Graham Shooting for More Hornets History at Three-Point Contest

by Sam Perley

One night after Miles Bridges’ Rising Stars Challenge MVP honors, Devonte’ Graham will look to keep the Charlotte Hornets in the spotlight in tonight’s Three-Point Contest starting at 8 PM EST at the United Center in Chicago.

This will be Graham’s first time participating in the competition and the fifth occurrence of a Charlotte Hornet player doing so overall (none of the previous four have ever won it). The second-year guard finished with nine points in last night’s Rising Stars Challenge game, all of which came in the second half on 3-of-5 shooting from distance.

“That first half I was struggling shooting, but then I got to it in the second half,” he said after the game, which Team USA won, 151-131. “That got me going a little bit and gave me a little confidence going into the Three-Point Contest.”

Joining Graham in the event will be returning participants Devin Booker (Phoenix; fourth time), Buddy Hield (Sacramento; second time), Joe Harris (Brooklyn, second time) and newcomers Trae Young (Atlanta), Duncan Robinson (Miami), Zach LaVine (Chicago) and Dāvis Bertāns (Washington).

Each of the eight players will have 70 seconds to shoot from five racks of five balls each spaced out around the arc, with the final “money ball” in each rack counting as two makes instead of one. Competitors will choose one specific rack to be entirely money balls and this year, there will be a pair of shots from six feet behind the three-point line worth another three points each.

All added up, players can score a maximum of 40 points in the opening round. The top three finishers will advance and then shoot again in reverse order of first-round score in order to determine a champion. An additional full round of shooting will be implemented in case of a tie at any point.

Harris is the reigning champ and was also last year’s regular season three-point percentage leader (47.4%). Hield finished third behind Harris and Steph Curry at the 2019 Three-Point Contest, one year after Booker took home the crown out in Los Angeles. Six players have won the event multiple times and nobody has gone back-to-back since Jason Kapono in 2006-07.

Look for Graham to use that all-money rack anywhere from the second to fourth stations. Of the 9.4 three-point attempts he takes per game this season, 8.7 are coming from above the break. On corner threes, he’s connected on 12-of-32 overall attempts (37.5%) and notably holds a 44.4% conversion rate from the right corner (8-of-18)

Going into the All-Star Break, Graham ranks sixth amongst the eight competitors in three-point percentage (37.4%), although is second in attempts (508; fourth-highest total overall in the NBA) behind only Hield (537). He sits in long-distance makes (190), behind only James Harden (234), Damian Lillard (212), Hield (207) and Robinson (191).

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