In the illustrious history of the NBA, few skills have captivated fans and left opponents in awe like the art of shooting. The ability to knock down shots from anywhere on the court, consistently and efficiently, is a hallmark of greatness in basketball. From long-range marksmen who redefine the boundaries of shooting to versatile scorers who can score from all angles, these ten players have etched their names in the annals of the game as the greatest shooters to have ever graced the hardwood.
Their deadly accuracy, impact on the game, and unwavering clutch performances have left an indelible mark on the sport. Join us as we delve into the careers of these remarkable shooters, examining their shooting percentages, longevity in the league, and the unique qualities that set them apart, paying homage to their contributions to the game of basketball. Prepare to witness the mastery of the top 10 shooters in NBA history.
1. Stephen Curry
Career: 43.3% 3P%, 57.3% eFG%, 62.3% TS%, 90.7% FT%
Stephen Curry revolutionized the game of basketball with his unmatched shooting prowess. Known for his deep range and quick release, Curry has redefined what it means to be a great shooter. His career three-point percentage of 43.3% is simply remarkable, especially considering the volume of shots he takes from beyond the arc. Curry’s ability to knock down shots from anywhere on the court has forced defenses to adapt and stretch their defenses to the limits. His impact on the game goes beyond the numbers, as he has inspired a new generation of players to embrace long-range shooting.
Curry’s shooting arsenal is filled with strengths. His exceptional ball-handling skills and quick footwork enable him to create separation and get his shot off against tight defenses. He possesses extraordinary hand-eye coordination, which allows him to shoot accurately even when contested. Additionally, Curry’s ability to shoot off the dribble and in catch-and-shoot situations makes him a constant threat on offense. His shooting range extends well beyond the three-point line, forcing defenders to guard him as soon as he crosses half-court. Curry’s success as a shooter is also attributed to his work ethic and tireless practice, as he has mastered the art of shooting through countless hours of repetition.
2. Ray Allen
Career: 40% 3P%, 50.1% eFG%, 58.3% TS%, 89.4% FT%
Ray Allen, often regarded as one of the purest shooters in NBA history, had a remarkable career that spanned almost two decades. Allen’s three-point shooting prowess was ahead of his time, as he consistently ranked among the league’s best marksmen. With a career three-point percentage of 40%, Allen was a threat to score from beyond the arc every time he stepped on the court. His textbook shooting form, quick release, and ability to catch and shoot with precision made him nearly impossible to defend.
Allen’s impact on the game extended far beyond his shooting percentages. He was known for his clutch shooting and ability to knock down big shots in critical moments. His most memorable shot came during Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals when he hit a game-tying three-pointer with seconds remaining, leading the Miami Heat to an eventual championship. Allen’s dedication to conditioning and footwork allowed him to constantly move without the ball, finding open spots on the court to receive passes and launch his deadly shot. His ability to read screens and come off them with precision made him a constant threat in pick-and-roll situations. Allen’s longevity and consistent shooting over the course of his career solidify his place among the greatest shooters in NBA history.
3. Reggie Miller
Career: 39.5% 3P%, 50.6% eFG%, 61.6% TS%, 88.8% FT%
Reggie Miller is widely regarded as one of the greatest shooters and most prolific scorers in NBA history. Throughout his 18-year career with the Indiana Pacers, Miller showcased his exceptional shooting ability and became renowned for his clutch performances. With a career three-point percentage of 39.5%, Miller was deadly from beyond the arc. He had a lightning-quick release and a knack for hitting shots in pressure situations, earning him the nickname “Knick Killer” for his incredible performances against the New York Knicks.
What set Miller apart was his ability to move without the ball and his tireless work ethic. He used screens and off-ball movement to free himself up for open shots, often catching defenders off guard. Miller’s footwork and body control allowed him to shoot accurately while on the move. His shooting stroke was smooth and effortless, enabling him to consistently knock down shots from all areas of the court. Moreover, Miller’s mental toughness and confidence played a significant role in his success as a shooter, as he never shied away from taking big shots and was often at his best when the game was on the line.
4. Klay Thompson
Career: 41.9% 3P%, 56.3% eFG%, 59.3% TS%, 84.8% FT%
Klay Thompson, known for his remarkable shooting ability, formed one half of the Splash Brothers duo alongside Stephen Curry. Throughout his career with the Golden State Warriors, Thompson established himself as one of the premier shooters in the league. His three-point shooting percentage of 41.9% is a testament to his accuracy and consistency from beyond the arc. Thompson possesses a quick release and a beautiful shooting form, allowing him to excel in catch-and-shoot situations.
Thompson’s strengths as a shooter extend beyond his three-point shooting. He is an excellent mid-range shooter with a smooth stroke and the ability to create his own shot. Thompson’s size and height advantage over most guards enable him to shoot over defenders with ease. His performance in the 2016 NBA Playoffs, where he scored a record-breaking 11 three-pointers in a single game, showcased his ability to get hot and score in bunches. Additionally, Thompson’s defensive abilities made him a valuable two-way player. His shooting accuracy and defensive prowess made him an integral part of the Warriors’ championship runs, and his impact on the game cannot be overstated.
5. Larry Bird
Career: 37.6% 3P%, 50.9% eFG%, 56.4% TS%, 88.6% FT%
Larry Bird, a legendary figure in NBA history, was not only a versatile scorer but also one of the game’s greatest shooters. Despite not having the same three-point volume as some of his contemporaries, Bird’s shooting percentages speak volumes about his efficiency and effectiveness as a shooter. With a career three-point percentage of 37.6%, Bird displayed his ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc when needed. However, it was his overall shooting prowess that made him a standout player.
Bird’s shooting success stemmed from his exceptional basketball IQ, court vision, and understanding of spacing. He had a high release point and excellent shooting mechanics, which allowed him to shoot over defenders with ease. Bird had the ability to score from anywhere on the court, utilizing his lethal mid-range game and deadly outside shooting. His competitive drive and clutch performances in critical moments solidified his status as one of the game’s greatest winners. Bird’s ability to elevate his shooting in pressure situations and deliver when it mattered most is a testament to his mental fortitude and desire to win.
6. Dirk Nowitzki
Career: 38.0% 3P%, 47.6% eFG%, 57.5% TS%, 87.9% FT%
Dirk Nowitzki, a 7-foot forward with exceptional shooting skills, fundamentally changed the perception of what a big man could do on the basketball court. Throughout his 21-year career with the Dallas Mavericks, Nowitzki became the epitome of a stretch forward, utilizing his shooting ability to dominate opponents. Despite his towering stature, Nowitzki boasted a career three-point percentage of 38.0%, showcasing his ability to shoot from the perimeter.
Nowitzki’s shooting skills were unparalleled for a player of his size. His signature shot, the one-legged fadeaway, was virtually unstoppable and became his go-to move in crucial moments. His shooting mechanics and high release point made it challenging for defenders to contest his shot effectively. Nowitzki’s ability to stretch the floor opened up opportunities for his teammates, forcing defenses to adapt and create new strategies to guard against him. Moreover, his consistency from the free-throw line, with a career free-throw percentage of 87.9%, allowed him to capitalize on scoring opportunities and close out games. Nowitzki’s impact on the game was not limited to his scoring ability, as he was an inspirational leader, a true professional, and a model of perseverance throughout his illustrious career.
7. Steve Nash
Career: 42.8% 3P%, 53.0% eFG%, 61.8% TS%, 90.4% FT%
Steve Nash, a two-time MVP and one of the greatest point guards in NBA history, was renowned for his exceptional shooting ability and floor leadership. While primarily known for his playmaking skills, Nash’s shooting percentages highlight his efficiency and effectiveness as a scorer. With a career three-point percentage of 42.8%, Nash consistently knocked down shots from beyond the arc, often utilizing his quick release and superb shooting form.
Nash’s shooting success can be attributed to his exceptional basketball IQ, court vision, and decision-making. He had the unique ability to read defenses, make the right play, and shoot accurately from various spots on the court. Nash’s off-ball movement, combined with his ability to shoot off screens, made him a constant threat in the half-court offense. His high basketball IQ allowed him to create open shooting opportunities for himself and his teammates. Additionally, Nash’s free-throw shooting was exceptional, boasting a career percentage of 90.4%. His ability to convert at the line further solidified his status as an elite shooter.
8. Peja Stojaković
Career: 40.1% 3P%, 52.9% eFG%, 59.3% TS%, 89.5% FT%
Peja Stojaković, a sharpshooting forward, established himself as one of the premier long-range threats in the NBA during his career. With a career three-point percentage of 40.1%, Stojaković possessed a quick and effortless release, making him a deadly shooter from beyond the arc. His shooting ability was a key component of the Sacramento Kings’ high-octane offense during the early 2000s.
Stojaković’s shooting prowess was characterized by his ability to score in a variety of ways. He excelled in catch-and-shoot situations, utilizing his quick release to capitalize on open looks. Stojaković had a remarkable ability to shoot off balance and from difficult angles, making him a difficult player to guard. His shooting range extended well beyond the three-point line, allowing him to stretch defenses and open up driving lanes for his teammates. Stojaković’s consistency from the free-throw line, with a career percentage of 89.5%, further added to his scoring efficiency. His impact on the game was undeniable, as he played a crucial role in spreading the floor, creating spacing, and providing a consistent scoring threat for his teams.
Please note that the career statistics provided for each player are accurate as of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021.
9. Kyle Korver
Career: 42.9% 3P%, 58.4% eFG%, 60.9% TS%, 87.9% FT%
Kyle Korver, known for his elite three-point shooting, had a remarkable career as one of the most accurate long-range marksmen in NBA history. With a career three-point percentage of 42.9%, Korver consistently ranked among the league leaders in three-point shooting. His shooting stroke was a thing of beauty, characterized by a quick release and textbook form.
Korver’s impact on the game went beyond his shooting percentages. He had a unique ability to move off the ball and find open spots on the perimeter, making him a constant threat in catch-and-shoot situations. His shooting range and accuracy demanded defensive attention, which opened up driving lanes for his teammates and disrupted opponents’ defensive schemes. Korver’s basketball IQ and understanding of spacing allowed him to maximize his shooting opportunities. He was also a reliable free-throw shooter, boasting a career percentage of 87.9%. Korver’s consistency as a shooter, combined with his team-oriented mindset, made him a valuable asset to any team he played for.
10. Kevin Durant
Career: 38.4% 3P%, 53.3% eFG%, 61.7% TS%, 88.4% FT%
Kevin Durant, a scoring machine and one of the most versatile players in NBA history, possesses an exceptional shooting ability that has made him nearly unstoppable on the offensive end. Despite his size and height, Durant has the shooting touch of a guard, making him a matchup nightmare for defenders. With a career three-point percentage of 38.4%, Durant’s shooting accuracy from beyond the arc is impressive, especially considering his volume of attempts.
Durant’s shooting arsenal is defined by his effortless shooting stroke, high release point, and scoring versatility. He can shoot over defenders with ease due to his height and long wingspan. Durant possesses deep shooting range, capable of knocking down shots from well beyond the three-point line. His ability to score off the dribble, in catch-and-shoot situations, and in isolation makes him a multidimensional threat. Durant’s scoring efficiency is further highlighted by his career percentages of 53.3% eFG and 61.7% TS. Additionally, he is a consistent free-throw shooter, boasting a career percentage of 88.4%. Durant’s impact on the game is immense, as he can single-handedly take over and dominate offensively, regardless of the defensive strategies employed against him.
These ten players represent some of the greatest shooters in NBA history. Their shooting percentages, coupled with their skills, impact, and longevity in the league, solidify their status among the elite. Their ability to consistently knock down shots, stretch defenses, and make clutch plays has left an indelible mark on the game of basketball, inspiring future generations of shooters to strive for greatness.