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More On 3-Point Contest Shooting Rates

Posted by Neil Paine on February 16, 2010

Last week, I made a post comparing 3-point shooting rates in the All-Star Weekend 3-Point Shootout to the participants' rates during the season. I found that contest shooters have made 3,669 of 7,173 shots (51.2%) in the contest over the years, and if you weighted their in-season 3FG% by their contest attempts, their usual season % is 40.5%.

However, longtime commenter Jason J noted that in a way, the 51.2% figure is artificially inflated by the fact that the best contest shooters will have the most attempts -- guys that get 10 points in the first round aren't equally weighted as guys that get 20, simply because the 20-point guy will move on to Round 2.

The solution, of course, is to simply take the raw average of all competitors' shooting rates, unweighted by contest attempts. To that end, I took every player's contest shooting record, aggregated by year (instead of by round), and averaged them all together no matter whether they flamed out in Round 1 or won a tiebreaker in Round 2. The typical shooting %s now are 47.6% for the contest, while the in-season rate remained 40.5% -- this implies that having 25 wide-open shots in a row only raises your 3-point % by ~ 7%, not the ~ 10% we had initially believed. Here's the dataset:

Contest Season
Player Year 3fg 3fga 3fg% 3fg 3fga 3fg%
Michael Adams 1989 10 25 0.400 166 466 0.356
Danny Ainge 1987 18 50 0.367 85 192 0.443
Danny Ainge 1988 12 25 0.467 148 357 0.415
Danny Ainge 1989 9 25 0.367 116 305 0.380
Danny Ainge 1991 24 50 0.483 102 251 0.406
Ray Allen 2000 22 50 0.433 172 407 0.423
Ray Allen 2001 33 50 0.650 202 467 0.433
Ray Allen 2002 12 25 0.467 229 528 0.434
Ray Allen 2005 11 25 0.433 209 556 0.376
Ray Allen 2006 28 50 0.550 269 653 0.412
Nick Anderson 1995 10 25 0.400 179 431 0.415
Gilbert Arenas 2006 25 50 0.500 199 540 0.369
Gilbert Arenas 2007 14 25 0.567 205 584 0.351
B.J. Armstrong 1993 9 25 0.367 62 139 0.446
B.J. Armstrong 1994 7 25 0.267 60 135 0.444
Dana Barros 1993 25 50 0.500 64 169 0.379
Dana Barros 1994 36 75 0.478 135 354 0.381
Dana Barros 1995 8 25 0.300 197 425 0.464
Dana Barros 1996 15 25 0.600 150 368 0.408
Brent Barry 2003 30 50 0.600 118 293 0.403
Mike Bibby 2000 13 25 0.500 77 212 0.363
Mike Bibby 2009 12 25 0.467 167 428 0.390
Chauncey Billups 2004 10 25 0.400 130 335 0.388
Chauncey Billups 2010 26 50 0.517 101 238 0.424
Larry Bird 1986 47 75 0.622 82 194 0.423
Larry Bird 1987 39 75 0.522 90 225 0.400
Larry Bird 1988 48 75 0.633 98 237 0.414
Larry Bird 1990 11 25 0.433 65 195 0.333
Scott Burrell 1995 30 50 0.600 96 235 0.409
Daequan Cook 2009 43 75 0.578 153 395 0.387
Daequan Cook 2010 13 25 0.500 32 101 0.317
Michael Cooper 1987 21 50 0.417 89 231 0.385
Dell Curry 1992 9 25 0.367 74 183 0.404
Dell Curry 1994 10 25 0.400 152 378 0.402
Stephen Curry 2010 29 50 0.583 89 205 0.434
Hubert Davis 1996 14 25 0.567 127 267 0.476
Hubert Davis 1998 41 75 0.544 101 230 0.439
Hubert Davis 2000 12 25 0.467 82 167 0.491
Clyde Drexler 1991 7 25 0.267 61 191 0.319
Craig Ehlo 1990 12 25 0.467 104 248 0.419
Craig Ehlo 1992 8 25 0.333 69 167 0.413
Dale Ellis 1986 26 50 0.517 63 173 0.364
Dale Ellis 1987 11 25 0.433 86 240 0.358
Dale Ellis 1988 36 75 0.478 107 259 0.413
Dale Ellis 1989 47 75 0.622 162 339 0.478
Dale Ellis 1994 25 50 0.500 131 332 0.395
Dale Ellis 1997 10 25 0.400 192 528 0.364
Dale Ellis 1998 28 50 0.550 127 274 0.464
Sleepy Floyd 1986 11 25 0.433 39 119 0.328
Channing Frye 2010 13 25 0.500 120 277 0.433
Danilo Gallinari 2010 13 25 0.500 131 326 0.402
Pat Garrity 2001 13 25 0.500 97 224 0.433
Pat Garrity 2003 11 25 0.433 161 407 0.396
Daniel Gibson 2008 28 50 0.567 118 268 0.440
Danny Granger 2009 11 25 0.433 182 450 0.404
Richard Hamilton 2008 12 25 0.467 62 141 0.440
Bob Hansen 1990 24 50 0.483 54 154 0.351
Tim Hardaway 1991 13 25 0.500 97 252 0.385
Derek Harper 1989 10 25 0.400 99 278 0.356
Hersey Hawkins 1991 12 25 0.467 108 270 0.400
Gerald Henderson 1989 25 50 0.500 33 107 0.308
Craig Hodges 1986 43 75 0.567 73 162 0.451
Craig Hodges 1987 11 25 0.433 85 228 0.373
Craig Hodges 1988 8 25 0.333 86 175 0.491
Craig Hodges 1989 44 75 0.589 75 180 0.417
Craig Hodges 1990 47 75 0.622 87 181 0.481
Craig Hodges 1991 51 75 0.678 44 115 0.383
Craig Hodges 1992 39 75 0.522 36 96 0.375
Craig Hodges 1993 25 50 0.500 0 0 0.000
Jeff Hornacek 1992 6 25 0.233 83 189 0.439
Jeff Hornacek 1998 40 75 0.533 56 127 0.441
Jeff Hornacek 2000 25 50 0.500 66 138 0.478
Allan Houston 2001 9 25 0.367 96 252 0.381
Allen Iverson 2000 8 25 0.333 89 261 0.341
Joe Johnson 2005 7 25 0.267 177 370 0.478
Damon Jones 2007 39 50 0.783 89 231 0.385
Michael Jordan 1990 4 25 0.167 92 245 0.376
Jason Kapono 2007 62 75 0.822 108 210 0.514
Jason Kapono 2008 38 50 0.750 57 118 0.483
Jason Kapono 2009 25 50 0.500 98 229 0.428
Steve Kerr 1994 26 50 0.517 52 124 0.419
Steve Kerr 1995 11 25 0.433 89 170 0.524
Steve Kerr 1996 29 50 0.583 122 237 0.515
Steve Kerr 1997 48 75 0.644 110 237 0.464
Kyle Korver 2004 28 50 0.567 81 207 0.391
Kyle Korver 2005 27 50 0.533 226 558 0.405
Tim Legler 1996 54 75 0.722 128 245 0.522
Tim Legler 1997 45 75 0.600 8 29 0.276
Voshon Lenard 2004 30 50 0.600 106 289 0.367
Voshon Lenard 2005 28 50 0.567 4 12 0.333
Jim Les 1992 42 75 0.556 45 131 0.344
Rashard Lewis 2001 10 25 0.400 123 285 0.432
Rashard Lewis 2004 13 25 0.533 145 386 0.376
Rashard Lewis 2009 33 75 0.433 220 554 0.397
Sam Mack 1998 12 25 0.467 110 269 0.409
Kyle Macy 1986 11 25 0.433 58 141 0.411
Dan Majerle 1993 8 25 0.333 167 438 0.381
Dan Majerle 1995 8 25 0.300 199 548 0.363
Roger Mason 2009 11 25 0.433 166 394 0.421
George McCloud 1996 29 50 0.583 257 678 0.379
Mike Miller 2002 8 25 0.333 116 303 0.383
Mike Miller 2007 39 50 0.783 202 498 0.406
Reggie Miller 1989 22 50 0.433 98 244 0.402
Reggie Miller 1990 43 75 0.578 150 362 0.414
Reggie Miller 1993 12 25 0.467 167 419 0.399
Reggie Miller 1995 43 75 0.578 195 470 0.415
Reggie Miller 1998 10 25 0.400 164 382 0.429
Terry Mills 1997 9 25 0.367 175 415 0.422
Cuttino Mobley 2004 11 25 0.433 164 420 0.390
Eric Murdock 1994 11 25 0.433 69 168 0.411
Tracy Murray 1998 10 25 0.400 158 403 0.392
Steve Nash 2001 12 25 0.467 89 219 0.406
Steve Nash 2002 28 50 0.550 156 343 0.455
Steve Nash 2008 8 25 0.300 179 381 0.470
Norm Nixon 1986 8 25 0.300 42 121 0.347
Dirk Nowitzki 2000 24 50 0.483 116 306 0.379
Dirk Nowitzki 2001 23 50 0.450 151 390 0.387
Dirk Nowitzki 2006 27 50 0.533 110 271 0.406
Dirk Nowitzki 2007 12 25 0.467 72 173 0.416
Dirk Nowitzki 2008 26 50 0.517 79 220 0.359
Sam Perkins 1997 7 25 0.267 122 309 0.395
Chuck Person 1995 26 50 0.517 172 445 0.387
Wesley Person 2002 38 61 0.615 143 322 0.444
Wesley Person 2003 42 75 0.556 100 231 0.433
Drazen Petrovic 1992 18 50 0.350 123 277 0.444
Paul Pierce 2002 7 25 0.267 210 520 0.404
Paul Pierce 2010 31 50 0.617 78 174 0.448
Terry Porter 1991 34 75 0.456 130 313 0.415
Terry Porter 1993 42 75 0.556 143 345 0.414
Terry Porter 2000 13 25 0.500 90 207 0.435
Mark Price 1988 12 25 0.467 72 148 0.486
Mark Price 1990 9 25 0.367 152 374 0.406
Mark Price 1993 48 75 0.644 122 293 0.416
Mark Price 1994 50 75 0.667 118 297 0.397
Vladimir Radmanovic 2005 5 25 0.200 128 329 0.389
Glen Rice 1991 8 25 0.300 71 184 0.386
Glen Rice 1995 42 75 0.556 185 451 0.410
Glen Rice 1996 14 25 0.567 171 403 0.424
Glen Rice 1997 25 50 0.500 207 440 0.470
Glen Rice 1998 11 25 0.433 130 300 0.433
Quentin Richardson 2002 12 25 0.467 133 349 0.381
Quentin Richardson 2005 28 50 0.550 226 631 0.358
Quentin Richardson 2006 10 25 0.400 64 188 0.340
Mitch Richmond 1992 19 50 0.383 103 268 0.384
Mitch Richmond 1994 10 25 0.400 127 312 0.407
Clifford Robinson 1996 9 25 0.367 178 471 0.378
Bryon Russell 2001 8 25 0.333 95 230 0.413
Detlef Schrempf 1987 41 75 0.544 33 69 0.478
Detlef Schrempf 1988 17 50 0.333 5 32 0.156
Byron Scott 1987 8 25 0.300 65 149 0.436
Byron Scott 1988 25 50 0.500 62 179 0.346
Dennis Scott 1991 23 50 0.467 125 334 0.374
Dennis Scott 1996 47 75 0.622 267 628 0.425
Kenny Smith 1993 10 25 0.400 96 219 0.438
Steve Smith 2002 7 25 0.267 116 246 0.472
John Stockton 1992 9 25 0.367 83 204 0.407
John Stockton 1997 11 25 0.433 76 180 0.422
Peja Stojakovic 2001 30 50 0.600 144 360 0.400
Peja Stojakovic 2002 40 62 0.645 129 310 0.416
Peja Stojakovic 2003 51 75 0.678 155 406 0.382
Peja Stojakovic 2004 31 50 0.617 240 554 0.433
Peja Stojakovic 2008 13 25 0.500 231 524 0.441
Jon Sundvold 1989 10 25 0.400 48 92 0.522
Jon Sundvold 1990 27 50 0.533 44 100 0.440
Bob Sura 2000 8 25 0.300 122 332 0.367
Jason Terry 2006 11 25 0.433 171 416 0.411
Jason Terry 2007 77 100 0.767 162 370 0.438
Trent Tucker 1986 27 50 0.533 41 91 0.451
Trent Tucker 1988 9 25 0.367 69 167 0.413
Kiki Vandeweghe 1987 10 25 0.400 39 81 0.481
Antoine Walker 2003 6 25 0.233 188 582 0.323
Charlie Ward 1998 22 50 0.433 81 215 0.377
David Wesley 2003 10 25 0.400 134 316 0.424
Walt Williams 1997 25 50 0.500 175 437 0.400
Leon Wood 1986 11 25 0.433 41 114 0.360
Average 0.476 0.405

However, just as last week I inadvertently introduced selection bias into the process by weighting rates by contest attempts, even the list above has a degree of selection bias in the sense that multi-year contestants are given more weight than one-time participants -- and it stands to reason that players who are asked to come back to the contest for a second time (or more) are naturally going to be those who performed well, or at least better than "average" in their prior contests. To remedy this, another alternate way to look at the data is to aggregate each player's career 3-Point Contest performance vs. his in-season rates for the years in which he participated, giving equal weight to players whether they enjoyed multiple successes in the contest or flopped in their lone appearance:

Contest Season
Player 3fg 3fga 3fg% 3fg 3fga 3fg%
Michael Adams 10 25 0.400 166 466 0.356
Danny Ainge 63 150 0.422 451 1105 0.408
Ray Allen 104 200 0.521 1081 2611 0.414
Nick Anderson 10 25 0.400 179 431 0.415
Gilbert Arenas 39 75 0.522 404 1124 0.359
B.J. Armstrong 16 50 0.317 122 274 0.445
Dana Barros 83 175 0.476 546 1316 0.415
Brent Barry 30 50 0.600 118 293 0.403
Mike Bibby 24 50 0.483 244 640 0.381
Chauncey Billups 36 75 0.478 231 573 0.403
Larry Bird 144 250 0.577 335 851 0.394
Scott Burrell 30 50 0.600 96 235 0.409
Daequan Cook 56 100 0.558 185 496 0.373
Michael Cooper 21 50 0.417 89 231 0.385
Dell Curry 19 50 0.383 226 561 0.403
Stephen Curry 29 50 0.583 89 205 0.434
Hubert Davis 67 125 0.533 310 664 0.467
Clyde Drexler 7 25 0.267 61 191 0.319
Craig Ehlo 20 50 0.400 173 415 0.417
Dale Ellis 182 350 0.519 868 2145 0.405
Sleepy Floyd 11 25 0.433 39 119 0.328
Channing Frye 13 25 0.500 120 277 0.433
Danilo Gallinari 13 25 0.500 131 326 0.402
Pat Garrity 23 50 0.467 258 631 0.409
Daniel Gibson 28 50 0.567 118 268 0.440
Danny Granger 11 25 0.433 182 450 0.404
Richard Hamilton 12 25 0.467 62 141 0.440
Bob Hansen 24 50 0.483 54 154 0.351
Tim Hardaway 13 25 0.500 97 252 0.385
Derek Harper 10 25 0.400 99 278 0.356
Hersey Hawkins 12 25 0.467 108 270 0.400
Gerald Henderson 25 50 0.500 33 107 0.308
Craig Hodges 268 475 0.563 486 1137 0.427
Jeff Hornacek 71 150 0.472 205 454 0.452
Allan Houston 9 25 0.367 96 252 0.381
Allen Iverson 8 25 0.333 89 261 0.341
Joe Johnson 7 25 0.267 177 370 0.478
Damon Jones 39 50 0.783 89 231 0.385
Michael Jordan 4 25 0.167 92 245 0.376
Jason Kapono 124 175 0.710 263 557 0.472
Steve Kerr 114 200 0.571 373 768 0.486
Kyle Korver 55 100 0.550 307 765 0.401
Tim Legler 99 150 0.661 136 274 0.496
Voshon Lenard 58 100 0.583 110 301 0.365
Jim Les 42 75 0.556 45 131 0.344
Rashard Lewis 56 125 0.447 488 1225 0.398
Sam Mack 12 25 0.467 110 269 0.409
Kyle Macy 11 25 0.433 58 141 0.411
Dan Majerle 16 50 0.317 366 986 0.371
Roger Mason 11 25 0.433 166 394 0.421
George McCloud 29 50 0.583 257 678 0.379
Mike Miller 48 75 0.633 318 801 0.397
Reggie Miller 130 250 0.520 774 1877 0.412
Terry Mills 9 25 0.367 175 415 0.422
Cuttino Mobley 11 25 0.433 164 420 0.390
Eric Murdock 11 25 0.433 69 168 0.411
Tracy Murray 10 25 0.400 158 403 0.392
Steve Nash 47 100 0.467 424 943 0.450
Norm Nixon 8 25 0.300 42 121 0.347
Dirk Nowitzki 111 225 0.493 528 1360 0.388
Sam Perkins 7 25 0.267 122 309 0.395
Chuck Person 26 50 0.517 172 445 0.387
Wesley Person 79 136 0.582 243 553 0.439
Drazen Petrovic 18 50 0.350 123 277 0.444
Paul Pierce 38 75 0.500 288 694 0.415
Terry Porter 88 175 0.505 363 865 0.420
Mark Price 119 200 0.596 464 1112 0.417
Vladimir Radmanovic 5 25 0.200 128 329 0.389
Glen Rice 99 200 0.496 764 1778 0.430
Quentin Richardson 49 100 0.492 423 1168 0.362
Mitch Richmond 29 75 0.389 230 580 0.397
Clifford Robinson 9 25 0.367 178 471 0.378
Bryon Russell 8 25 0.333 95 230 0.413
Detlef Schrempf 58 125 0.460 38 101 0.376
Byron Scott 33 75 0.433 127 328 0.387
Dennis Scott 70 125 0.560 392 962 0.407
Kenny Smith 10 25 0.400 96 219 0.438
Steve Smith 7 25 0.267 116 246 0.472
John Stockton 20 50 0.400 159 384 0.414
Peja Stojakovic 164 262 0.627 899 2154 0.417
Jon Sundvold 37 75 0.489 92 192 0.479
Bob Sura 8 25 0.300 122 332 0.367
Jason Terry 88 125 0.700 333 786 0.424
Trent Tucker 36 75 0.478 110 258 0.426
Kiki Vandeweghe 10 25 0.400 39 81 0.481
Antoine Walker 6 25 0.233 188 582 0.323
Charlie Ward 22 50 0.433 81 215 0.377
David Wesley 10 25 0.400 134 316 0.424
Walt Williams 25 50 0.500 175 437 0.400
Leon Wood 11 25 0.433 41 114 0.360
Average 0.462 0.404

As you see, the average in-season rate still doesn't change, hovering around 40.5%, but the contest rate drops again, this time to 46.2%.

Ultimately, there really is no one "right answer" to the question of how much better a given player will shoot in a 3-point contest vs. in games, since this is only looking at a very specific subset of players (the best 3-point shooters in basketball) anyway. But it is useful to eliminate some of the biases and try to find how players in that subset will be affected by the absence of constant pressure in their face as they shoot. From these indications, being free of defensive impediments is worth 6-7 points of 3-point % compared to in-game rates.

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8 Responses to “More On 3-Point Contest Shooting Rates”

  1. Gabe Says:

    it stands to reason that players who are asked to come back to the contest for a second time (or more) are naturally going to be those who performed well, or at least better than "average" in their prior contests.

    I don't necessarily buy this. I think it has more to do with how well a player is shooting that specific year in the regular season.

    The one exception I can think of is that last year's winner is almost always brought back to defend their crown. This comes to mind because in 2005 Voshon Lenard was injured for the whole first half of the year, but came to All-Star Weekend to defend his 2004 3-Point Shootout win, and basically was hobbling around out there on one leg.

  2. Mike G Says:

    Wow, Antoine Walker was in this contest. In his 3rd consecutive year to lead the league in 3FGA (2003), he shot at his career average of .323. He may have been as high as .350 when he was invited.

    Jordan owns the worst performance of all time -- 4 of 25 = .167 ?

  3. Ryan J. Parker Says:

    Thanks for the data set! The models I fit, however, agree with your original analysis.

    Using glmer() I fit a multilevel model that suggests the average contestant will shoot invlogit(-0.37240) = 0.408 in the regular season, while they will shoot invlogit(-0.37240+0.42077) = 0.512 in the contest. Jason Kapono from 2007 rates as the best shooter, and Antoine Walker from 2003 rates the worst. Someone page Ed!

    You get similar results from a normal logistic regression fit with glm().

    In any event, this type of data is best analyzed using these kinds of models. Trying to wade through all of the varying sample sizes / associated noise is a nightmare.

  4. edkupfer Says:

    Fun Antoine Walker fact: in games where he attempted 10 or more threes (there were 70 of these games!), he shot 40% from behind the arc. In games where he attempted fewer than 10, he shot 31%.

  5. Neil Paine Says:

    And in games where he would have taken fours, he didn't miss any of them.

  6. Neil Paine Says:

    (Note: All 893 games of Walker's career were games in which he would have taken at least 1 4-pointer, if said shot actually existed.)

  7. Downpuppy Says:

    One other thing about the AllStar break is that it is a break for these guys.

    Balanced against the lack of defense is the massive partying.

  8. Neil Paine Says:

    Partying? NBA players? Never!