Arron Afflalo did not come into the NBA as a 3-point shooter. He never shot better than 40 percent at the much-shorter college line in three years at UCLA. He made his name early on in his career as a defender and has seen his scoring increase in each of his seven years.
So his entry tonight in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout is yet another sign of the hard work he has to put in to make a name for himself and make an impact in the NBA.
Afflalo nearly made the All-Star Game as a reserve, averaging 19.4 points per game and shooting 42.5 percent 3-point shooting. He has become a better shooter and has become more and more efficient with each passing year. He accomplished that goal so far this year.
Tonight is about fun though. But bet that Afflalo wants to win this competition. It will not be easy with the great shooters in the competition.
"They are all good shooters," Afflalo said after Wednesday's loss. "We'll see. It's whoever has the rhythm that day. I think every shooter has been through up and down spells wher etheir 3-point ball was pretty good at the moment and moments when they weren't shooting the ball well. We'll see who is hot on Saturday."
The competition is an East vs. West format. Afflalo will first compete against his fellow Eastern Conference teammates — Joe Johnson, Bradley Bela and defending champion Kyrie Irving. The player with the highest score will go up against the highest scoring player from the Western Conference — one out of Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Kevin Love and Marco Belinelli.
In addition, each player will get to select one rack to be made completely out of the two-point money balls.
Afflalo certainly should have a strategy in play for where he puts that to give him a chance to win. Take a look at his shot chart:
Afflalo said he plans to put the moneyball in that left corner. The media have been telling him that statistically this has been his best area. It seems like he will oblige.
Afflalo admitted he will probably need to make all of those shots to have a chance to win. He said he has never competed in a 3-point contest in his life. His 3-point prowess is a very new thing. And shooting from a rack? That is an entirely different matter.
"I sucked at preparing for that," Afflalo said. "I'm just going to go in there and try to win it. I think the biggest thing for me is understanding the minute time frame. Besides that just put the ball up and shoot and hope for the best."
That is about all Afflalo can do. That, and have fun. That is the point of all this anyway, right? He seems to be enjoying his first All-Star Weekend.