The Western Conference All-Stars had hardly left the court following practice and Guy Fieri was still in the process of sneaking out to Caplansky’s when the D-League kicked off their own All-Star festivities on Saturday at Ricoh Coliseum.
The D-League will play their All-Star Game – complete with half-time Slam Dunk Contest – at 2 p.m. They got the action underway with the 3-Point Shootout, though, an event featuring Scott Suggs of Raptors 905 but believed to be firmly in the grasp of Andre Ingram. Ingram, the would-be J.J. Redick of the D-League, is shooting 50.3 percent from long-range for the L.A. D-Fenders this season and was also the 2010 3-Point Shootout champion.
Ingram shot second in round one, and the bar was set obscenely high. He finished with 26 points, just one shy of the NBA record Steph Curry set last year. Sandwiched between several mediocre rounds, Ingram was unchallenged when Suggs, the hometown favorite, stepped up. Suggs started slow but heated up late, hitting his last several shots to finish with 22. Jimmer Fredette, the most well-known name in the competition, closed out the first round with 24 points to bump out Suggs and set up an Ingram-Fredette final.
Andre Ingram, L.A. (50.3 3FG%) – 26
Jimmer Fredette, Westchester (42.7 3FG%) – 24
Scott Suggs, Raptors (43.6 3FG%) – 22
Nick Minnerath, Canton (40.9 3FG%) – 16
Omari Johnson, Maine (40.7 3FG%) – 15
Reggie Hearn, Reno (44.3 3FG%) – 14
The final couldn’t be much better, with one of the D-League’s most notable names going head-to-head with one of the league’s longest-tenured players. Fredette is a former lottery pick and has several years of NBA experience, while Ingram is the league’s all-time leading 3-point shooter, having hit 546 threes at a 45.3-percent clip over eight seasons.
Fredette started out ice cold but started spitting napalm over the final two racks, finishing with 20 points. That put the pressure on Ingram. He was entirely up for it, going nearly two racks without a miss and staying hot throughout, finishing with 27 points.
Dude nearly matched Curry’s record and then tied it the very next round. His total score of 53 would be the highest ever in the NBA 3-Point contest. Poor Fredette put up a total score of 44 and didn’t have a prayer.
Andre Ingram, L.A. (50.3 3FG%) – 27 (+26)
Jimmer Fredette, Westchester (42.7 3FG%) – 20 (+24)
It’s hard to think of a better ending to this event. The D-League deals with a ton of turnover at the team and league level, and while that serves an important purpose, it also makes Ingram a special case. As the D-League continues to grow in visibility, popularity, and importance, one of the league’s stalwarts got to stand out on a major stage.
And hey, the 3-point line is the same distance in the NBA.