NBA changing format of All-Star 3-point contest

Joe Harris #12 of the Brooklyn Nets prepares to shoot during the MTN DEW 3-Point Contest as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center in Charlotte in 2019 (Credit: Getty Images)

The National Basketball Association is further shaking up this month’s All-Star Weekend in Chicago by changing the format of the 3-point competition.

In the 2020 MTN Dew 3-Point contest February 15 at the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls, each round will now be a total of 27 shots instead of 25, while competitors will get 70 seconds to complete their shots instead of the customary 60.

The two additional shots will come from six feet beyond the 3-point line and will be worth three points apiece. Those shots, which will be taken in the branded MTN Dew Zone, will be taken with a special green ball.

The rest of the format for the 3-point contest, which was introduced in 1986, remains unchanged but it means the maximum possible score in a round has risen to 40 points from 34 points.

According to the Associated Press: “The change is being made in part to stay consistent with the times, since NBA players are shooting more shots from deeper distances than ever. There have been nearly 300 shots made from at least 30 feet this season, already more than the total from last season.”

Last week, the NBA announced sweeping changes to the format of the All-Star Game itself “to increase the level of competition throughout the game, provide additional excitement at the finish and make the outcome of every quarter count for charity.”

In this year’s NBA All-Star Game between Team Giannis and Team LeBron – Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers are the team captains – the first three quarters will each become mini-games for charity, all of which will start scoreless and last 12 minutes.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the game clock will be turned off and a Final Target Score will be set. The Final Target Score will be determined by taking the leading team’s total cumulative score through three quarters and adding 24 points – the 24 representing the late Kobe Bryant’s jersey number for the final 10 seasons of his NBA career. For example, if the leading team has 100 points through three quarters, the first team to 124 points will win the All-Star Game.

The format switch represents the NBA’s latest efforts to maintain excitement and interest in the All-Star Game, which changed in 2018 from the traditional Eastern Conference v Western Conference format to players being chosen from the pool of selected All-Stars by team captains, who are the top fan vote-getters from each conference.

Last year’s All-Star Game Draft was televised for the first time, something which will continue this year.