Without players like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Jason Kapono (a two-time winner!) involved, the three-point contest at the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend is lacking its usual sizzle.
That is, unless, you have a small wager riding on it.
Of course, who do you even root for? It's a pretty random field overall.
Without a clear favorite, why not root for history? Why not root for the Finnish monster himself, Lauri Markkanen?
It seems impossible. Granted the host city doesn’t always have a player in the contest, but they do when it's possible. One would assume shooting at home in familiar surroundings would be an advantage, but alas, not so much with no player from a host city winning since the contest started in 1986.
One perspective might be that players representing the host city feel too much pressure and are at a disadvantage.
The other perspective is that THEY’RE DUE! That's your cue, Lauri.
Last year, KAT upset the field to take home the crown. Granted he was the first big man to win the three-point contest since Kevin Love in 2012. But the precedent has been set that it can be done, and Lauri is as good of a candidate as any.
For starters, Markkenen has the second-best three-point percentage of any player in the field at 41.3%, good enough to be top-20 in the league. And he shoots a ton of threes, more than seven per game. Any bias you might have against Lauri because he’s not a guard is clearly unfounded, Markkenen is a certified Markksmenen (<--this is a thing? Probably not? Fair.)
After a relatively hot start to his career in Chicago, things petered out for Lauri as his usage rate become relatively stagnant during his first five years in the league. When he was moved to Utah in the Donovan Mitchell trade, it was assumed the team was in full tank mode.
Nobody, not one person, could have figured Markkanen would bloom into the scoring threat he’s become in the first half of the season. He’s played so well, Utah had to re-up their tanking efforts by trading for (and immediately buying out) Russell Westbrook.
But the Jazz still remain just one spot out of the playoffs because everything’s coming up Lauri this year. Let’s ride that momentum to a three-point contest title why don’t we?
When: Saturday, Feb. 18
Time: 8 p.m. ET