NBA All Star Saturday Night is headlined by the Slam Dunk Contest and Three Point Shootout. NBA All Star Weekend kicks off tonight with the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. All of the festivities will take place from New York’s Madison Square Garden. The star power will be in the stands, as much as on the court.
This years Three Point Shootout field may have arguably the best group of shooters we have ever seen. The eight competitors are among the NBA’s elite marksman. While the dunk contest has lost much of its luster since Vince Carter was hanging from his elbow 15 years ago, there is a way to add some excitement it and all of Saturday nights events, gambling!
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Odds to win the 3 Point Shootout
While the one of the Splash Brothers may seem like an obvious winner between Thompson showing his ability to hit 9 three pointers in a single quarter against the Sacramento Kings and Steph Curry hitting 10 three pointers against the Dallas Mavericks this month, three guys stand out to me as having the odds to take a shot on and the ability to make some serious noise in the competition.
Kyle Korver – 11/4
Kyle Korver is having his best season as a pro. He will be representing the Atlanta Hawks in Sunday’s All Star game, in addition to the three point shootout Saturday night. He is on pace for 50/50/90 season which is insane. That is shooting 50% of all field goals, 50% on all three point field goals and 90% from the free throw line. Korver is a great catch and shoot guy, which makes him an ideal candidate for this contest. Unlike other shooters in this contest, Korver doesn’t need to move to get to his shot. He is shooting over 53% on unguarded, catch and shoot opportunities, per Synergy Sports. Among the participants with the shortest odds, Korver is my favorite.
If you are looking for shooters with longer odds, there are three names that stand out.
Wes Matthews – 17/2
Wes Matthews is tied with Kyle Korver and Steph Curry for most threes made at the halfway point of the season. He is also tied with Curry for most threes attempted. While Matthews isn’t typically lumped in with names like Korver and Curry, he is proving this season it may be warranted. While Matthews can attack and get his shot off the dribble he is also a great catch and shoot three point shooter.
James Harden – 8/1
At 8/1 James Harden provides the best value. He is currently 5th in the NBA in terms of made three’s, shooting 38% on those shots. Harden has a release that may cause more time between shots, but his ability to get hot is up there with anyone. If Harden can get it rolling early, he will be hard to beat.
Marco Belinelli- 7/1
Last years winner, Marco Belinelli is back to defend his title. While Belinelli isn’t the sexiest name in the field, his experience in the contest will be key. He knows how to pace himself as well as being used to shooting in a unique environment. There have been several repeat winners in past seasons, including Jason Kapono, Peja Stojakovic, and Larry Bird. Repeat winners is not uncommon to this contest.
The Slam Dunk Contest
The Slam Dunk Contest has been tweaked over the past few seasons, in an attempt to restore it to its former glory. The NBA doesn’t realize that what made the contest great was less about format and more about the star power brought by the participants. This season, while its not names like Jordan, Dominique, and Vince it does feature a few names that could make things interesting.
Two names stand out for me, as people who will win this contest, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zach Lavine. LaVine has jumping ability that is amongst the best in the NBA. While working out for the Los Angeles Lakers during the pre-draft process, he recorded a vertical jump of 46 inches.
Antetokoumpo or the Greek Freak as he is commonly referred to is an athletic marvel. In his second season in the NBA, Giannis is only 20 and is still growing. Entering the NBA at 18 he was 6’9”. He now stands at 6’11” but posses athleticism and ball handling ability of some guards. The Greek Freak is my favorite to win this competition. Not only does he have the athletic ability to win the contest but his odds are much more favorable than LaVine.
Preview Sunday’s NBA All Star Game from a sports betting prospective.