Jan. 07, 2013; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) and Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Wesley Matthews (2) celebrate during overtime of the game against the Orlando Magic at the Rose Garden. Matthews scored 24 points and Lillard scored 18 points as the Blazers won the game in overtime 125-119. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Blazers Should Have Two 3-Point Contest Participants

Feb 22, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) and shooting guard Wesley Matthews (2) react after their loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Think it’s a little far-fetched for one NBA team to have two contestants in the 3-point contest during All-Star weekend? Since 2003, when they lowered the amount of entries to only six, teammates have competed in the same year four times. Back in the 2005 contest there were actually two sets of teammates who competed — Quentin Richardson/Joe Johnson from the Suns and Ray Allen/Vladimir Radmanovic from the Sonics — and I think we could actually have that happen again this season.

Damian Lillard made no bones about wanting to be in the 3-point contest from the start of the season. Here are some quotes regarding this topic via CSNNW in Portland from November 2013.

When asked about competing in this season’s contest Lillard replied, “Oh yeah, for sure. I think I can shoot the ball very well. I think I’m one of the best shooters in the league. There are guys like Steph (Curry), Ray Allen who are better shooters than me, probably. But I can shoot the ball with anybody in the league.”

Lillard has certainly proven that he can indeed shoot with anybody in the league. He currently leads the league in 3-pointers made with 125 while shooting a blistering 44.5 percent from the land of plenty as well. Dame is currently on pace to hit 270 3-pointers this season — just two shy of Stephen Curry‘s season record set last season.

Lillard’s back court partner in crime Wes Matthews started this season on an absolute tear, where he was shooting over 50 percent from 3-point range until about mid-December when he went through a mini slump and has now cooled to 42.1 percent — still good enough for top-20 in the league. Watching Wes through the first two months of the season reminded me of this scene from the movie Pleasantville (first 40 seconds)…

Seriously. It felt like every time he shot it was going in. Wes would also like to be in the 3-point contest but he’s not the type to market himself for it. Here’s his quote from CSNNW in Portland from early December regarding the topic.

“You know, I ain’t never ran from a challenge in my life and I’m not going to start now. If they invite me to the three-point contest, I’ll be there.”

A 3-point contest invite might seem like a consolation prize to Matthews as he has been very public about his thoughts regarding his All-Star candidacy. It’s to the point where his teammates gave him a new nickname for it “Ballot” — and it fits. Wes most likely isn’t going to get the invite he really wants, but again he sounds open to performing in the 3-point contest and I’m sure he would do very well.

I think this will be the second time in NBA history we have two pair of teammates in the 3-point contest as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson should certainly be invited to participate as well. If I had to choose six guys to compete they would be: Wes Matthews, Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver and Bradley Beal.

Who knows what the NBA will decide but one thing is for sure — Lillard and Matthews are both deserving, and both want to do it.

**You can contact Chris regarding this article or anything basketball related on Twitter: @Chris_Reichert

Tags: Damian Lillard Portland Trail Blazers Rip City Wesley Matthews

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