By Court Zierk @courtzierk on August 30, 2014
The three-point shot holds a special place in every fan’s heart. It can be as incredibly frustrating as it can be exhilarating, but either way, it is becoming more and more a part of today’s game. These 30 players have mastered the art of the long ball, and are the most efficient shooters of all time.
Korver has only been with the Hawks for two seasons, but he is already climbing up their career leader board in every statistical category related to long distance shooting. He is shooting 46 percent from the three-point line as a Hawk and has made 374 threes in just two years. I considered Mookie Blaylock as well, but even in his prime, he never shot more than 37 percent from long range.
Old school Celtics fans will be upset with this, as they will certainly believe Larry Bird should occupy the number one spot, but the numbers don’t lie. Both are right around 37 percent three-point shooters, but Pierce made 1174 more in a Celtics uniform. Even Pierce’s true shooting percentage, a stat that takes into account two-pointers, three-pointers and free throws, is one percentage point higher at 57 percent.
A career cut tragically short by an untimely car accident, Petrovic was on his way to becoming one of the most accomplished shooters of all time. From 1991-93, there wasn’t a better shooter in the game, and Petrovic averaged right around 47 percent from the three-point range. His shot was pure, and he was athletic enough to create the space he needed to get it off. A classic what could have been story.
Before you jump down my throat, remember that the original Hornets franchise still resides in New Orleans, so we are really only looking at a brief, and very minimally talented list of players when deciding who is Charlotte’s best shooter. The choices really boiled down to Raymond Felton, DJ Augustin and Matt Carroll, and Carroll was by far the purest shooter, averaging right around 40 percent from long distance during his time in Charlotte.
From 1993-98, Kerr was probably the best shooter in the game. In fact, for a two-year span, he averaged more than 50 percent from long distance, on 294 attempts, one of the most impressive feats of shooting reliability I can recall. For his career, he shot 45.4 percent from three-point range, making him the most accurate shooter in NBA history among players with at least 2,000 attempts.
Price currently holds the Cavs record for most three-pointers made at 802, but hot on his trail is one LeBron James with 771 in a Cavs uniform. During his time with the Cavs, Price average 40.9 percent from three-point range, and was consistently one of the team’s best scorers.
Nowitzki will likely go down as the best shooting big man of all time. He holds the Mavs mark for most three pointers in a career, by more than 300, and his 38 percent lifetime three-point percentage is skewed by the number of tough shots he has been forced to take over his career. When the Mavs have more talent on the roster, taking some of the pressure off of Dirk, he is consistently an above 40 percent shooter from downtown.
We all know that Smith has recently touted the fact that he is on his way to becoming one of the greatest shooters to ever play the game. As much as people may have scoffed at his remarks, his numbers make it hard to deny that. Smith holds the record for most career three-pointers for the Nuggets by nearly 150 makes, and his career three-point percentage of 38 percent puts him at eighth on the Nuggets' all-time list.
Mr. Big Shot made a name for himself in Detroit by stepping up and making clutch shot after clutch shot from long range. Though he trails Joe Dumars for most three-pointers made as a Piston, his accuracy (40 percent) and propensity for making it when it matters most gives him the edge in my opinion. Billups is currently sixth on the all-time list for most career three-pointers made.
Having only played five seasons in a Warriors uniform, Curry already dominates the Warriors record books for three point efficiency. He holds the record for most three-pointers made by more than 200 buckets, and his career three-point percentage of 44 percent puts him at fourth place in the Warriors record books.
During his six years with the Rockets, Smith was undoubtedly the best shooter on his team, and established himself as the best in team history. Although Vernon Maxwell leads the Rockets for most three-pointers made, he was an extremely erratic shooter, and was nowhere nearly as dependable as Smith. Smith ranks fifth on the Rockets leaderboard for most three-pointers made, and fourth for 3-point efficiency.
Is there really any question about this one? Miller utterly dominates the Pacers record book in almost every offensive category, and he ranks second on the all-time NBA list in terms of three-pointers made. He was a career 39.5 percent three-point shooter, which is absolutely incredible given the amount of attention that was paid to him by the opposing team on a nightly basis. He is one of the best shooters of all time.
Although never really a very well-known player, Piatkowski lit up the league and the Clippers record books. He is first in all-time three-pointers made and second in three-point efficiency. Nobody in team history really even approaches what he was able to do as a long distance shooter.
This one was tough because the three-point shot didn’t even exist when West was playing, but he is widely known as one of the most prolific shooters to have ever played. There is a reason the NBA made their logo in his likeness. Of course, I considered putting Kobe Bryant on here instead, but his place as the Lakers all-time three-point leader results more from the sheer number of shots he takes.
This was a no-brainer. Miller holds the franchise mark for most three-pointers made by nearly 300 buckets, and he ranks first in three-point percentage. There was really nobody else who even comes close to Miller as the Grizzlies best long distance shooter.
Rice is one of the purest shooters the game has ever seen. During his six years in Miami, he managed to make the third most three-pointers in team history, and shot at an impressive clip around 38 percent. His name has consistently been, and will continue to be, in the discussion in regards to best shooters in NBA history.
Though Allen played for four different franchises now, the six years he spent in Milwaukee were his longest, and where he began to establish himself as the best shooter in the game. He holds the Bucks record for most three-pointers made, and ranks sixth in three-point percentage. Oh, and did I mention that he has made more three-pointers than anybody in NBA history? Ever.
Szczerbiak started his career in Minnesota, and played there for six and a half seasons on his way to becoming No. 3 in the team’s record books in terms of three-point shots made. He also made all of his three-pointers at a 40 percent clip. Not too shabby at all. Anthony Peeler holds the Timberwolves record for most three-pointers, but was a far less efficient shooter.
Curry owns just about every offensive shooting record in the Pelicans (AKA Charlotte Hornets) book. He made more than 400 more three-pointers than anyone in franchise history, and made all of those at better than a 40 percent average. Needless to say, the Curry family is has been blessed with the ability to shoot the ball with insane efficiency, and at an incredible rate.
Sure, John Starks holds most of the three-point records in Knicks history, but he was also extremely erratic. Houston was a much, much more consistent shooter, and isn’t far behind Starks at No. 2 in terms of most three-pointers made as a Knick. His 40 percent average also puts him at eighth on the Knicks all-time list for that category.
Seattle Supersonics fans may not like seeing their players associated with the Thunder franchise, but I guess those are the breaks. This franchise has had some of the best shooters of all time suit up, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis come to mind, but no player has shot the long ball with more efficiency than Brent Barry. He made 669 three-pointers in a Sonics uniform, and did so with an average of about 43 percent. Incredible.
For a period of time, Dennis Scott and Nick Anderson were arguably two of the best shooters in the game, and they shared the same backcourt. Scott however, made more, and shot at a higher percentage. He leads the Magic in three-pointers made, and is third in three-point percentage. He was quite simply one of the best shooters to ever put on a pair of sneakers, and I think people forget that.
Hawkins name rarely comes up when discussing the best shooters of all time, and quite frankly that is a shame. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, there were few better shooters than him. Hawkins only played five seasons in a 76ers uniform, but still managed to make more three-pointers than anyone but three players in team history, and shot an incredible 40.6 percent in the process.
Plain and simply, Nash is one of the best shooters to have ever played. He dominates every three-point category in the Suns record books, with the most made, most attempted and highest overall three-point percentage (43.5 percent). Only Dan Majerle comes remotely close.
This may be a surprise to some people, but Matthews has only played for the Blazers for four seasons, and he is on a trajectory to completely dominate the Blazers record book in terms of long range shooting. He already sits at third for three-pointers made, 120 short of Terry Porter’s franchise record and is sixth on their all-time list for three-point percentage (39.6 percent).
Bowen was never as prolific of a scorer as his teammates, and although he is second in the Spurs record books for three-pointers made, he has made about 500 fewer than Manu Ginobili. However, he shot about 40.4 percent on his career, and he made big three-pointers at the most opportune moments.
This may have actually been the toughest one to decide, as the Kings have two of the best shooters of all time in Peja Stojakovic and Mitch Richmond to choose from. Although Stojakovic holds the slight edge in three-pointers made, Richmond shot at a higher percentage, and his shot was just so pure and smooth. He is one of the most underrated players of all time.
I struggled with this one because Kapono only played two seasons in a Raptors uniform and barely shows up at all in the Raptors record books. But for those two seasons, he was undoubtedly the best shooter this franchise has ever seen, and as a result, he ranks first in team history for three-point percentage (44.7 percent).
Hornacek was never one to take every shot available to him, and his place in the Jazz’s record books demonstrates this. Although he made only 439 three-pointers in a Jazz uniform, about half of what John Stockton made, he holds the mark for three-point percentage at 42.8 percent. Although he rarely shot more than two three-pointers per game, he made nearly half of the ones he took, and that’s impressive.
This may seem premature, but this franchise hasn’t had a lot of prolific long distance shooters to choose from, and certainly none as pure of shooter as Beal. After only two seasons, Beal already sits at 10th in terms of most three-pointers made in team history, and sixth for three-point percentage, basically shooting 40 percent. When it’s all said and done, assuming he stays with the Wizards, Beal will own the record book.
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