By Ben Leibowitz
February 04, 2015

The 2015 NBA Three-Point shootout contestants are locked in, and it’s difficult to envision a group of players more worthy. Sharpshooters abound, as the field features some of the most potent three-point threats in the game.

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Any of the competitors could be deemed the favorite to win, which is why this year’s crop is so intriguing. The shooters are listed in the order they'll be participating in.

Matthews has attempted the most three-pointers of any NBA player this season by a comfortable margin.

By firing away 375 triples through 49 games played, Matthews has launched 15 more three-pointers than teammate Damian Lillard -- who sits in second place with 360 attempts.

Matthews hasn’t been shy about shooting the ball as long as he’s been teeing it up from beyond the arc. But there’s reason to believe he could struggle in the Three-Point Contest with one rack in particular.
While Matthews is shooting a scorching-hot 40.3 percent from deep overall, he’s making just 26.2 percent of his threes from the right corner -- an abysmal mark compared to the league average of 39.2 percent. Compare that to 41.1 percent from above the break and 49 percent from the left corner, and it’s clear that Matthews has at least one weak area from long range. Keep an eye out for his performance from that spot during the shootout.

Redick has been lights out from beyond the arc in 2014-15.

After starting the season 4-of-23 through the first three games, Redick started to catch fire. He drained 49.1 percent of his threes in December and didn’t slow down much in January -- converting 44.8 percent of his long-distance tries.

After a brutal start, Redick is up to shooting a career-high 43.2 percent from long range.

The Clippers guard is cashing in on 41.2 percent of his triples above the break, 46.2 percent from the left corner and 48.4 percent from the right corner. He’s been hitting threes considerably above league-average from everywhere, which makes him an intriguing dark horse candidate to win.

The Houston Rockets bearded 2-guard was a late entry to the competition, but the talented southpaw is merely another threat to win the shootout.

Of the high volume shooters in the competition -- those who have launched at least 300 attempts (Curry, Thompson, Matthews and Harden) -- Harden’s percentage of 38.7 is the lowest. Nearly all of his three-point attempts have been heaved up from above the break, but his numbers in a small sample size from the corners have been the most impressive.

Houston’s go-to guy is shooting 58.8 percent from the right corner and 42.9 percent from the other side, but those two areas only account for 2.8 percent of his total shot attempts. Nevertheless, with Harden given open opportunities to knock down those corner threes, he could (and perhaps should) have a strong open and close to his shootout round(s).

Kyrie Irving will also join an already loaded field of shooters. The Cavaliers All-Star point guard will look to add another trophy to his mantle, as he won the Three-Point Contest back in 2013.

The 22-year-old out of Duke is converting a career-high 40.8 percent of his looks from downtown in 2014-15. Having two new teammates named LeBron James and Kevin Love to take some of the attention off him has helped, but it’s still impressive his shooting percentage from downtown has improved by five percentage points compared to a season ago (35.8 percent).

Like many of the other three-point rainmakers in this year’s shootout, Irving excels when firing  from the corners. He’s been well above 50 percent from both of those zones, but he’s also making 39.8 percent of his shots above the break -- much better than the league average of 33.9 percent.

Aside from reigning champ Marco Belinelli, Irving is the only player who has won the shootout before. Perhaps that will give him the added confidence needed to take down a group of elite sharpshooters during All-Star Weekend.

Curry is one of the first names that comes to mind when fans think “three-point shooters,” yet he’s 0-3 in his Three-Point Contest career. The Davidson product is looking to avoid coming up empty for a fourth time. He’ll need to take full advantage of his attempts from the corners to do so.

Curry is shooting 40 percent from the left corner and a lights-out 52.9 percent from the right. He takes the vast majority of his triples from above the break -- making a solid 38.2 percent of those shots -- but the numbers suggest he may live or die by the first and last rack.

If Thompson manages to shoot as well as he did during his record-breaking third quarter against the Kings on Jan. 23, the rest of the contestants might as well not show up.

We shouldn’t expect Klay to hit every shot as if he’s caught fire in a game of NBA Jam again, but he’s been one of the most consistent shooters in terms of both volume and efficiency this season. His 44.8 percent clip from long distance ranks fifth in the NBA, while his 315 total attempts slots him sixth.

The former Washington State Cougar has been truly elite from the right corner (56.7 percent), but he’s been decidedly mediocre from the opposite side. His 36.8-percent mark from the left corner is just below the league average of 38.4 percent. If he’s going to struggle from anywhere in the competition, that’s the spot.

Based on a pure percentage standpoint, Korver should be viewed as the preemptive favorite in this year’s Three-Point Contest. Atlanta’s swingman is shooting an absolutely absurd 54 percent from three-point territory this season, which is more than seven percentage points better than second-place Courtney Lee (46.3 percent).

Korver boasts 52.3/54/91.8 shooting splits, which would make him the first qualified player in NBA history to record a 50-50-90 campaign if sustained throughout the remainder of the regular season. He’s been virtually automatic from every long-range location.

Like Curry, Korver has never won the competition. He also hasn’t competed since 2005 -- a hiatus that may work against him. If Korver can trick himself into thinking that he’s getting nifty assists from All-Star teammates Jeff TeaguePaul Millsap and Al Horford, though, he’ll ride the Hawks’ collective mojo to victory.

After putting together the best season of his career with the Spurs by averaging 11.4 points per game with 48.5/43/84.7 shooting splits in 2013-14, the veteran swingman has fallen back to earth a year later.

The 28-year-old Italian has dealt with injuries throughout 2014-15, missing 19 games overall (including the last 11) due to a groin ailment. With his health suffering, his efficiency has tailed off as well. He’s shooting 42.6 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from downtown. Those are significant dips compared to a season ago:

The recurring groin injury has obviously hampered Belinelli’s numbers, but he’s the reigning champ in the competition, so it would be foolish to count him out.

Note: All stats used in this article are accurate as of Feb. 4, prior to games played, and the visuals will update automatically.

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