollum is an average player that plays on an underachieving team. McCollum might average 23 points per game, but the scoring options for the Blazers are limited. McCollum is knocking down 3-pointers at a 41 percent success rate, which is pretty good. However, he rarely goes "off" and averages just two triples per game. The odds are rather short for my liking, which is why I will be looking elsewhere.
Eric Gordon (+850)
The only player that shoots the 3-point shot more frequently than Eric
Gordon is Steph Curry. Gordon averages eight 3-point shots per game and
successfully makes 38 percent of those shots. He is currently third in the
league with 181 triples. He is no stranger to getting up a lot of shots,
which could bode well for him in this timed competition. If you like a
solid sleeper, this is your guy.
Kyle Lowry (+850)
Kyle Lowry came into last year's 3-point contest in fine form. He not only had the benefit of shooting on "friendly" baskets in Toronto, but he was also knocking down the 3 at a 45-percent clip during the seven games prior to the All-Star break. To put it mildly, Lowry stunk in the contest and failed to get out of the first round. He managed only 15 points, which was good enough to keep him from coming in last place. This year, Lowry is knocking down his attempts at a 42 percent clip and is currently fourth in the Association with 177 made 3s. With the way the Raps are struggling, I can't see Lowry being focused enough to win this event.
Nick Young (+1000),
Nick "Swaggy P" Young is making his first appearance in the 3-point
shooting contest and fits right in with this group of participants. He
likes to hoist up shots from beyond the arc, and fortunately for him they
are successful 41.2 percent of the time. Young has gone 16 straight games
with at least one 3-point make. Despite the tempting odds, there are much
better players with better shooting abilities to choose from.
Wesley Matthews (+1000)
Wesley Matthews will be making his second appearance in this contest and is
one of the long shots to take home the crown. Matthews isn't known for his
outside shooting abilities as he knocks down just 38 percent of his shots
from beyond the arc. If you like underdogs, there is one key game that you
can look at and hope Matthews can recreate. In a game against the Orlando
Magic on Feb. 11, Matthews went 6-of-8 from the land beyond. The was his
second highest output of the season.
Kemba Walker (+1200)
As Connecticut Huskies fans know, when you're in need of a big shot, Kemba
Walker is the guy you want taking it. Unfortunately, Walker is mired in a
slump right now, and his Charlotte Hornets are struggling because of that.
Walker has struggled with his shot so far in February, shooting just 23.5
percent from deep. On the season, however, Walker has the ability to knock
down 40 percent from beyond the arc and light up the scoreboard in a hurry.
This is Walker's first appearance in this contest, and if anyone is not
going to shy away from the big-time moment, it's Kemba Walker.
Pick: Let's be honest for a second. Klay Thompson is probably going to win this contest if he tries as hard as he possibly can. That's all he does for the Warriors, and that's almost all he's good at. However, I think Kyrie Irving is the play here. He has been playing lights out for the last couple of months, and he would like nothing more than to dethrone a member of the Warriors once more. Give me Irving at +400.
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