"I'm going Dirk Nowitzki, going Sam Perkins and I'm going Embiid" - Karl-Anthony Towns a surprising omission from Stephen Jackson's top-3 shooting NBA centers of all time

2022 NBA All-Star - MTN DEW 3-Point Contest
2022 NBA All-Star - MTN DEW 3-Point Contest

The 2022 NBA Three-Point Contest stood out during the All-Star weekend as big man Karl-Anthony Towns set a record to take home the trophy. Last weekend's win saw Towns become the only other big man to win the NBA three-point contest after Kevin Love bagged the trophy in 2012. While one could say that Towns is an out-and-out center, Love, on the other hand, is more of a power forward.

Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson discussed the All-Star weekend in the latest episode of their podcast – “All The Smoke”, outlaying what excited them about the weekend. While Barnes spoke about Towns’ confidence going into the three-point contest, Jackson pitched in with his thoughts, saying that he always thought Towns had what it takes when it comes to shooting.

“We was texting and I called it. I told you KAT had it – the set shot. I always feel like the people with the set shot got the best chance of winning the three-point contest, because it’s easier to get up. They don’t jump that much and he had the perfect shot.”

Jackson also remarked on how confident Towns was in the lead up to the three-point contest. As well as how this win is a big step for him in staking his claim as one of the best big-man shooters off-all-time.

“And like you said, he came in real confident – saying he want to be in talks with the best big-man shooter with Dirk and the rest of the guys. So, winning the three-point contest is a big step for him.”

While the LA Clippers’ Luke Kennard led in the first round with 28 points, Karl-Anthony Towns finished second with 22 points, tying with Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. Other participants included Patty Mills of the Brooklyn Nets, Desmond Bane of the Memphis Grizzlies, Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors and Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls.

In the second round, the commentators projected 25 points as the winning score, but Towns was on fire – setting a record with 29 points and ultimately winning the NBA three-point contest.

Both Young and Kennard scored 26 apiece, falling behind the big man. Following the win, Towns said that he feels this trophy cements his position among the best shooting big men in the game.

“I always said I’m up there with the best shooting big men of all time and I needed this trophy to prove it.”

The NBA Three-Point Contest is exciting because of how the game has changed

2018 JBL Three-Point Contest
2018 JBL Three-Point Contest

Making threes in a three-point contest and in-game are both different in nature. Taking no credit away from Towns, he will have to be consistently good in-game to stay in the discussion as a true sharpshooter.

Matt Barnes put Stephen Jackson on the spot during the "All the Smoke" podcast, asking him to rank the top three big-man shooters of all time, and Jackson named current 76ers center Joel Embiid alongside two NBA legends.

"Top three big men ever - I'm going Dirk Nowitzki, going Sam Perkins and I'm going Embiid"

In the previous era, Dirk Nowitzki and Sam Perkins were probably part of a small group of big-men who took a deep shot. Shooting beyond the arc was not really encouraged back then, as it appeared foolish for big men to play against their strengths. But today, there are no such restrictions imposed on them and as a result, they’re working on their shooting skills early.

In the 2021-22 season, some of the NBA’s centers have drastically increased their three-point attempts. Among the centers, Embiid is currently tenth in attempts with 168, while Karl-Anthony Towns leads the pack with 269 attempts.

While many feel that big men should stay in the paint and do the majority of their work inside. From the perspective of the centers themselves – they’re simply enhancing their game, while also adding value to their team’s offense.

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Edited by David Nyland
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