All-Star weekend is finally here. Fans, players, and coachers are all set for a weekend full of festivities, but more fun than anything. The three point shooting contest is quietly becoming one of the popular events at All-star weekend, so we are going to breakdown the competitors.
Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic: Odds to win- 7 to 2
Anderson is one of the frontrunners for the most improved player award. He is shooting a respectable 43.4 percent from beyond the arc, ranking 24th in the league. My only concern for Anderson is his size. He stands at 6’10 which might slow down the exchange from the rack to his release. What is working for Anderson is his quick and soft shot, much like Kevin Durant’s who is also competing.
Anthony Morrow, New Jersey Nets: Odds to win- 4-1
Morrow is the favorite to take home the trophy Saturday night. I would have to agree with the odds makers here because Morrow has a lightening quick release that suits this event. His release eliminates the time factor which is something several players struggle with in this contest. Morrow is also one of those streaky shooters when he is rolling. Morrow is shooting just 40.2 percent from beyond the arc, but he could easily find his groove in a timed contest like this. When it is all said and done, Morrow is my pick to win the competition.
James Jones, Miami Heat: Odds to win- 13-4
Jones was last year’s winner and clearly the odds makers are not giving him enough respect this year. In the real world of basketball, Jones is struggling to find minutes for the Heat and his numbers are almost blinding to glance at. On the season, Jones is averaging about four minutes scoring two points. Luckily for him those stats do not mean a thing in this contest. Jones does not have much sample size to analyze due to his lack of playing time, so we will just have to see how he defends his title.
Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat: Odds to win- 15-4
Chalmers will be the second member of the Miami Heat to participate in the competition this year. He is shooting an impressive 45.6 percent from the field which is strong enough for 11th in the league. My case for Chalmers is that he feeds off the penetration from Bron and Wade. Without those two stars, Chalmers would not be receiving the quality shot attempts and would not be shooting 45 percent on three pointers. Also, usually the penetration leaves Chalmers wide open, giving him all day to get a shot off. In the three point, shootout players do not have much time to shoot the ball. We will see if Chalmers is a legitimate three point shooter when this contest goes in the books.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder: Odds to win- 9-2
Durant was a late addition to the event because Joe Johnson is unable to play with left knee tendinitis. Durant does not have a reputation as an elite three point shooter, more as an elite scorer. He is shooting an abysmal 36.5 percent from the three point stripe which usually is not quality material for this contest, but hey, it is Kevin Durant one of the faces of the NBA. With Durant competing in this event on Saturday night, he will now have participated in something each day of this all-star weekend full of festivities, and yes, coaching counts.
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves: Odds to win-11-2
Love was an unexpected selection for the contest because power forwards are not usually selected, especially ones who are not even shooting 35 percent from the field (Kevin Love). My guess is that this was more of a pick for the fans to see one of the rising stars in the game on one of the biggest stages. Love is another taller player competing, which, like Ryan Anderson, will put him at a disadvantage from the rest of the pack. Along with his unfavorable size for this competition, Love also has one of the slower releases in out of the competitors. With all of this said, he could come out of nowhere and win this contest.