Slightly off target

Kyle Korver

Over the years, the NBA has made some interesting decisions when it comes to the three-point shooting competition that takes place during the All-Star weekend. In 2000, Allen Iverson — who had a career three-point shooting percentage of 32.3% at the time — was invited. In 2003, Antoine Walker, who is famous for missing a huge number of three-point shots, was invited and unsurprisingly scored only 7 points in the first round. This is because, in the past, the NBA was worse at determining who should participate (another post for another day).

How did the NBA do this year? The competitors are:

Player 3PM 3PM Rank* 3PT% 3P% Rank*
Ryan Anderson 157 1 40.2% 34
Stephen Curry 147 2 44.8% 4
Paul George 114 10 38.8% 52
Steve Novak 93 25 44.1% 6
Kyrie Irving 82 33 42.7% 19
Matt Bonner 37 121 45.1% 3

*rankings only include players with 20 or more 3PM. Numbers include games played up to and including those played on February 11th.

I have to say, this year’s competitors are actually pretty good. We’ve got some players who are leaders in made threes, some who are leaders in percentages, and some who are both. But importantly, all six competitors have been shooting better than 39% from three-point range this season.

However, we here at the Wages of Wins aren’t satisfied with “pretty good”. We want to find the best three-point shooters available for our three-point shooting contest.

Here are two ways to measure good three point shooting:

  • Wins Produced from three-point shooting. The simplest way to do this is to use the three-point shooting component of Win Score — the formula 3PM*3 – 3PA — which awards three points for each three-point make and removes a point for each three-point attempt.
  • Wins Produced from three point shooting per 48 minutes. The simplest way to do this is to take the above formula and measure it per 48 minutes — (3PM*3 – 3PA) / Minutes * 48. This controls for playing time and offers a look at the players who are the best three-point shooters when they are on the court.

How do this year’s participants rank using these two methods? First, the top 15 without the minute-adjustment:

Player 3PT WS Rank
Stephen Curry 113 1
Kyle Korver 107 2
Kevin Martin 83 3
Ryan Anderson 80 4
Randy Foye 79 5
Danny Green 79 6
Steve Novak 68 7
Carmelo Anthony 66 8
O.J. Mayo 66 9
Kevin Durant 65 10
Jose Calderon 63 11
Klay Thompson 60 12
J.J. Redick 58 13
Mike Dunleavy 58 14
Martell Webster 57 15

Note: players in italics were selected to participate. Numbers include games played up to and including those played on February 11th.

And now for the top 15 using the minute adjustment:

Player 3PT WS/48 Rank
Kyle Korver 3.63 1
Austin Daye 3.35 2
Steve Novak 3.12 3
Stephen Curry 3.07 4
Kevin Martin 2.76 5
Danny Green 2.71 6
Randy Foye 2.61 7
Mike Dunleavy 2.46 8
Matt Bonner 2.44 9
Ryan Anderson 2.36 10
Wayne Ellington 2.34 11
Rashard Lewis 2.21 12
Carlos Delfino 2.14 13
Jose Calderon 2.11 14
Jimmer Fredette 2.11 15

Note: players in italics were selected to participate. Numbers include games played up to and including those played on February 11th.

Using the totals method, Curry, Anderson, and Novak make the top seven. Using the minute method, Novak, Curry, Bonner, and Anderson make the top ten. Paul George and Kyrie Irving are good three-point shooters, but they don’t make either list. Who would I replace them with? Kyle Korver and Kevin Martin. They are ranked two and three and one and five, respectively, using both methods. Korver has been invited to the three-point shootout twice already, but it’s hard to believe that Kevin Martin has never been invited. If those two players chose not to participate, next on my list would be Danny Green (6th in totals, 6th per-minute) and Randy Foye (5th in totals, 7th in per-minute).

- Devin

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