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Watson hoping for a shot to compete at All-Star weekend
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Feb 9
Reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose has already booked his ticket to Orlando for the 2012 NBA All-Star weekend festivities.
His backup, C.J. Watson, hopes to join him as one of six contestants selected to participate in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest.
“It would definitely be an honor,” said Watson on Thursday. “I’ve had a pretty good season shooting the ball, so I guess all the hard work I put in during the summer has paid off.”
Watson is shooting a career-best 46.6 percent from behind the arc this season, sixth best in the NBA. Additionally, the fifth-year pro has made three or more three-pointers in five games this season. In 18 games played, Watson has averaged 9.9 points, 4.2 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 20.6 minutes per game.
Typically a member of the well-known Bench Mob, Watson has started three times this season in place of Rose, who was sidelined for five games with a left toe sprain. Watson has taken full advantage when given that opportunity, posting averages of 16.3 points, 7.0 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 31.7 minutes per game.
“It’s been a great season so far,” said Watson, who has an impressive 346,000 followers on Twitter, where he can be found at @quietstorm_32. “The times Derrick has been out, I’ve just tried to keep the pace up and have the tempo remain where it’s been. When I’m coming off the bench, it’s just a matter of helping us keep the lead or get the lead back. I just try to stay aggressive when I’m on the floor.”
As for his three-point shootout history, Watson’s experience is limited—he has participated in just one during his college years at Tennessee. But, he’s kept a close eye on some of the league’s premier sharpshooters throughout his career, including a current teammate.
“I’ve always watched Ray Allen and Rip [Hamilton],” said Watson, who is shooting 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from downtown over his last five games. “With both of those guys, I’ve always admired how much time they put into their games. They have put up a lot of shots to get to where they are at in their careers. It’s the repetition that does it.
“I’ve tried to keep with my own style for the most part,” added Watson. “But I look at their form and footwork, and try to pattern my game after some of those things.”
Watson said that if he is selected, he’d love to go up against a good friend and former teammate in Golden State, Anthony Morrow of the New Jersey Nets. Morrow has connected on 59 threes this season, trailing only Orlando’s Ryan Anderson for most in the NBA. He’s shooting 44% on the season and recently recorded a 42-point game against the Timberwolves, including 8-of-11 from long range.
Regardless, Watson’s mentality if he does get the opportunity to compete in Orlando is to simply enjoy it.
“It would be my first All-Star Weekend or time that I’ve ever attended,” he said. “So I’d try to have as much fun as possible, but I’d also try to win if I’m selected because I’m a competitive person.”
This year’s Foot Locker Three-Point Contest will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. CT. All-Star Saturday Night coverage will start that evening at 7 p.m. CT on TNT.
Miami’s James Jones claimed the three-point title last year, while other recent winners include Paul Pierce (Boston), Daequan Cook (Miami), Jason Kapono (once with Miami and once with Toronto) and Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas).