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Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell is only in three-point contest because “Sam Merrill didn’t want to do it”

Merrill’s golf game will allow Mitchell to compete in the competition for the first time.

Houston Rockets v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Cleveland Cavaliers' Donovan Mitchell will be participating in the three-point competition. But he isn’t his or his teammate’s preferred option.

“Sam [Merrill] didn’t want to do it,” Mitchell said. “I tried to get him out. But he just wanted to chill with his family. So I figured, why not go out there and win it for him?”

“I want to see Sam Merrill in there,” Jarrett Allen said.

Mitchell and company have been campaigning for Merrill to participate for the last few weeks. But Merrill hasn’t seemed interested citing not ever taking part in a three-point competition before and his golf game as two reasons why he should take the weekend off.

Mitchell isn’t the 44.3% three-point shooter Merrill is, which has his teammates divided on what his chances are.

“He better win,” Caris LeVert said. “S***, who else is in it? He can win that. Yeah, he can win that!”

Allen doesn’t share LeVert’s optimism.

“I’m excited to see him,” Allen said. “I want to see Don win it if he can.”

Mitchell interrupted to correct the record.

“Why are you guys acting like I can’t shoot threes?” Mitchell said.

Mitchell isn’t having his best outside shooting season. But he’s also taking mostly difficult, off-the-dribble pull-ups.

Last season, Mitchell was one of the most efficient high-volume pull-up three-point shooters knocking down 39.2% of his 5.7 off-the-dribble threes per game. That was third-best in the league for anyone attempting over four a game behind only Steph Curry and Tyrese Haliburton. This season, that number is down to 35%. This mirrors his overall percentage, his three-point shooting is down to 35.4% after converting 38.6% last season.

Even so, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves as a shooter. That’s something he’s hoping to change in Indianapolis.

“I don’t get labeled a shooter like the guys who are in it are,” Mitchell said. “But I believe I can go out there and win it. So that’s what I’m going to go out there and do.”