Three days of NBA All-Star action in Cleveland begins on Friday night with the Celebrity Game and the Rising Stars Tournament. The weekend culminates with the 71st All-Star Game on Sunday night. Saturday has the most action, and the most eyeballs nearly every year. With the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest, and Slam Dunk Contest, the action is non-stop for the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night.
One of the most exciting events of the weekend is the three-point contest, where eight players shoot it out to see which one can claim bragging rights for the league’s best sniper. The competitors this year have all been shooting the lights out this season, thus earning them a spot in the Mountain Dew Three-Point Contest.
The eight-player field for the two-round timed shooting competition will deliver a first-time champion this year.
- Luke KennardLA Clippers (+375)
- Tray YoungAtlanta Hawks (+450)
- Patty MillsBrooklyn Nets (+500)
- Desmond BaneMemphis Grizzlies (+550)
- Fred VanVleetToronto Raptors (+650)
- Zach LaVineChicago Bulls (+800)
- CJ McCollumNew Orleans Pelicans (+800)
- Karl-Anthony TownsMinnesota Timberwolves (+1000)
LaVine has won the Dunk Contest twice but has not won this shooting competition in his previous two tries. Young will make his second appearance and the remaining six players are all first-time participants. There has only been one three-point contest in Cleveland prior to this year. That was the 1997 All-Star Weekend, which was won by Steve Kerr.
LaVine did not have a great showing last year when he was bounced in the first round. He has been exceptional this season though, and the Bulls rank 2nd in three-point shooting. The star guard has been cleared medically to participate in All-Star festivities this weekend and will return to the lineup after the break. LaVine got clearance after having his left knee drained and a lubricant injected in Los Angeles.
Per Billy Donovan, Zach LaVine’s visit went “very well” and some “swelling was taken out of his knee.” He was given a lubricant and he’s cleared for activity within 48 hours. LaVine is eligible to attend All-Star. There will be meeting with Bulls doctors about minutes
— KC Johnson (@KCJHoop) February 16, 2022
Kennard is the favorite to win going into Saturday night, with both Young and Mills just behind. Both McCollum and Towns are considered long shots to take home the trophy.
Young is perhaps the most lethal shooter from a distance, but his efficiency is nowhere near the level of some of the other players in this contest. But the Hawks star has made 32 of 108 attempts from six feet behind the arc. No other player has taken more than 20 of those shots this season, and no other player loves the spotlight as much as Young.
Towns is the lone big man entered in the contest this year and could serve as the poster child for bigs adapting to the modern game. The Timberwolves star leads this group in three-point shooting from the top of the key at 47 percent this season. KAT is shooting 41 percent from three-point range this season for the mighty Timberwolves.
KAT on 3 pt contest: “I’m going there to win.”
Says he wants the MVP in the All-Star game too
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) February 17, 2022
Mills has been a lethal shooter in Brooklyn, after another sensational season of international play this past summer. As one of the more instant-offense players in the game, Mills can shoot it with the best of them. The Nets guard leads all contestants in three-point shooting from the left-wing this season at 49 percent. Overall, Mills is shooting 41.4 percent from range this season.
Kennard is one of the premier stand-still shooters in the game and leads the league in right-corner threes this season. The lefty is shooting 43.4 percent from downtown this season for the Clippers. VanVleet leads the league in clutch three-point shooting this season. The first-time All-Star also leads in threes from the left corner, shooting 50 percent from that area of the floor this year.
Bane has a quicker release and may be able to get shots off quicker than some of the other competitors. The Most Improved Player candidate has also made 10 threes in crunch time this season, second only to VanVleet and Kyle Kuzma. Bane is shooting 42 percent from deep this season for the surging Grizzlies, who sits 3rd in the Western Conference standings at the break.
Only 3 players have shot 40+% from three and 90+% from the foul line within their first two seasons:
Stephen Curry (10-11), Duncan Robinson (19-20), and Desmond Bane (this yr). Of those, only Curry and Bane have done it with a USG above 20%.
(500+ FGA; h/t @stathead)
— Peter Edmiston (@peteredmiston) February 17, 2022
The contest will again feature the “Dew Zone”, two deep shot locations positioned equidistant between the traditional racks at the top of the three-point arc and the adjacent “wing” rack. Each of the two ball pedestals in the Dew Zone is located six feet behind the three-point line and holds one special green “three” ball. Shots made with the green ball are worth three points.
Each player will have 70 seconds to shoot as many of the 27 balls as he can, with a maximum possible score of 40 points in each round. The three competitors with the highest scores in the first round will advance to the championship round. The player with the highest score in the championship round will take home the newly-designed trophy.
The festivities in Cleveland begin at 8 PM ET on TNT with the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, followed by the Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest, and closes with the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest.