New York Knicks' J.R. Smith On Pace To Become an All-Time Great Shooter

By Matt Constas
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When you think of the greatest shooters of all time, who comes to mind? Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr, J.R. Smith?

Wait, J.R. Smith?

Yes, the New York Knicks‘ unpredictable guard is who I am referring to. On Tuesday, Smith posted a picture on Instagram with a caption proclaiming he is on pace to be one of the best shooters of all time. That may seem like a stretch to many consistent NBA followers, yet it does beg the question, does he have a point?

Well, let’s look at the stats. Smith has attempted 3,540 three-pointers and made 1,312 over the span of 11 NBA seasons, good enough for 34th and 30th respectively all-time. Not too shabby considering he is only 28 years old. He is also tied for third in single-game three-pointers made (11) and is the record holder for single-game attempts (22).

His career percentage from beyond the arc, however, is just 37.06 percent. That ranks just 142nd in the history of the league. His 30.7 percent mark in the playoffs is even worse, ranking 227th all-time.That is a lower mark than Dwyane Wade, so this stat hurts the resume more than it helps it.

If you jumped to the conclusion that it was just his arrogance and he is completely wrong to think he is “one of the best shooters of all time”, well, that is not what we are debating, since he stated he is on pace to become one of those select guys. Based on these stats, there are some things to work on, and I could only assume that he knows that. But he also knows that he has not had too bad of a career so far. He has shot 39 percent three times and 40 percent once for a whole season, so he proved he can do it consistently well for a whole season. Now it is about starting to rebound from last season’s woes.

With issues on and off the court during 2013-14, Smith got off to a bad start but did manage to shoot 39.4 percent from three. He also finished off strong after Phil Jackson was named president. In seven April games to end the season, he averaged 23.4 points per game and shot 46.3 percent from three.

He is from Newark, N.J. The Knicks are his team. He wants to be there and is motivated more now than he has ever been, and he is armed with the most knowledgeable basketball staff of any team in his career. The stats may not say he is the greatest right now, but there is no reason that they can’t change.

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