Steph Curry is the betting favorite to win the 2021 NBA All-Star Three-point Contest. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- Steph Curry is the betting favorite in the NBA All-Star Three-Point Contest
- Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will be making their event debut
- Check the odds, analysis and betting predictions below
There are a lot of firsts going into the 2021 NBA All-Star Three Point Contest. Some are just new innovations to add some spice, some are out of necessity due to the times we live in.
For example, this is the first-ever field composed fully of all-stars — in part because of COVID safety protocols limiting the Atlanta experience to just a single night.
We’ll get to the other firsts, but just know that there are two veterans in this field and whole lot of greenhorns trying to make their mark.
NBA All-Star Three-Point Contest Odds
*Odds taken from FanDuel on March 4
New Rules in 2021
A new first in this competition is two additional shots on the court. They’re located to the left and right of the middle rack (top of the key) halfway between the wing racks, six feet behind the three-point line. These balls will be green and are worth three points each.
There are still four racks with five balls — four worth one point each and a 2-point “moneyball”, and a fifth rack containing all money balls. The player can choose where they’d like to place that rack on the court.
2021 #NBAAllStar 3-Point Contest:
☔️ Steph Curry
☔️ Devin Booker
☔️ Zach LaVine
☔️ Jayson Tatum
☔️ Jaylen Brown
☔️ Donovan Mitchell pic.twitter.com/YFxzY1yIFf
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 3, 2021
Because of the extra two shots, there’s been an additional 10 seconds added to the round, giving players a total of 70 seconds to hoist up 27 total shots, where they can score 40 points if they hit them all.
The three highest scores from the first round will move to the finals, where the highest score will win.
Steph and Book Are Fixtures
Steph Curry should be in the 3-point contest until he hangs them up. In retirement, he should kick off this event by taking a three a la Jack Nicklaus and friends to start the Masters.
📍 Curry Range
Steph is ready for the 3-Point Contest ☔️ pic.twitter.com/JFAAMWlIj6
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 3, 2021
This will be Steph’s seventh appearance in the event, tying him with Dale Ellis for the second most appearances behind Craig Hodges’ eight. He leads the NBA in threes made this year with 169 splashes and he’s stroking it at a 41.1% clip.
Interestingly enough, though he holds the single-season record for threes made (402) and ranks second all-time in threes made — a mark that should easily be his own by the time he hangs them up — he has just one title on his resume in this event. He won in 2015.
Devin Booker left no doubt in the three-point contest with this record-setting performance! pic.twitter.com/TJgEGTGVcE
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 18, 2018
Devin Booker will be in his fifth event, and he’s the most recent champion in the field, taking home the trophy in 2018. But even though he’s got one of the prettiest strokes in the league, he’s actually made just 62 threes this year in 30 games – by far the lowest output of anyone in the field. But this isn’t about a body of work, and Book is a proven marksman in this competition.
Can Newcomers Take Trophy?
In short, yes: in the last 11 years, there has been a first-time champion every year. The last player to win a second title was the immortal Jason Kapono, who went back-to-back in 2008 and 2009.
You can give Zach LaVine the 3-Point Contest trophy now pic.twitter.com/wZcuZDuBHV
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) March 4, 2021
Zach Lavine is having a monster year, and part of that is his work from deep. The 1st-time all-star has made 120 threes this season (fifth-most in the NBA), and has the best shooting percentage of anyone in the field at a blistering 43.5%. It will be his second appearance.
During the entire month of February, 2 players are scoring over 1 point per min in the 3Q: Giannis (1.08) & Donovan Mitchell (1.01). During Spida’s 9.4 min of 3Q, he’s averaging a whopping 9.5 pts, shooting 54% from the field & 45% from 3. pic.twitter.com/Bm1utJDUsr
— Jake Lee (@JakeRexLee) February 28, 2021
Sticking with that theme of firsts, Donovan Mitchell, and the Boston J’s (Tatum and Brown) will all be making their first appearance in this event. Mitchell has drained 113 threes this year on 38.2%. Brown has hit 74 from three, shooting it at 38.9%, while Tatum has hit 78 from the land beyond, at 36.4%
What’s the Best Bet?
Curry is the greatest shooter in NBA history, and he should have won this event way more simply because of shooting mechanics. To quote Kenny Smith, his smooth release makes it look “Steph-ortless”, no matter the range. While his tempo doesn’t involve a lot of hops, Lavine, Brown and Tatum are more jumpshooters, and keeping those legs pumping through a 70-second course does take its toll.
Which is why the other easy-release, smooth stroking players that should challenge Steph in this field are Booker and Mitchell.
“I’ve been hearing that since my rookie year.”
Spida responds to Shaq’s criticism. pic.twitter.com/F5pkBGCMdA
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 22, 2021
Mitchell appears to be carrying an extra chip on his shoulder. He’s already been deemed not a superstar in front of a national audience, and was livid after feeling the Jazz were being officiated unfairly after losing a controversial one to Philly Wednesday night.
There’s nothing wrong with picking Curry, but I like the value in Mitchell, who currently feels he’s always got something to prove.
The pick: Mitchell (+550)
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.