There is a legitimate statistical argument that Kyle Korver is the single best shooter in the NBA today. Going into Saturday’s action, Korver leads the league in 3-point field goal percentage at a blistering 46.4% from beyond the arc. Obviously, this is a great argument for Korver’s prowess, but when you consider that a) he leads the nearest competitor by a full 1.5 percentage points, and b) he is 4th in the entire league in total 3-pointers made, it’s fairly self-explanatory that any collection of elite NBA shooters should include Kyle Korver. This begs the question: How in the world is Kyle Korver not participating in the 3-point shootout?
First, let me address the only reasonable explanation for Korver’s non-inclusion. If the NBA went to Korver (or any contestant) before the announcement and gauged their interest, only to find that the shooter (Kyle in this case) didn’t want to participate, it would make some real sense to leave them off. Korver has a history of back issues and has also been seen recently getting heat treatment on a lower leg injury. Is it possible that Stern’s office called Korver and he said no? I guess so, but I’m more inclined to believe the second explanation.
Every single one of the six selected contestants has a better narrative than Kyle Korver. If you allow for the absurdity of not including the league’s #1 percentage shooter (a narrative in its own right), every other guy has a story. Kyrie Irving is the best up-and-coming player in the entire league, and immediately brings eyeballs to the competition. Paul George is doing his best Kyrie impression, shooting up NBA “best” lists and he’s already in town for the All-Star Game as a participant there. Matt Bonner launched a full-scale Twitter campaign to get himself into the contest, and the NBA has a vested interest in getting him there. Ryan Anderson is the should-be 6th man of the year who leads the entire league in 3-point attempts and shoots 40% in doing so. And finally, Steve Novak plays in the NBA’s biggest market and is one of the most one-dimensional players in the league today. Does the fact that each player has a “blurb” such as this make it right? Absolutely not, but here we are.
I fully understand that any outrage over the 3-point contest is probably misplaced. With that said, it doesn’t get much more ridiculous in the “snub” department than leaving out the current leader in 3-point percentage and the guy who is 11th all-time in 3-point percentage. On the bright side for the Hawks, however, Kyle Korver gets to spend four days getting healthy for the stretch run. Everybody wins.