It’s all about pace and space in this league nowadays, so having guys that are able to consistently hit from beyond the arc is a must for every franchise if they intend to thrive and keep up with the Rockets and the Warriors.
Obviously, small ball lineups are a huge part of the team’s offensive plans in modern basketball, but in order to do so, you definitely need to have a couple of big men able to run the floor and hit from three-point territory.
Over the course of the season, some players have been doing this consistently, proving why having a stretch big man is such as valuable asset. Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 10 stretch big men in the league.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Anderson, Dario Saric, Blake Griffin
10. Lauri Markkanen
Well, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the Chicago Bulls’ sensational rookie became the fastest player to reach 100 career three-pointers early in the season, and he’s up to 123 so far over his first year in the NBA.
Markkanen has a sweet shooting stroke and looks like Kristaps Porzingis 2.0, and his ability to pull up on fast breaks make him a huge threat beyond the three-point line, especially with LaVine and Dunn running the break and making defenders collapse the paint to prevent them from finishing from close range.
9. Joel Embiid
It seems like there’s nothing Joel Embiid isn’t capable of doing in both ends of the floor, and even though his three-point shooting has kind of regressed a bit, he’s still been able to connect from distance in 65 opportunities.
Of course, that 31% from beyond the arc isn’t as impressive as we could expect, but his footwork, handles and ability to put the rock on the floor allows the Sixers to run and spread the offense, with defenders having to guard him all the way to the three-point line to try and stop him from driving.
8. Nikola Jokic
Nikola Jokic is one of the worst defenders in the league among big men (and maybe even among all players), but he definitely makes it up on the offensive end of the floor with his great ability to read opposing defenses and always find the open man.
Also, he’s as skilled as any guard when it comes to creating his own shot and hitting from three-point land, recording 90 three-pointers over his career and allowing the Nuggets to be quite creative in some point guard-less lineups.
7. Marc Gasol
You may argue that Marc Gasol has lost some of his defensive punch and is no longer a dominant rebounder or rim protector, but his offensive game has truly stepped up over the last couple of campaigns, mostly because he’s been able to consistently hit from three-point land.
Gasol is hitting on a respectable 32% from beyond the arc this season, recording 94 three-pointers so far, a number that obviously would’ve been way higher if the Grizzlies weren’t so relentlessly trying to tank.
6. Brook Lopez
Brook Lopez has never been your old-fashioned physical big man and is usually overpowered by stronger centers when it comes to owning the glass, but what he lacks on physicality, he definitely makes up with his great offensive skill set.
Lopez has been adding the three-point shot to his repertoire for a couple of seasons now, and he’s been great on the pace and space Los Angeles Lakers offense this year, recording 99 makes from downtown over the season.
5. Kristaps Porzingis
Kristaps Porzingis is one of the best big men in the NBA, and many fans compare him with Dirk Nowitzki. This season he averages almost 2 three-pointers per game with 39.3%.
He is knocking down deep three-pointers, finishing fadeaways shots over smaller defenders, using his height and footwork to post up. Who can block the 7-footer big man from the downtown? Nobody.
4. DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins was having a career year before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury, and that obviously includes his three-point shooting, recording 104 three-pointers up to the point where he got injured.
Cousins ability to run the offense and spread the floor with his passing was an extremely valuable asset for the New Orleans Pelicans all season long, so let’s hope he doesn’t lose his shooting stroke following several months on the sidelines.
3. Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns’ post work was already elite before he started to become a consistent shooter from three-point territory, and he has a strong case for the most talented big man in the league right now, at least offensive wise.
Towns can create off the dribble and take it all the way to the rim from the perimeter, but he won’t hesitate to punish you from downtown either, connecting in 104 three-point shots over this campaign.
2. Kevin Love
Kevin Love was one of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ main scapegoats this season, but truth to be told, if it wasn’t for his reliable three-point shooting, this offense wouldn’t be able to buy as dynamic and fast as it is.
Love’s always ready to hit those corner threes following James’ passes, and he’s already scored 113 three-pointers despite spending some time in the bleachers with a hand injury, owning a highly respectable 41% shooting from three-point land.
1. Dirk Nowitzki
If you’ve been watching this game for a while, the fact that Dirk Nowitzki is actually today’s ultimate stretch big man in the league shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, as he’s been doing it for almost 20 years now.
Nowitzki has made a living out of his incredibly smooth shooting stroke and is a waste all of his 129 three-point shots on 42% from the floor are going to go to waste with the Mavs openly tanking through the season.