Stephen Curry is even money to defend his title at the All-Star 3-point contest. Is he the right NBA pick from a value perspective? Or should we look elsewhere?
Jason's 2015-16 record as of Feb. 11: 21-25-1 ATS, 5-1-1 Total
Khris Middleton?! You read that right. Stephen Curry might be the reigning and defending champion of the NBA All-Star 3-point contest, but he's definitely not our NBA pick for this Saturday's festivities (8:00 p.m. ET, TNT) in Toronto. Not at these prices. Let's jump right into it and look at the odds for this bad boy, as provided by Bovada at press time.
(odds updated Feb 12)
Stephen Curry, Golden State -110
Klay Thompson, Golden State +450
JJ Redick, L.A. Clippers +500
Devin Booker, Phoenix +850
Kyle Lowry, Toronto +1000
James Harden, Houston +1500
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee +1800
Chris Bosh, Miami +4000
That's a lot of talent on the hoof there. But those NBA odds make little sense when you consider the relative merits of the players involved – which we'll do right after the break.
Here are the above eight gentlemen once again, arranged by their 3-point accuracy heading into Thursday's action:
That pretty much tells the tale right there. Curry leads the NBA in both 3-pointers made (245) and attempted (540) by a wide margin, but he hasn't been as accurate as Redick. True, winning last year's contest shows that Curry is capable of getting it done in this format, which is certainly not the same activity as shooting threes in actual games. But is that worth the much smaller payout? We think not.
Rack and Ruin
So why Middleton and not Redick? Again, we're looking at four times the potential payout in a contest that's very much a crap shoot. Bosh pays out even better, but at 6-foot-11, will he be able to uncoil and get all 25 trey attempts off within the allotted 60 seconds? Dirk Nowitzki (2005-06) and Kevin Love (2011-12) are the only other big men to win this event since it started 30 years ago.
As for that crap shoot, the list of past winners includes more than its share of surprises to go along with the big names and the noted 3-point specialists. Marco Belinelli (then with the San Antonio Spurs) was +800 when he won in 2014. Daequan Cook (then with the Heat) was a +750 dog back in 2009. Excellent shooters, but hardly household names.
By the way, Curry didn't win this event the first three times he tried it. And while he broke the contest record by scoring 27 points last year (one point for standard orange Spaldings, two points for the ABA-style “money balls”), that was under the new format introduced in 2014, with one rack out of five populated entirely by money balls. Jason Kapono (25 points in 2007-08) deserves better. So does your bankroll.
NBA Pick: Khris Middleton +2000 (now +1800)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada