The 2015 NBA 3 point contest

Sizing up the 2015 NBA 3 Point Contest Contestants

The 8 participants for the 2015 NBA 3-Point Contest were announced by the NBA and is set to take place on Saturday, February 14 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 

Marco Belinelli will defend his crown as the 2014 contest winner and will be joined by the 2013 winner, Kyrie Irving.  James Harden, Wesley Matthews, J.J. Redick, and Klay Thompson will each make their first appearance in the event.

Kyle Korver will make a return appearance after a 10 year hiatus. Rounding out the field of 8 is Steph Curry who will make his 4th appearance in the event which is the most of those competing.

Curry is also the odds on favorite to win by most odd makers, despite never having won in each of his 3 previous attempts. The following illustration shows the current odds (as of 2/7/15) at Bovoda.lv for those looking to drop some money on the event.

Odds from Bovada.lv as of 2/7/15
Odds from Bovada.lv as of 2/7/15

We’ll review each of the participants, look back at their history in the event, break down their form, provide a few current shooting stats and evaluate their chances. In the end, we’ll make our predication.

Wesley Matthews

  • First time participant
  • 39.8 3PT% (23rd), 3.1 3PTM p/gm (3rd), 7.7 3PTA p/gm (2nd)
  • Odds: 6/1
  • Matthews has good size for the contest at 6’5 and a stout 220 pounds. While there has been short winners of the events, with Steve Kerr, Mark Price (winning twice) and most recently Kyrie Irving, the majority of the winners have been 6’5 and above. With his very compact release and using very little lift, combined with his bigger body which will require less effort to get up shots, Matthews could be a dark horse and possibly hold the best value of the field at 6 to 1. However, we don’t see Matthews getting out of the first round with the level of competition in this year’s event.

James Harden

  • First time participant
  • 38.9 3PT%, 2.7  3PTM p/gm (5th), 6.8 3PTA p/gm (6th)
  • Odds: 8/1
  • Vegas has Harden as the underdog in the field of 8 for the event. I agree with the oddmakers that Harden is the long shot in the event and believe he’ll have a hard time getting out of the first round. While Harden has good size for the event at 6’5 and 220 pounds, he is not what you would consider a pure shooter. Harden takes longer than most competing to release the ball due to him using more lift and utilizing a deeper knee bend on his shot which will take a toll with his stamina and getting through all the racks in the time allotted. Harden is streaky and can get hot as he has been since the beginning of the new year where he is shooting 43.7 percent from 3 in 19 games. It can also get very ugly, as it was when Harden shot 1 for 11 from deep against the Golden State Warriors on November 8, 2014. Harden’s volatility from the outside is too risky to pick him as a winner in this event.

JJ Redick

  • First time participant
  • 43.2 3PT% (8th), 2.4 3PTM p/gm (8th), 5.5 3PTA p/gm (20th)
  • Odds: 5/1
  • Redick is a pure shooter with great looking and consistent mechanics. The issue with Redick for this event is like Harden, he takes longer to release his shot with a deep knee bend and more lift which will wear on him as he goes through the racks. Redick is also on the smaller end of most winners from the past at 6’4 and 190, which is also the reason he needs to use more legs to get the ball to the basket on his deep shots. There is just too many negative factors in Redick’s shot to pick him to get out of the first round.

Defending Champ: Marco Belinelli

  • 2 time participant
  • Winner of 2014 NBA 3 Point Contest
  • 37.5 3PT%, 1.3 3PTM p/gm, 3.4 3PTA p/gm
  • Odds: 6/1
  • In Marco Belinelli’s first appearance in the 3-point contest last year he took home the trophy, beating Bradley Beal in the finals with a scorching hot performance, scoring 24 points which is 1 short of the record for a round held by Jason Kapono (2008) and Craig Hodges (1986). Belinelli has a short, effortless and fluid motion in his shot, combined with this height makes him great for a 3 point contest and would typically be considered as one of the favorites; however, he is coming off missing 11 games due to a groin injury and time off along with any type of pain in the core region is not beneficial for a shooter. Not having time to get into a rhythm and residual effects of the groin injury will be too much to overcome and don’t see Belinelli making it 2 for 2 in the event.

Kyrie Irving

  • 3 time participant
  • Winner of the 2013 NBA 3 Point Contest. finished 4th in 2014
  • 40.5 3PT% (20th), 2.1 3PTM p/gm (15th), 5.2 3PTA p/gm
  • Odds: 4/1
  • Irving is making the most of the extra attention that his new teammates Lebron James and Kevin Love are receiving this season by shooting a career high 40.5  percent from 3 point range. Irving has great follow through on his shot and gets great rotation. Irving already has a win in the event (2013) and had a good showing in last year’s event (came in 4th), so despite his size (6’3) and that he uses a lot of legs in his shot, he excels in this format and is understandably one of the favorites.

Steph Curry

  • 4 time participant
  • Runner up to Paul Pierce in 2010, lost in first round in 2013 & 2014.
  • 40.5% (19th), 3.1 3PTM p/gm (2nd), 7.8 3PTA p/gm (1st)
  • Odds: 13/4
  • The odds on favorite to win the 2015 NBA 3 point contest is Steph Curry and with good reason. Curry is widely considered the best shooter in the NBA and with his lighting quick release and smooth mechanics, he  was built for this event.Unlike many shorter NBA players who have to use a lot of their  legs and have a big dip on their shot, Curry does not which will aide him in the event by saving him time and energy as he goes through the rack. Curry is due to blow up with him having pedestrian showings in the last two 3-point contests, we just don’t predict that blow up will come this year.

Kyle Korver

  • 3 time participant
  • Runner up to Quentin Richardson in 2005, finished 3rd in 2004
  • 53.3 3PT% (1st), 3.1 3PTM p/gm (4th), 5.8 3PTA p/gm (13th)
  • Odds: 15/4
  • It has been some time since Korver last competed in 3-point contest, 10 years to be exact, and he’s been able to  maintain his marksmanship in the league in all that time. Korver currently leads the league in 3-point and free throw percentage (92%), and on pace to become the first player in NBA history to end the season with shooting at least 50% from the field, 50% from 3-point and 90% percent from the free throw line. Korver is a pure shooter with a nice, consistent release. Although Korver is one of the taller players in the event at 6’7 he uses a deeper knee bend, more legs and a longer wind up in his shot than most players his size which doesn’t bode well for his chances. Still, even with Korver’s shooting form not being ideal for the event, he is just shooting too well this year and has come so close in both his previous performances that he is my pick to make the finals, just not win the event.

Raining3s Pick: Klay Thompson

  • First time participant
  • 44.7 3PT% (4th), 3.2 3PTM p/gm (1st), 7.1 3PTA p/gm (4th)
  • Odds: 4/1
  • Klay Thompson has all the makings of a 3-point contest winner: the size at 6’7 and 205 pounds, effortless motion, quick and compact release. Klay doesn’t dip much in his shot or bring the ball below his waist as part of his shot will makes it ideal for picking balls off the rack and quickly getting up shots. Another very favorable trait in Thompson is he has that potential of getting scorching hot from the outside as he showed in his 37 point in a quarter which included going 9 for 9 from 3. A propensity to get on a hot streak and a shooting form that was built for the 3-point contest is the reason I’m picking Klay Thompson to win this year’s NBA 3-point contest.
Writer & NBA fan who’s been hooked since the days of Magic v Bird. Love basketball debates without it ending in a knife fight. My BBall nickname: “Todo El Dia” (All Day.) Hit me up on Twitter @fullcourtfern or Instagram: @raining3sdotcom