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The NBA just announced the line up for the 2011 3-Point Shootout. Participants will include: Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Durant, Daniel Gibson, James Jones and Dorell Wright
Here’s how each of them has done this season.
Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics:
Paul, who won last year’s shootout, is shooting 40.1% from deep this season and has hit on 73 different occasions. Not sure if he is the popular vote to repeat but his swag is definitely going to make an appearance. Pierce was really lobbying to get into the contest and he is hopeful that he and his teammate, Ray Allen, can face-off in the finals.
Kevin Durant, OKC Thunder:
Kevin Durant is in here because he is Kevin Durant. Sure he has made 85 3-pointers this season, but he has chucked up 245 attempts for a 34.7% 3P%. That’s not terrible, but it’s not cream of the crop, either. In fact, the league’s leading scorer is the only participant that is shooting below 40% from three this season.
Daniel Gibson, Cleveland Cavaliers:
Boobie has connected on 79 of 180 threes this season. He’s been one of the only bright spots in a dismal Cavs season. I’m glad he has the honor of participating but haven’t the Cavs and their fans lost enough already?
Dorell Wright, Golden State Warriors:
Dorell can shoot, both in volume and accuracy. He has hit 124 threes this year good for #1 in the NBA. He’s also splashing at about a 41% clip. Both of these numbers are stellar but he has struggled significantly when David Lee hasn’t been on the floor. Last I checked, David just missed the cut for this year’s shootout…
James Jones, Miami Heat:
His 42.7% shooting and 91 made threes makes him a dark horse to take this contest. Although a lot of those makes have come from the corners and I’d be curious to see how he does around the top of the key — a spot he seldom visits.
Ray Allen, Boston Celtics:
Ray Allen is the greatest three point shooter in NBA history. He doesn’t own the record for it yet, but he will before the All-Star break. He’s shooting a blistering 46.2% from deep and has 115 made threes on the season. If i were a betting man…
Left out of the shootout: Matt Bonner (60 3P, 50.4%), Chris Paul (56 3P, 45.2%), Jason Richardson (121 3P, 39.7%), Kevin Martin (115 3P, 40.8%), Anthony Morrow (65 3P, 43.3%), Chauncey Billups (96 3P, 44.4%) and Arron Afflalo (83 3P, 44.9%)
The Denver Nuggets are in a super awkward position. Like really awkward. If it wasn’t a few Trevor Ariza steals in the Western Conference finals, the Nuggets would have gone to the finals in 2009. On a dark and stormy night in Los Angeles last season, Chauncey Billups went nuts from the three point line and destroyed the Lakers. It looked the Nuggets were the team to beat in the West, but sadly, George Karl had to leave the team for cancer treatment and well, the team went through the motions for the reminder of the season.
After a summer of Carmelo Anthony wants to be trade rumors/stories, what exactly do the Nuggets do? Aside from the addition of Ty Lawson, Al Harrington and Arron Affalo, it’s pretty much the same squad that nearly got them to the Finals. Besides losing Karl for the last bit of the 2009-2010 season, Kenyon Martin was out of the line up (and may not even be back until January 2011).
So, what do the Nuggets do? Cut bait, trade Melo and start building a team around the speedy Ty Lawson and preparing for the future? Or do the Nuggets just wait it out with Melo and make one last great stand like the gang at the end of Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch? Go out in a blaze of glory (via Jon Bon Jovi)? Or do they just wait until January or February and figure, if it’s not working then, do the Nuggets blow up the team and start from the scratch?
Carmelo Anthony leaving Nuggets wouldn’t cripple or set the Nuggets back at least seven years like LeBron did when he left the Cavs, but it would be to their advantage to trade him while they can and get some building blocks for the future. That is if Melo wants to be traded.
There’s a lot of ands, ifs and buts with the Nuggets this season, but they should be a competitive team, if they want to be. Tough and physical….they’re kind of an odd ball team in the finesse Western Conference and they’ve been at top of the conference ever since Chauncey joined the team.
Predictions & Fun Facts
And for no reason, here’s the Denver Nuggets’ Mascot on a motorcycle: