2016 NBA Three-Point Shootout Analytics: Who's the Favorite?
Most people look forward to All-Star Saturday night for one reason: the Slam Dunk Contest.
If you are a big slam dunk fan, this year's field shouldn't disappoint. But if you ask me what I'm most looking forward to, that would be this year's three-point shootout.
Last year, Stephen Curry ran away with the hardware, making 19 straight shots in the championship round on his way to a 27 out of 30 possible points.
In my opinion, last year's field wasn't nearly as competitive as this year's, so Curry's likely to get a run for his money this time around. This year's field includes Curry, Klay Thompson, J.J. Redick, Devin Booker, Kyle Lowry, James Harden, Khris Middleton and lone big man Chris Bosh.
Outside of Curry, it's hard to pinpoint who else is most likely to win based off the eye test throughout the season, but maybe the numbers can give us a better idea.
If you ask the oddsmakers, they favor the Splash Brothers, Curry and Thompson, followed by the returning Redick and the rest of the pack.
What we are going to do is breakdown the contestants by three-point volume, accuracy and situation shooting. Each player will earn a given value, from 8 to 1 (8 being the best), based on their position among all contestants in that area.
Is Steph likely to repeat? Or is there anyone in the field poised to push him for the belt this year?
In terms of volume, Curry is far and away the most frequent three-point shooter. He's the only player among the eight to hoist more than half of his shot attempts from downtown and have well over 500 attempts on the season. In fact, Curry has more attempts than Redick and Middleton do combined.
Thompson, Lowry and Harden are the other super high volume shooters from beyond the arc. Bosh and Middleton tend to venture into the midrange while Booker hasn't really had his shot to get shots up prior to the injuries to Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe. The youngster will have his chance tomorrow.
When we get into accuracy, Curry is dethroned by Redick. Of course, Redick has taken way fewer attempts than Curry, but on his nearly 275 attempts, the Clipper guard is leading the league at 47.6% and is deadly from the corners, where he'll get to shoot ten shots from per round.
On the other end of the spectrum, Harden could find himself at a disadvantage from the corners, as he's struggled to convert from that area of the three-point line.
Catch and Shoot
Again Redick leads the group in accuracy -- this time on catch and shoot opportunities. Redick trails Curry, Thompson and (surprisingly) Bosh in attempts, but he edges out Curry in shooting percentage. This comes as no surprise, as Redick is known for his role coming off screens to get off three-point shots in Doc Rivers' offense.
As I alluded to, Thompson is the highest-volume shooter on catch and shoots. He seems to run off screens endlessly and to utilize his ability to come off the pick and pop in order to create open looks in the Warriors' offensive attack.
Here, we have a little special treatment. Redick managed to edge out Curry by a hair on three-point percentage on pull up jumpers. However, Curry has attempted over 200 more shots of this variety and has still managed to shoot over 43%. His ball-handling skills help to create space and open shots for himself around the perimeter, something he won't be asked to do with a ball rack at his side.
Another thing to note here is the disparity in attempts Harden has taken off the dribble rather than on catch and shoots. This might indicate that Harden could struggle just grabbing balls off the rack and firing them up right away.
What we've found out now is that this shouldn't be a runaway for the reigning champion and NBA MVP. Based on this year's numbers, Redick is right there with him. So long as Redick can keep his toes behind the line -- which he's worked on, according to his most recent Vertical Podcast -- he should put some heat on Mr. Curry.
The others all fall into the category of other, as none reach the 20-point threshold, let alone the 30-point one Curry and Redick sit at.
And if I'm being honest, I'm not entirely sure why Bosh was included in this contest. As a big, he does have the ability to step out and hit from the three-point line, but neither the volume nor the accuracy leaves us to believe he can compete in this contest.
We'll just have to wait and see what Saturday night brings when all the lights are on.