Cavaliers fans know Sam Merrill can really fill it up from beyond the 3-point line. They’ve seen it time and again.
Apparently, though, the NBA has been oblivious to the whole thing. Per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, Merrill never received an invitation to participate in the 3-point shootout at All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis.
That may be a surprise in Cleveland, but others around the league will tell you Merrill’s body of work is too small.
Merrill made a name for himself when starting point guard Darius Garland went down with a broken jaw. For the season, Merrill is putting together a career-best 8.5 points and has already played a career-high 33 games (entering Wednesday).
Moreso, he’s burying 44 percent of his threes. That wouldn’t mean much if he only attempted one or two a night. But he’s attempting 5.5 per game.
Merrill is doing it by getting to his spot, squaring up, and firing away with an ultra-quick release.
It really is a shame he won’t get a chance to participate, because most around Cleveland think he would immediately become the favorite.
That includes teammate Donovan Mitchell, an All-Star reserve who IS getting a chance at the three-point shootout. Maybe he can win it, too. Maybe then the NBA will stop ignoring the second-best team in the Eastern Conference at this writing.
Probably not, but maybe. Either way, Merrill belonged in the shootout. It would be a consolation prize to what has been a banner year — second only to the idea that he has helped the Cavs become a force since the start of January.