Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield’s biggest threats in the 2023 Three-Point Contest

Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield - Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Indiana Pacers are one of the more well-represented teams in the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City — a pleasant achievement and a breath of fresh air for a franchise that has historically been disregarded in the midseason festivities.

Following rookies Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard’s appearances in the Rising Stars Challenge, in which they won as part of Team Pau Gasol, the Pacers will once again be repped by two players in Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield in the much-anticipated Three-Point Contest.

No one — including the great Reggie Miller — has ever won the event donning the blue and gold, so the stakes are high this time for Indiana to win as the lone club with two participants. That being said, who is the biggest threat to Haliburton and Hield in the three-point shootout?

Will the Indiana Pacers finally have a three-point contest winner?

Among the participants, Hield has drained the most three-pointers this season with 230 (which also ranks first in the league). Damian Lillard follows with 191 while Jayson Tatum is third with 183 for the year. Buddy obviously towers above all in the quantity department, but the three-point contest is also about quality.

Fortunately, Hield is also a bastion of efficiency in that regard, having drained 42.6 percent of his triples which is eight among all qualified players and — to no one’s surprise — first among the participants in the event. On the flip side, Haliburton is third in three-point shooting percentage among the pool of contestants.

Considering both quality and quantity, two names stand out as their biggest threats. First is Damian Lillard who, despite having missed 12 games due to injury this season, remains one of the top gunners in the league with 191 drained triples on 37.2 percent shooting. Second is first-time All-Star Lauri Markkanen who has converted 164 three-pointers on a 41.2 percent clip from downtown. Factor in the home court advantage, and Lauri is definitely someone to watch out for.

Jayson Tatum should still be a strong candidate as well, despite his slight dip in three-point shooting recently. Ditto for Kevin Huerter, who has been one of the reasons for the Sacramento Kings’ ascent in the West as a 39.2 percent three-point shooter, and Tyler Herro, who has taken on the mantle as one of the Miami Heat’s primary options and their clear-cut, most lethal perimeter weapon.

Anfernee Simons would have been one of the Pacers’ biggest threats in the event before an ankle injury ruled him out. Fortunately, the NBA selected Julius Randle for reasons of convenience as his replacement. No offense, but no one on Vegas should even bet on him winning the whole thing.

Nevertheless, the Indiana Pacers have a very solid shot at having their first-ever winner in the Three-Point Shootout with Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield undoubtedly being two of the stronger participants in the contest.

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