Defense wins championships, but offense puts people into the stands and now, with the league way more oriented towards the perimeter, fast pace and a lot of points, shooting is becoming a more important part in today’s game.
Back then, the game was way more physical, and players thrived with their athleticism and strong post moves while owning the paint, while others tried to make the most out of the midrange game.
But now, it’s all about shooting. Jump shots, catch and shoot, pull up, it’s a shooting league nowadays, and that’s mostly thanks to some guys that completely changed the game, and today we’re going to pay tribute to them, pointing out the 10 best shooters in the history of the NBA.
Honorable Mentions: Chauncey Billups, Glen Rice, Jason Terry, Kevin Durant, Craig Hodges, Dale Ellis
10. Paul Pierce
You may think of Pierce as much more than just a shooter, or you could even be surprised to see him on this list. Nonetheless, “The Truth” has shot his way to becoming the 4th leading 3-point shooter in NBA history.
Scoring 19.7 points on 44.5% from the floor, 36.8% from downtown, 80.6% from the line and owning a 56.8% true shooting percentage with an effective shooting percentage of 50%, the 10-time All-Star and Finals MVP makes our list with 26,397 career points.
9. Steve Nash
Nash was all about effectiveness and making the right choice at the right time, and considering how much of an incredible passer he was, he forced defenses to adjust on every single play while having the ability to create his own shot.
On top of that, the 2-time MVP is one of the few members of the 50-40-90 club, and he managed to do so in several seasons of shooting 50+% overall, 40+% from three-point range and 90+% from the charity stripe, being practically automatic through his 17-year career with his beautiful shooting technique to make up for his lack of athleticism.
8. Klay Thompson
It seems like this guy has been in the league for ages judging by the way he plays the game, but Klay has only been around for 5 years. Still, that has been way more than enough for him to make our list, being the ultimate pure shooter while also being able to play outstanding defense.
Klay owns an outstanding effective field goal percentage of 56.6% thanks to his shooting averages of 46.8% from the floor, 41.3% from three and 85.9% from the line. These averages are pretty impressive career wise, but what’s more impressive about him is the volume, as he takes almost half of his shots from three-point land.
7. Peja Stojakovic
This guy was practically automatic from pretty much everywhere on the floor, and history says he was able to net over 30 in a row during practice.
"A friend of mine used to tell the story about watching Stojakovic practice. She said that he would routinely make 30 or 40 3-pointers in a row, and then when he finally missed one, he stared at the rim for a second as if he was thinking, “Who turned on the air conditioning while that ball was in the air?"
Shooting just over 40 percent from deep through his career, Peja managed to average 17 points per night while being capable of creating his own shot.
He surpassed the 9,000 point milestone with the Sacramento Kings in just 8 seasons, averaging 90 percent from the charity stripe through his entire career, something quite impressive considering the height of this guy.
6. Kyle Korver
Korver had everybody rooting for him just a couple of seasons ago when he was on the verge of breaking Dana Barro’s streak of more games with at least one made a three-pointer, a record that he eventually broke with 127 games in a row.
Nowadays, KK is pretty much just a floor spacer and a three-point shooter, but his midrange and shooting mechanics are just off the charts, while he’s a total ATM from the line, shooting almost 90 percent through his career while scoring on 44% of his field goal attempts overall.
5. Larry Bird
Bird was the ultimate two-way player through his entire career with the Boston Celtics, but one of the most impressive features of his game was his shooting due to his height, especially considering how the game was played back then.
Averaging 24.3 points per game, Larry Legend had a true shooting percentage of 56.4% through his career on his way to scoring 21,791 points, averaging over 50% on 2 pointers and 88% from the line.
4. Dirk Nowitzki
Well, Dirk isn’t just one hell of a shooter, but also pretty much the creator of one of the most practiced and influential shots nowadays, his signature move: the flamingo, with that unblockable fadeaway that’s just automatic.
Dirk is an outstanding shooter for a big man, and even if that’s more and more common nowadays, he’s one of the first to actually impress with his shooting at his height, averaging 47.3% from the field, 38.3% from three point territory and just over 88% from the line, scoring more than 30,000 career points and becoming a huge legend of the game.
3. Reggie Miller
You could say this guy was the first three-point shooter of the league, and even if you’d be lying, it would be a pretty accurate statement. Nonetheless, people tend to forget that Miller actually didn’t take many threes as they do nowadays, but he was extremely effective when he decided to do so.
Averaging 47% from the field and owning an effective shooting percentage of 54.4% through his entire career as the best player in Pacers history, Reggie Miller earned his spot on this list thanks to his 18.2 points per game and his true shooting percentage of 61.4%, something pretty impressive for a shooting guard.
2. Ray Allen
Before the surge of Steph Curry, there was absolutely no doubt that the best shooter in NBA history was Ray Allen, although people tend to forget that he was way more than just a three-point shooter during his time with the Sonics and the Bucks.
Scoring 24,505 career points and being a key piece in two different championship squads, Allen had the ability to either pull up and kill you from pretty much everywhere, or just catch and shoot with his ability to stretch the floor, being the ultimate scorer and never slowing down until his retirement.
1. Stephen Curry
Holding the records for more three-pointers in a season, most games in a row scoring at least a triple, most triples in a game, most points scored in overtime, most threes scored in Warriors history, best free throw percentage in Warriors history and the ultimate three-point leader in the league since 2012, Curry has to be the best shooter in NBA history.
This guy demolished Ray Allen’s records just to break his own marks over and over, and the sky seems to be the limit for a guy that scores from halfcourt like it was a layup. He has unlimited range and has dozens of ways to score, joining great company on his way to the 50-40-90 club.
With 13,088 career points and 1917 three-pointers made on 43.8% from downtown and 47.6% from the floor, there’s just no doubt that Curry is the best we’ve seen and that there is going to be a long while before anyone gets even close to him.