NEW ORLEANS – (Staff Report by Digital Sports Desk from Official News Release) – Defending champion Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors and 2013 winner Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers lead the list of four NBA All-Stars who will showcase their shooting range in the 2017 JBL Three-Point Contest on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
The eight-player field also features 2017 All-Stars Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets, as well as Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets, Wesley Matthews of the Dallas Mavericks, CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers and Nick Young of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The JBL Three-Point Contest is part of State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night, which will be televised by TNT at 8 p.m. ET and will also be available on the Watch TNT App and on TNT Overtime. In addition, the competition will be broadcast on ESPN Radio, with audio also available on the ESPN app.
Each participant ranks in the NBA’s top 20 in three-pointers made this season, including seven of the top 12. Thompson, an All-Star selection for the third consecutive season, ranks fifth in that category with 149. He connected on eight three-pointers on his way to a career-high 60 points against the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 5, the NBA’s highest-scoring game in 2016-17. Last season, the 6-7 guard sank 276 three-pointers, the third-highest total in league history.
The other three 2017 All-Stars in the field are from the Eastern Conference. Irving, voted a starter for the All-Star Game, is averaging career highs of 2.4 three-pointers and 24.2 points per game this season. Lowry, who competed in the 2016 Three-Point Contest, is third in the NBA in three-pointers made (162), seventh in three-point field goal percentage (42.7) and 15th in scoring (23.3 ppg). Walker (22.9 ppg), a first-time All-Star, is shooting a career-high 40.2 percent from long distance and is on pace for his first season with at least 200 three-pointers made.
Gordon and Young join Walker as first-time competitors in the Three-Point Contest. In his first season with the Rockets, Gordon ranks second in the NBA in three-pointers made with 170, which is already a career high. Young has 128 three-pointers in 2016-17, which is only seven fewer than his single-season career high of 135, and the Lakers’ guard/forward is ninth in the NBA in three-point field goal accuracy with a career-high mark of 42.4 percent.
Matthews (2015 participant) and McCollum (2016 participant) return for their second appearances in the Three-Point Contest. With 129 three-pointers made in 2016-17 (10th in the NBA), Matthews is now the only player to hit at least 125 in each of seven straight seasons from 2010-17. McCollum, the 2015-16 Kia NBA Most Improved Player, is 14th in the NBA in scoring (23.4 ppg) and tied for 10th in three-point field goal percentage (42.3).
The JBL Three-Point Contest is a two-round, timed competition in which five shooting locations are positioned around the three-point arc. Four racks contain four orange balls (each worth one point) and one multicolored “money” ball (worth two points). The fifth rack is a special “all money ball” rack, which each participant can place at any of the five shooting locations. Every ball on this rack is worth two points.
The players have one minute to shoot as many as the 25 balls as they can. The three competitors with the highest scores in the first round advance to the championship round.