Harris, Bertans Favored To Win All-Star 3-Point Shooting Contest
The NBA All-Star 3-Point Shooting Contest received some important news earlier this week, as Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard suffered an injury which will keep him out of this event and the actual All-Star Game itself. This reshapes the calculus for the 3-point contest as he was going to participate in it. With him out and just two returning players from last year’s event, let’s take a look at the three-point contest odds.
This has been one of the breakthrough stories in the NBA this season. Bertans is shooting just over 42 percent from 3-point range and even made eight threes in a game earlier this season. He is averaging close to 15 points per game for the Washington Wizards, giving the team a reliable perimeter presence, which spaces the floor and makes life easier for Bradley Beal and other teammates who play away from the basket. Many will regard Bertans as the favorite with Lillard out. Will the Latvian Laser handle the pressure well? That seems to be the biggest question of the 3-point contest now that Lillard won’t take part due to his injury.
The Miami Heat have a fantastic group of youngsters and Duncan Robinson has come out of nowhere to be a part of that. The shooting guard is shooting 43.8 percent on threes and he’s averaging a hefty 29 minutes per game this season. Coach Erik Spoelstra obviously trusts him to play well at both ends of the floor. The fact that Robinson averages nearly 44 percent of his threes and has hit over 46 percent on threes in his last 10 games shows that he is riding a hot streak.
Yet, this will be a different spotlight for Robinson, a second-year player whose first season in 2019 was marked by occasional spot duty for the Heat while playing for the team’s G League affiliate. This is Robinson’s first full NBA season without G League assignments. The moment could be too big for him, but if he can handle it, he’ll have a great chance.
The defending 3-point contest champion seeks to defend his title. Harris, as mentioned above, is one of only two returning participants to this event, which has a lot of fresh faces. Harris is shooting 40.8 percent on threes for the season, slightly below Bertans and Robinson. Yet, he knows he can win this event and perform when the lights are bright. That is the aspect of the competition which sits in his favor.
The Trae Young story in the 3-point contest offers a different profile. Most of the players here are shooting specialists, guys who are great at catching passes and immediately shooting threes off the catch. Young is a ball-dominant point guard who creates his own shots off the dribble. He is not a pure shooter, but he has improved his shot to the point where he hits a respectable 37 percent of threes. Young is averaging just under 30 points per game, so he knows how to score. The argument to make for him in this contest is that without being guarded by a defender, Young will not have a very stressful or difficult time releasing his shot, which could make him a much better shooter than he normally is. Maybe that will work for him. Nevertheless, Young is a longshot in this event, pun not intended.
The other returning participant in this contest might enjoy the familiarity of it all and win the award. Hield always had great shooting range in college and he has continued to display as much in the pros. This season, he is shooting 38.5 percent on threes but many in the league are wondering if Hield is being poorly served by coach Luke Walton in Sacramento. Coming to Chicago for All-Star Weekend might be a welcome escape for Hield, something which will enable him to shoot extremely well.
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