On Saturday, six more NBA sharpshooters hope to add their names to that list, and prove to the basketball world that they are the very best in the league at shooting from behind the arc.
The Eastern Conference will be represented by Steve Novak of the New York Knicks, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Paul George of the Indiana Pacers. The Western Conference will be represented by Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans Hornets, Matt Bonner of the San Antonio Spurs, and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
To get a better idea of just how effective each player is from that part of the court, let’s take a look at their shooting numbers to date from three-point range.
Steve Novak: 2.0 made (96), 4.4 attempted (215) = 44.7% (tied for 2nd in NBA)
Stephen Curry: 3.1 made (149), 6.9 attempted (333), = 44.7% (tied for 2nd in NBA)
Matt Bonner: 0.8 made (37), 1.8 attempted (83) = 44.6% (tied for 4th in NBA)
Kyrie Irving: 2.0 made (82), 4.6 attempted (193) = 42.5% (13th in NBA)
Ryan Anderson: 3.0 made (159), 7.5 attempted (396) = 40.2% (tied for 30th in NBA)
Paul George: 2.2 made (115), 5.7 attempted (298) = 38.6% (tied for 44th in NBA)
Steve Novak, Stephen Curry and Matt Bonner are the only shooters competing who rank in the top-10 in the league in three-point percentage, while Ryan Anderson and Curry are 1-2 respectively in three-pointers attempted.
The rules of the competition are very simple…
Five shooting stations will be set up around the three-point line, with four Official Spalding NBA game balls worth one point each and one Spalding NBA All-Star 2013 commemorative red, white and blue “money ball” worth two points at each location. Each player will have one minute to shoot as many balls as he can. (NBA.com)
Hot streaks and lucky bounces are what win the three-point shootout. The best shooters during the regular season don’t necessarily win this event, as evident by last years competition when the final two participants (Kevin Love and Kevin Durant) didn’t finish in the top-25 in three-point shooting percentage for the year.
Taking the most three-pointers doesn’t mean a heck of a lot to me, so I’m going to stay clear of Paul George and Ryan Anderson.
In the last ten years, only two players of Ryan’s stature (Love, Dirk Nowitzki) have won the shootout. He did put up 17 points in the first round of last years competition, so perhaps prior experience will be an asset this go-around.
Paul George would have been better off competing in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest than this event anyways. He’s a great scorer, but I don’t see him as a legitimate threat in this event.
I can make that same statement for Kyrie Irving. He will be a participant in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, as well as a potential starter for the Eastern Conference in the NBA All-Star game Sunday night. Perhaps his mind will be focused on other matters, rather than putting up a good showing in the three-point shootout. He’s a terrific player, but I’ve never seen him as much of a specialist in this department.
While I’ll be rooting for Matt Bonner Saturday, as he’s a former Toronto Raptor, I don’t like his chances either. He’s got the slowest release of the group, and moving from rack to rack at a snail’s pace may prevent him from getting every ball up in time.
That leaves Steve Novak and Stephen Curry, who are in my opinion, the two best shooters in the NBA today.
Novak has been heralded by “Sir Charles” Barkley as the best pure shooter in the league on many occasions. He takes a majority of his shots from the two corner spots, so it will be interesting to see what kind of impact he has on the other three racks.
I feel that Curry has something to prove this weekend, especially after being snubbed from the original selections for Western Conference All-Star reserves. He shot better than 47% from three-point range in December and January, and his quick shooting touch and flawless form could go a long way in helping him achieve victory in this competition.
FINAL THREE: Steve Novak, Stephen Curry and Ryan Anderson
WINNER: Stephen Curry
Topics: Cleveland Cavaliers, Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Kyrie Irving, Matt Bonner, NBA All-Star 2013, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Paul George, Ryan Anderson, San Antonio Spurs, Stephen Curry, Steve Novak