The 2013 3-Point Shootout field has been announced, and many of the league’s top long-range marksman will be traveling to Houston.
This year’s field features plenty of star power on its own:
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors — Many thought Curry, the leading scorer on a surprise Warriors team, would be playing on Sunday. The son of legendary shooter Dell Curry, Steph has made a name for himself in recent years. This season, he’s averaging a higher field goal percentage from beyond the 3-point line (45 percent) than he is from the field (43 percent). He’s probably the early favorite.
Steve Novak, New York Knicks — Maybe the sentimental favorite in this year’s class. At 6’10, Novak’s stroke is almost effortless and he has become a fan favorite at Madison Square Garden for his near automatic range from beyond the arc. He’s the definition of a 3-point specialist: of his 253 field goal attempts this season, 205 of them have come from 3-point range, where he’s knocking down 44 percent this season.
Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Hornets — One of the most prolific 3-point taker and 3-point maker in the league, Anderson knocks down 40 percent of his shots from deep. While that percentage isn’t enough to even crack the top 25 in percentage, Anderson is the definition of a big-man gunner who could be streaky enough to do well in the 3-point contest.
Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs — Taking a hit in floor time this season hasn’t stopped Bonner from keeping hope alive that he’d be selected to the shootout. After all, he’s still knocking down a solid 42 percent for the Spurs. Bonner has initiated his own #LetBonnerShoot campaign, writing in SLAM Magazine that he’s yet to make it, likely because of the red hair and New Balance kicks.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers — The second-year point guard is averaging 24 points per game this season, and a quarter of those points are coming from 3-point range. Irving is taking taking nearly five threes per game and knocking down 2.1 per game, good enough for a 43-percent clip as one of the NBA’s 10 best 3-point shooters by accuracy.
Paul George, Indiana Pacers — Justifiably, George is taking two more 3-pointers a game than he has for his career. It’s justifiable because George is hitting 39 percent of his 5.7 attempts per game, and that’s even more impressive when considering he’s probably getting most of those shots in the halfcourt for the defensive-minded Pacers.
While the dunk contest gets most of the publicity, the 3-Point Shootout has arguably been the backbone of All-Star Saturday Night. Crowning the NBA’s best dunker is more of an all or nothing affair, either as compelling as Vince Carter’s one-man show in Oakland or as mundane as Nate Robinson’s 13 botched attempts in 2006. The shootout, in contrast, is a consistently entertaining event featuring some of the league’s most prolific shooters squaring off.
NBA stars are also far more likely to sign up for a shooting exhibition than risk a lackluster showing at the dunk contest. Last season, Kevin Love won the event, while Paul Pierce,Dirk Nowitzki, Ray Allen and Stojakovic have all won the shootout since the turn of the century.