Who Is the Best Shooter in the NBA?

Jimmy Remland
By Jimmy Remland 7 Min Read
7 Min Read

Shooting is an art form in basketball, a skill that transcends mere athleticism. It’s about precision, timing, and the ability to deliver when the game is on the line. In the NBA, where the stakes are high and the competition fierce, being a great shooter is essential. But who truly stands out as the best? Let’s delve into the world of sharpshooters and explore the top contenders.

1. Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry’s name is synonymous with shooting excellence. The Golden State Warriors’ point guard has revolutionized the game with his unparalleled shooting range. Here’s why Curry deserves the top spot:

  • Three-Point Mastery: Curry’s 3-point shooting is otherworldly. He boasts a career 3-point percentage of over 43%, a remarkable feat considering the volume and difficulty of his shots. His ability to drain shots from well beyond the arc has changed defensive strategies and floor-spacing dynamics.
  • Versatility: Curry isn’t just a one-trick pony. He can score from anywhere on the court. Whether it’s mid-range jumpers, floaters, or off-the-dribble threes, Curry has every shot in his arsenal. His off-ball movement is equally impressive, making him a nightmare for defenders.
  • Historic MVP Season: In the 2015-16 season, Curry’s unanimous MVP campaign left an indelible mark. He shattered records by sinking an astonishing 402 three-pointers at a jaw-dropping 45% clip. That season redefined what it means to be a great shooter.

2. Klay Thompson

Teammate Klay Thompson complements Curry perfectly. Together, they form the deadliest shooting backcourt in NBA history. Here’s why Thompson deserves recognition:

  • Flammable Scorer: When Klay gets hot, the net catches fire. His 14 three-pointers in a single game remain an all-time record. He once scored 60 points in just 29 minutes, showcasing his scoring efficiency.
  • Curry’s Sidekick: Thompson’s partnership with Curry is symbiotic. While Curry’s versatility shines, Thompson’s catch-and-shoot prowess is unmatched. Imagine Thompson as the primary option—his numbers might rival Reggie Miller’s, who was a 39% career 3-point shooter.
  • Consistent Excellence: Thompson’s career 42% shooting from beyond the arc ranks 14th in NBA history. His reliability makes him a cornerstone of the Warriors’ success.

3. Ray Allen

Ray Allen’s silky-smooth jumper transcends generations. Here’s why he’s etched in basketball lore:

  • Clutch Performer: Allen’s iconic three-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals—dubbed the “Miracle Shot”—saved the Miami Heat. His ability to rise to the occasion defines greatness.
  • Career Accuracy: Allen boasts a career 40% 3-point shooting percentage. His consistency over 18 seasons is a testament to his skill and work ethic.
  • Record Holder: Before Curry, Allen held the record for most career three-pointers made. His 2,973 triples remain a benchmark.

4. Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller, the Indiana Pacers legend, was a maestro from downtown. His credentials speak volumes:

  • Off-Ball Movement: Miller’s knack for running off screens and catching defenders off-guard was unparalleled. He could turn a tight game into a shootout single-handedly.
  • Playoff Heroics: Miller’s 8 points in 9 seconds against the New York Knicks in the 1995 playoffs is etched in NBA folklore. His icy veins under pressure define clutch shooting.
  • Longevity: Miller’s 39% career 3-point shooting spanned 18 seasons. He was a beacon of consistency.

5. Larry Bird

Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics legend, was more than just a shooter. But his shooting prowess deserves recognition:

  • Precision: Bird’s release was textbook. His 3-point percentage of 37.6% doesn’t fully capture his impact. He made crucial shots when it mattered most.
  • Three-Point Contest Dominance: Bird won three consecutive NBA Three-Point Contests (1986-1988). His rivalry with Dale Ellis was legendary.
  • Championship Pedigree: Bird’s shooting helped the Celtics secure three NBA titles. His legacy extends beyond numbers.

6. Steve Nash

Steve Nash, the Canadian maestro, was a magician with the ball. His shooting acumen was a vital thread in his tapestry:

  • Playmaking Sniper: Nash’s court vision and passing wizardry often overshadowed his shooting. But make no mistake—he was lethal from beyond the arc. His career 3-point percentage of 42.8% is a testament to his precision.
  • Back-to-Back MVP: Nash’s back-to-back MVP awards (2005, 2006) were fueled by his orchestration of the Phoenix Suns’ high-octane offense. His shooting was the glue that held it all together.
  • Free Throw Efficiency: Nash’s free throw percentage hovered around 90%. His clutch free throws sealed games and hearts.

7. Dale Ellis

Dale Ellis, a quiet assassin, deserves a spotlight. Here’s why:

  • Pure Stroke: Ellis had a silky release. His 3-point percentage of 40% over 17 seasons is a testament to his consistency.
  • 1989 Three-Point Contest Champion: Ellis won the NBA Three-Point Contest in 1989, showcasing his prowess on the grand stage.
  • Seattle Supersonic Legacy: Ellis left an indelible mark with the Seattle SuperSonics. His jersey hangs in the rafters, a tribute to his shooting artistry.

8. Peja Stojaković

Peja Stojaković, the Serbian sniper, graced the NBA with his elegance:

  • Sacramento Sharpshooter: Stojaković’s tenure with the Sacramento Kings was a symphony of threes. His 3-point percentage peaked at 43.3% during his prime.
  • 2002 Three-Point Contest Champion: Stojaković’s victory in the 2002 Three-Point Contest showcased his metronomic shooting rhythm.
  • Championship Contributor: Stojaković played a pivotal role in the Dallas Mavericks’ 2011 NBA championship run. His timely shots were instrumental.

9. Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki, the 7-foot German, redefined the power forward position. His shooting touch was ethereal:

  • Unicorn with a Jumper: Nowitzki’s fadeaway jumper was unguardable. His 38% career 3-point shooting belied his size.
  • 2007 NBA Finals MVP: Nowitzki’s heroics in the 2007 NBA Finals propelled the Dallas Mavericks to their first championship. His clutch shooting was the cornerstone.
  • Legacy of Excellence: Nowitzki’s influence extends beyond the court. He inspired a generation of big men to embrace the perimeter.
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