Will this shootout be the real-life equivalent of Denzel Washington and Ray Allen in He Got Game? There’s a very good (read, 100 percent) chance Cleveland head coach Byron Scott‘s three-point shootout with star guard Kyrie Irving won’t carry the emotional weight of Jake and Jesus Shuttlesworth’s. Just the same, Scott is out to teach Irving a thing or two this in order to prepare the second-year All-Star for his first NBA All-Star Three-Point Contest after Scott was in it twice. The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote Monday about how Scott, a career 48 percent shooter from three, is showing Irving the ropes this week. Irving already shot back with a good-natured acknowledgement the best Scott ever finished was third — kindly leaving out that Scott was last in 1987 — and suggests this is less tutorial than shootout.
“It’s really, basically, to show him how the contest is done,” Scott said. “Like I said the other day, 60 seconds is a long time, so he doesn’t have to rush. He can take his time and get all five balls from each spot. You get that done in 60 seconds pretty easy.”
The main problem is that Irving is 20. Scott is 51.
The coach is still confident.
“It’s like riding a bike,” he said. “You never forget how to do it.”
Even though that bike has some miles on it, Scott still thinks he can beat Irving.
“I think I’ve got a good shot,” Scott said. “My only problem is if I get tired. That’s a lot of shots for a guy who doesn’t shoot that much right now. That’s my biggest challenge. I said I’m going to get two chances at it because I’m old. I’m going to go around twice and we’ll take my best score and see if you can beat it.
Like Irving, I often shot against my high school coach after practices in games of “7-up” games with about a half dozen other teammates spread out around the arc. (If players directly before your turn made shots — whether the guy right before or in a streak — that number would be counted against your score if you missed. So if the two guys made their shots before you, and you missed, you’d get two. Last to reach seven won.) Unlike Scott, who will follow the accepted Three-Point Contest format by traveling around the arc to shoot from five racks, my coach conveniently never left his right corner three position. Irving is in luck, though. He already has the blueprint for how to beat Scott if he searches YouTube for one of the last times Scott challenged a younger shooter to a three-point showdown — and lost to a 9-year-old at a summer camp.
Which leads me to ask, in all seriousness, is there one coach who could reasonably take on one of his players in an All-Star Weekend skills competition and succeed? My bet’s on Mark Jackson in the Skills Competition.
What are Irving’s chance to win?
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