The Lineup #6: Best NBA “GAME” Shooters Ever

Posted: February 11, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NBA
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Last night one of the great shooters in NBA history, Ray Allen, broke the league’s record for most three pointers made in a career. Without a doubt, Allen is one of the great marksmen in NBA history & now sits comfortably on top of career list for what should be the forseable future. With him continuing to shoot away for a few more years, he’ll stretch the distance out between the competition, with the closest active to him being Jason Kidd, who is well into the decline of his playing days, sitting 800 3’s behind the now runner up, Reggie Miller.

This achievement made me think about the history of the game & it’s significance. There have been a lot of great marksmen over the years. Guys that can hit a variety of great shots, and are legendary scorers because of it. However, who are the best of the best at pulling up for the bonus point? Not just the guys who are put in the game to chuck the 3 ball & that’s it, but the guys who are in the starting five and can really knock it down while clocking starter minutes. 

Looking at the names for this list, I had to think about a whole plethora of shooters & scorers. You’d be a fool to not consider Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant & Allen Iverson as among the great shooters in the game, those guys fill up the sheet from outside the rim better than nearly anyone to do it. But while they could knock down the 3 (and Kobe even shares the single-game record for doing it with 12), that’s not WHAT they do, but what they can do. If this was just a pure scorers list, they’d each be in the top five easy.

This list is about the most consistently accurate & natural shooters from deep ever. In undertaking this convo, it is important to consider the “what if” factor as well, as some of the game’s greatest shooters never benefitted from the three point line, which debuted during the 1979-80 season. So many of their shots counted for less than they would now, despite them still launching them. They will be considered too, and what their potential could have been.

Here are the CHEAP SEAT’s honorees as the best “GAME” distance shooters of all-time:

10. Steve Nash: The two-time MVP gets much deserved respect for his uncanny play creating, but he is also among the best deep shooters of all-time. He’s 9th in career 3’s landed and has hit at a 43% clip for his career. His ability to stop at full speed and sink the deep ball is second to none in the game currently.

9. Mitch Richmond: He played on some some bad squads in his career, which was based in Sacramento & Golden State mostly, but he was one of the most feared scorers in the game still, while everybody in the gym knew who, and how, he was gonna make his money. Shot 45% from the field for his career.

Mitch Richmond

8. Drazen Petrovic: One of the biggest, and most tragic, “what if” stories in sports history. Before he was killed in car accident in 1993, the 6’5 guard had the best shot not only in the NBA, but in international play as well. For the Nets he hit on 44% of his threes & over 50% of his shots overall, before even seeing his prime.

7. Dirk Nowitzki: In keep with the international flavor, Dirk stands in as the best international shooter ever. Standing at seven feet, he revolutionized what tall shooters can do, while still being the only one that can do it. Has hit 37% of his threes over his career & connected on 41% during his MVP run in ’06-’07.

6. Dale Ellis: He is remembered mostly for being the best off the bench gun in league history for the Nuggets, Spurs, Bucks & Mavs, but he did his most devastating work during his first tour with Seattle. Ellis was no more devastating than in 1988-89, when he started all 82 games and hit on an amazing 47% of his three’s, in route to a 27.5 points a night. Currently is tied for the 4th most 3’s in history with 1,719.

5. Larry Bird

Larry Bird
Bird needs no introduction. His legend looms larger than anybody before, or after, on this list. He connected on 649 threes in his career, which places him at 129th all-time, well after many of the great shooters in league history.

However, it’s not that he’s overrated as a deep shooter, more so it’s because he simply didn’t have to take a ton of them because he could score so easily from so many other places. Don’t under sell his total, as he hit 37% for his career & was highlighted by a four-year stretch of connecting on over 40% from ’85-’88.

4. Glen Rice: Even in the one of the deepest talent pools in league history in the mid-90’s, Rice could make claim to being top gun. Across his entire 15-year career, he only connected on less than 38% of his deep balls ONCE. That’s outstanding considering he play at least 77 games a season from 1989 to 1998. That’s devastating consistency.

3. Jerry West

Jerry West
What couldve been in this case is scary. Jerry West, who played his entire career as a jump shooting two guard, scored 25,192 points while averaging 27 points across his 14-year career, while never shooting one three pointer. Well, that’s not completely true, because he shot them, they just all counted as two regardless.

As a 47% shooter for his career, what The Logo could have done with the extra stripe could still have him amongst the top three scorers in league history more than 30 years after he took his last shot.

2. Ray Allen: As mentioned earlier, Ray is the standard bearer in three pointers landed. Across his career he has netted .398% of threes he’s attempted. That’s saying something because he’s taken the second most ever. He is far more from just a shooter, despite having the best shooting form of anybody to ever pick up a ball. He is one of the most slept on scorers of any era, and is finally getting his due. A sure fire Hall of Famer long before he hit his record 2,561st bomb.

1. Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller
If Reggie Miller’s role in the game is marginalized by the fact he doesn’t have the three point record any longer, then clearly whoever condemns him never saw him shoot. Flat out, there is no better in-game long distance shooter than him ever.

Miller was an assassin, and was the focus of the entire opposition’s defense every time out. He was the game’s best shooter in an era where he matched up against the greatest guard play in NBA history. He landed .395% of his threes for his career, and in his prime from 1994 to 2000, he only didn’t shoot 40% from behind the line once.

Do I think Ray Allen is a better player, with a more complete resume? Yes, I do. However, what separates Reggie from him, and always will, is that Reggie walked on the floor with a much bigger target on him than Ray ever has, and he still lived up to nearly ever moment as the main attraction.

And that makes him the G.O.A.T. of all “GAME” shooters in my book.A look at the top 10 best in-game distance shooters of all-time. More than just the numbers, here’s who has “it”.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ask Her Meyer, Matt Whitener. Matt Whitener said: The Lineup #6: Best NBA "GAME" Shooters Ever […]

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