2014 NBA Three Point Contest: Odds and Predictions
The 2014 three point contest features one shooter who many are now questioning as to whether he may be the best of all-time: The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry. Curry, whose father Dell played in the 90s, has helped Golden State become a relevant and exciting team, and he is the favorite to win the three point contest according to NBA oddsmakers at Bovada.
Even so, any shooter can have an off night, and if Curry goes cold on the opening rack, that could be his entire night. Thus, when evaluating this field, it makes good sense to consider bet hedging with the second best shooter, whomever that may be in this field.
Stephen Curry (9/5)
Steph Curry started his shooting antics by hitting three half court shots following practice today. But his shot doesn’t have to be launched from mid court to see its beauty. Curry has shot over 40 percent from three point range in each of his five seasons as a pro, and he’s a career 43.9 percent three-point shooter. His stroke is effortless and fast, so don’t expect him to have any trouble completing his racks. Also, fatigue will likely not play much a role for Curry who sees 37.7 minutes per night and carries a large offensive role for his team in those minutes.
Arron Afflalo (11/2)
Arron Afflalo is having a career year shooting the ball, one season after slumping to 30 percent. Afflalo shot 39 percent or better for four seasons straight before his down year last year in Orlando, but he wasn’t counted on a primary option in the offense. This season, he’s embraced the role and is hitting 42.5 percent from behind the arc. That’s just a notch behind Curry, but the league at large isn’t taking notice of the talents on bottom feeders like the Magic. Afflalo is a sharp shooter and could get hot and win this. While he shares the same odds as Bradley Beal, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, according to NBA odds, Afflalo is a much better “second choice” to win this contest.
Bradley Beal (11/2)
Bradley Beal really struggled out of the gates in 2012-13, but that has all been forgotten with the brilliance he has displayed ever since John Wall rejoined the team from injury last year. Beal is shooting 40.7 percent from distance and last year he was even better at 42.4 percent. Beal has a pure stroke, and like all sharp shooting 2-guards he drew Ray Allen comparisons coming out of Florida. If he had Allen’s stroke, he’d be the favorite, but he”s not far off. Beal makes a more logical pick probably than past winner Kevin Love.
Kevin Love (11/2)
Kevin Love is really not on par with the rest of the shooters in this contest. Yes, he is a past winner, but he’s shooting 37 percent from three-point range this season and he’s only been over 40 percent once in his career, in 2010-11. The “he can get hot and win this” statement applies to Love as much as anyone in this contest, but I’m not liking his chances against much purer shooters like Curry and Afflalo.
Kyrie Irving (11/2)
Kyrie Irving is a good shooter, and that can be said even though he shoots under 37 percent from three on the season. It’s just that Irving takes a lot of tougher shots due to his lack of support from teammates. Thus, his pedestrian percentages can’t be listed as a reason for discrediting his chances. What can, however, is Irving’s style of play. He’s not a spot up shooter and takes most of his threes in transition or even in pick and rolls. This contest isn’t best suited for his shooting style.
Damian Lillard (6/1)
One thing that has to be considered if betting on Lillard, is that he is in both the dunk contest and the skills contest. Fatigue will definitely play a role. He’s shooting 40.4 percent from three-point range this year, but unless he’s planning on dogging the Skills competition and./or entering the dunk contest exhausted, Lillard won’t have the energy and focus for this. That said, for a 40 percent motivated shooter to win this would not be absurd. If Lillard weren’t in the other competitions, his chances would be far better.
Marco Belinelli (15/2)
What a difference a year can make for a shooter, or a system. Marco Belinelli took a lot of threes last year in Chicago, bu the system the Spurs employ always seems to get the shooters the open looks. Thus, Belinelli has gone from shooting just 35.7 percent last season in Chicago to 44.8 percent as a Spur. It’s his first time shooting over 40 percent since 2010-11, and he may have just gained a stream of confidence accompanied by the Spurs wins and Gregg Popovich’s trust in Belinelli. Though Belinelli is a heavy underdog, his chances are every bit as good as anyone not named Steph Curry.
Joe Johnson (12/1)
Joe Johnson is the heaviest underdog by a good bit, and it’s probably because he’s more consistent than awesome. Johnson has shot 37 percent or better for the last three seasons, but he has not once shot over 40 percent for a season in his career. That’s kind of the arbitrary bench mark for a contestant to be proficient in this competition. He’s shooting his highest percentage from three point range since 2004-05….but it is only 39 percent.