2020 NBA All-Star Weekend takeaways: Buddy Hield wins 3-Point Contest against Devin Booker and Davis Bertans
Hield hit the final shot at the buzzer to win the title
It was a heated competition during the second event of All-Star Saturday night, as Buddy Hield narrowly defeated Devin Booker and Davis Bertans in the final round of the 3-Point Contest. It was an exciting final round as Hield went last and need to get 27 points to beat Booker's 26 points. With the clock winding down on the last rack Hield launched up the final ball with 25 points already and nailed it at the buzzer.
The league introduced a new wrinkle in the 3-Point Contest this year with the addition of the "Mountain Dew Zone" which placed two green balls around the 3-point line and each ball counted as three points. Devonte' Graham hit the first Mountain Dew Zone shot of the night in the first round, and it proved to be a crucial shot throughout the event. Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine had the support of the home crowd behind him, and while he started the first round off hot, he went cold toward the end and did not advance.
Booker and Hield pushed the tempo the entire night as both players hit 27 points in the first round. It's only fitting that the final round came down between the two of them with Hield nailing the final shot for 27 points. Graham, Trae Young, Duncan Robinson and defending champion Joe Harris couldn't get into a good rhythm in the first round and failed to advance.
Buddy Hield stayed hot all night
In the first round of the 3-Point Contest, Hield put up 27 points to tie Devin Booker as the leader. Unlike some of the earlier competitors who were unable to get into a rhythm like Trae Young, Devonte' Graham and Duncan Robinson, Hield came out on fire hitting six of his first 10 shots, and he never really slowed down. His final rack in the first round was his money ball rack, and he made every single one which propelled him to 27 points. What's even more impressive about Hield's win tonight is while he's shooting 38.5 percent from deep on the season, he ranks 53rd in the league, which is far lower than the rest of his competitors. His win proved that sometimes it doesn't matter who has the best 3-point percentage entering the contest, it's all about who can get hot fast and keep that momentum going the entire time.
"As a shooter you want to win one," Hield said after his win. "Every shooter wants to win one, and I feel like that. Joe won last year. Bertans is having a great year shooting the ball, Devin, Trae, Zach. Top three-point guys in the league. You want to come out and show it, but it's fun."
When the final round came around it looked like Booker would take home the crown after putting up 26 points, already knocking out Davis Bertans. Hield started out slow on the first rack, hitting only two, but he went a perfect 5-for-5 on the second rack and missed only three shots on his final three racks. When he got to his final rack — which was his money rack — he got scorching hot, missing only one, and nailed the final shot at the buzzer to send the entire crowd at the United Center into a frenzy and win the title of 3-Point Contest champ.
The odds were really off
Before this thing started Joe Harris was the favorite to win it all at +350, followed by Trae Young at +390. Where was Hield in all of this? He was third-to-last with +700 odds to win it all ahead of only Zach LaVine and Devonte' Graham. The oddsmakers definitely got this one wrong. However, considering these odds probably have a lot to do with 3-point percentage then it's not surprising that Hield wasn't favored at all. What's also strange about the odds is that Booker was just ahead of Hield at +500, and he's a former 3-Point Contest champion, that should've accounted for something. What a coincidence that both Hield and Booker made it to the final round and proved that the odds definitely got it wrong.
Mountain Dew Zone a welcome addition
The league is always tinkering with how to make improved changes to the All-Star Weekend events, but the 3-Point Contest has remained the same for the most part. The biggest change they've made is adding an entire rack of money balls where the player can choose where they would place it on the floor, and it's been a solid addition to the contest. This year, though, the NBA decided to add two additional shots to the contest worth three points each placed roughly 30 feet from the rim. It's the "Mountain Dew Zone," and the balls are placed between the two wing racks, mixing it up between the customary racks along the 3-point line. When the change was announced a few weeks before All-Star Weekend, there were mixed reactions from fans who have loved that while some things change the 3-Point Contest typically stays the same. However, after watching the 3-Point Contest tonight, it's a creative way to make the contest new without changing the integrity of its history.
Players are regularly taking 30-foot shots on a nightly basis now anyway, so it's only fitting that the league acknowledges the barrage of 3s the league is taking, and the long distances they players are taking them from. Devonte' Graham hit the first Mountain Dew Zone shot of the night in the first round, and Devin Booker was the only player who made both Mountain Dew Zone shots in one round when he caught fire in the first round.
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