Sadly, after many, many years, I’m retiring from Slam Dunk Contest fandom. Simply, there’s nothing left to be done and it’s far too gimmicky today. The dunks that should win the contest never do, as it takes a (sponsor’s) car driven on to the court to even have a chance. Look, I could go on all day about my beef with the Dunk Contest, maybe we’ll save that for a seperate post.
But the Three-Point Shootout on the other hand, now that requires skill. It also does NOT involve judgement of any kind. You take ‘em, you make ‘em, and you move on. With the three point shot becoming an ever-increasing weapon of choice in today’s NBA, there are also plenty of guys that can bomb from long range. Thus, it’s hard to pick just six players that I’d like to see in the contest.
However, at this moment in time, here are the six I would like to compete in Houston for the shooting crown:
Stephen Curry, Warriors
Simply, Curry is the best pure shooter in the league right now and his numbers completely back it up. While he’s only second to Anderson in 3-point makes, he’s also second in the whole league in percentage at an incredible .452%. With the Warriors success, Curry should also double as an actual All-Star, so very fitting for him to be in this as well. He made the second round last year, I expect him to WIN this year.
Ryan Anderson, Hornets
The contest must inculde this guy. Ryan Anderson is straight lethal. The Magic should have done everything in their power to keep him around, but that’s a story for another day. A volume 3-point shooter, Anderson currently leads the league in total 3-point makes (109), total 3-point attempts (270), 3-point makes per game (3.1) and still manages to shoot it at a .404% clip (28th). Even with a small hitch in his shot, he has one of the quickest releases in the league. Being 6’10 certainly helps him easily get his shot off. If (when) Anderson gets named, I expect him to at least make it out of the first round.
Ray Allen, Heat
Of course we need a sentimental and former champion pick… and that’s Ray Allen. With his 7th time entering the contest (his 4th with a different jersey on), Ray would be a bit of a throwback favorite to win. But let’s not kid ourselves, Ray can still shoot the lights out, as he ranks 3rd in the entire league this season in 3-point percentage. Having only one win (in 2001-02), I’m sure Ray would love to add a second trophy to his mantle.
O.J. Mayo, Mavericks
O.J. Mayo once led the league in 3-point percentage by a WIDE margin, as he was blazing hot to start the season (he’s now ranked 14th at .421%). He’s obviously still a solid shooter from the outside (he’s 5th in total made) and I think it would a compliment to his impressive season to have him be a participant in the contest for the first time. Lord knows, the Mavs could use some kind of excitement in this down year.
Klay Thompson, Warriors
Rarely would I want two players from the same team in the contest, but I think a little “side bet” type competition between Curry and Thompson would be fun. Like Curry, Thompson is a lights out shooter, although he’s been a tad streaky this season than Curry. Still, he’s 3rd behind him in 3-point makes with 93 and is excellent at the catch and shoot, which is the recipe for this contest. How cool would it be to have two Warriors launching in the finals? Very cool.
Carmelo Anthony, Knicks
Of course, everyone knows that Carmelo is a “scorer” first, “shooter” second. But given his very impressive season from behind the arc and the Knicks early success, he deserves to make his debut in the contest. Lord knows, he loves to shoot it. He does rank 10th overall in percentage (.428%) and 3rd overall in 3-point makes per game (2.8). Let’s get Melo chucking.
Other considerations (my apologies to):
James Harden, Rockets – Being in Houston, seems fitting.
Steve Novak, Knicks – Deadly accurate, a specialist.
Kyle Korver, Hawks – How has this guy only been in two of these?
Kevin Martin, Thunder - Even more efficient from three than from two.
Metta World Peace, Lakers – C’mon, you know he secretly wants in!