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Miami's Daequan Cook won the 3-point contest last year in Phoenix.
Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Defending-champ Cook out to recapture his 3-point stroke

By John Schuhmann,
Posted Feb 5 2010 3:30PM

Daequan Cook's contribution to the Miami Heat this season has been minimal. He's been in and out of the rotation and has more scoreless games (eight) than games in which he scored more than six points (seven).

Cook's role is to be a shooter, but his shooting has been inconsistent. He's hit just 30 percent of his threes this season, down from 39 percent last season.

Cook ranks 139th in the league with just 27 threes on the season, 50 fewer than any of his fellow competitors in this years' Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout. But when All-Star Saturday Night arrives, he'll be the guy with that defending-champ swagger.

A year ago in Phoenix, Cook ended Jason Kapono's two-year reign as champ by defeating Rashard Lewis in a tie-breaking round. This year in Dallas, Cook will look to be the sixth different player in the 25-year history of the Shootout to repeat as champion.

Cook will be facing some tough competition, but only one of the other five competitors has Shootout experience.

The Nuggets' Chauncey Billups took part in the competition in Houston in 2006, but did not make it out of the first round. Despite missing eight games to injury this season, Mr. Big Shot ranks 10th in the league with 88 threes. He's one of two Shootout competitors who will be suiting up on Sunday for the All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium.

Paul Pierce will warm up for his eighth All-Star Game by taking part in his first Shootout. Pierce has made 1,435 threes in his career, but is shooting a career-high 47 percent from beyond the arc this season, third in the league.

The Suns' Channing Frye ranks seventh in 3-point percentage, incredible considering he had made a total of just 20 threes in his first four seasons. His 119 threes rank second.

The only player who has made more threes than Frye is the Knicks' Danilo Gallinari. After playing just 28 games as a rookie, Gallinari has been one of the bright spots in New York and has hit at least five threes in a game five times this season. Percentage-wise, Cook is the only worse shooter in the competition.

Shooting 43 percent from 3-point range, Stephen Curry is the only rookie in the top 25. He'll be one of three rookies participating in All-Star Saturday night, with Tyreke Evans taking part in the Haier Shooting Stars competition and Brandon Jennings taking part in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. Curry's father Del competed in 1992 but didn't make it out of the first round.

The first Shootout also took place in Dallas at Reunion Arena, when Larry Bird won the first of his three titles. This is the eighth year in its current format: six competitors, with three advancing to the second and final round.

All-Star Saturday Night takes place Feb. 13 and will be televised on TNT, beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

All stats are through Thursday, February 4.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

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