When comparing modern basketball to earlier eras shooting is the most notable difference due to player ability. The days of relying on a dominant post player or inside presence are long gone. You can argue all day long about the best era of basketball, but the progression of shooting styles is beyond dispute.
Due to the jump shot, the game is now played at a faster pace with a greater emphasis on skill and spacing. All-time 3-point leader Steph Curry has had a greater impact on the development of shooting than legends like Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki.
These are the top 10 Shooters of All Time.
1. Steph Curry
Steph Curry is widely regarded as “the greatest shooter in the history of the game” after shattering every 3-point shooting record ever recorded. His long-range shooting prowess revolutionized the sport and influenced the growth of grassroots basketball.
He defies every shooting statistic, especially efficiency. Inside the three-point line his floaters and midrange game share the same penetrating touch. The only thing that makes sense about Steph is that she is the best shooter.
2. Klay Thompson
The jump shot that Klay Thompson has developed is among the most beautiful in the NBA. Klay Thompson is one of the most feared shooters in NBA history thanks to his textbook form, release and quick trigger; if not for Stephen Curry, he might even be considered the best shooter of his generation, if not all time.
Klay has made a record-tying 14 three-pointers in a single game and he has had two other games in which he made 12 threes.
And his deadly shooting has shown up in crucial moments in the playoffs, with him becoming known for big-time Game 6 performances, the most notable of which was Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals against the Thunder, in which he drained 11 3-pointers, the second-most ever in a playoff game.
3. Ray Allen
Until the Splash Brothers arrived on the scene, Ray Allen reigned supreme from beyond the arc. Today’s NBA fans may only recall Ray Allen as the Heat’s 3-point specialist or as the third member of Boston’s Big 3, but Allen was much more than a shooter for the vast majority of his career.
Simply put, he had a reputation for being a phenomenal scorer who could put points up from anywhere on the court. He was able to retool and keep contributing to the group well into his senior years. One of the most beautiful jumpers in NBA history, Ray Allen shot 40% from deep for his career and never had a season where he shot below 35%.
4. Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller, the game’s first 3-point shooting king is often overlooked when discussing the sport’s all-time greats. Miller’s career average of 4.7 shots per game will seem low when compared to the current crop of players who shoot at a higher clip and off the dribble more often.
But there can be no doubt that he is still considered a top shooting talent. His ability to get his shot off from a wide variety of angles and with a high degree of difficulty coming off screens contributed to his 10 seasons of shooting at least 40% from beyond the arc.
Given the league’s current shooting emphasis, it’s reasonable to speculate that Miller would have made even more three-pointers had he played in the NBA today. He is still one of the best shooters in the game’s history.
5. Kevin Durant
The combination of Kevin Durant’s size, athleticism and skill makes him one of the most unguardable players in NBA history. But if we look at him through the lens of a shooter, he is among the best we have ever seen. He has one of the NBA’s quickest releases on a jump shot despite his 6’10 (or possibly 7′) height.
With his iconic pull-up 3-pointers against LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals, Durant established himself as one of the league’s best marksmen from deep in addition to being one of the most efficient and lethal midrange shooters in NBA history.
In light of his career’s 38.3% 3-point percentage and the fear he inspires in opponents from anywhere on the court, he deserves to be on this list. Among the best midrange scorers in league annals his greatness cannot be overlooked.
6. Larry Bird
The fact that Bird shoots the fewest 3-pointers per game on this list doesn’t reflect poorly on his skill. The time period in which Bird thrived did not place a premium on long-range shooting, but he was still one of the best shooters of his day.
He didn’t get to shoot seven or eight 3-pointers a night like today’s stars, but his effectiveness in small doses was there because the league was designed to play more inside-out than spread out like it is today. Bird won the NBA 3-point contest and shot at least 40% from deep for six consecutive seasons.
7. Damian Lillard
When it comes to 3-point shooting in the NBA playoffs, Damian Lillard has done something that Steph Curry has never been able to do: make 10 or more 3-pointers. Dame has accomplished this twice, and he currently holds the record for most three-pointers made in a playoff game.
Even though Dame was selected for the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team his shooting prowess isn’t given the credit it clearly deserves. When it comes to putting the ball in the basket, he is in a class by himself. Without a shadow of a doubt, he is the second-best shooter among point guards behind only Steph.
Although Dame may not be as efficient as Steph or Klay, he may have the greatest range we’ve ever seen.
8. Dirk Nowitzki
When it comes to making 3-pointers, Dirk Nowitzki is unmatched. Despite the fact that Kevin Durant and, of course, Steph Curry get most of the credit for changing the game, Dirk is arguably just as influential.
Dirk made his name in the midrange and beyond the arc during an era when most players at his position were post-threats, thanks in large part to his unguardable fadeaway.
9. Steve Nash
Steve Nash is the poster boy for effectiveness. Nash’s contributions to Mike D’Antoni’s “7 Seconds or Less” offense helped him win two MVP awards. During the years 2005-2010, Nash recorded four 50-40-90 seasons. Had he made his free throws at a 90% clip in each of those years, he would have had five consecutive 50-40-90 campaigns.
Despite the fact that many people believe Nash did not deserve the MVP awards he received, his shooting ability on the court cannot be denied. While Nash’s shooting volume may not match that of the other players on this list, his shooting accuracy at all three levels is unmatched. In terms of free throw percentage, Nash is second all-time only to Steph Curry.
10. Kyrie Irving
Including Kyrie Irving on this list may seem absurd and he may even come across as being included just for shock value, but there is a compelling case to be made for him being considered one of the greatest shooters of all time.
Kyrie averages over 39 percent from the 3-point range over the course of his career and has posted a career line of 50-40-90. As was previously mentioned, “shooting” refers to more than just how well you shoot the ball from any distance.
Although Kyle Korver, J.J. Redick and Steve Kerr have legitimate claims to this spot, Kyrie is so much more than just a 3-point shooter. It’s important to take into account his range, his ability to shoot off the dribble and the difficulty of his shots.
His midrange wizardry is something we don’t see from the other 3-point specialists, but he also has a 3-point contest trophy if that matters to you. Kyrie can score 50 points without even entering the paint thanks to his incredible layup package.
There are no better shooters than the top 10. Our expectation is that you will find this post to be of interest. You must tell us your response in the comments. If you’re interested in reading more about this kind of thing, be sure to save venturejolt.com to your bookmarks.