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10 best shooters in NBA history

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There’s a difference between being a great scorer and being a great shooter. LeBron James is one of the best scorers in the game, but he isn’t a great shooter. The best shooters in NBA history were efficient from the midrange, freethrow line, and beyond the arc while having enough volume.

Best shooters in NBA history

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, two of the greatest NBA shooters ever, changed the way basketball is played. More players shoot the ball beyond the arc and more teams cater to three-point offensive schemes nowadays. Why? Because it’s simply worth three points on the scoreboard. Rather than taking a contested midrange shot, why not shoot it from beyond the arc?

Here are the best shooters in NBA history…

10. Kyle Korver

The only role player on this list, Kyle Korver is one of the purest shooters the league has ever seen. He played for 20 seasons as his elite three-point shooting was needed by a lot of teams.

Korver is currently ranked fifth all-time in total three-pointers made in the regular season with 2,450. He was a career 42% shooter from beyond the arc. His best season as a shooter was during the 2014-15 season with the Hawks when he had a 70% true shooting percentage and 49% three-point percentage. But this is not even his highest career three-point percentage. He shot even better in the 2009-10 season with the Jazz when he connected 54% of his threes.


9. Mark Price

Mark Price is one of the best shooters in NBA history for his incredible efficiency. He is one of the few players in the 50-40-90 club and even ranked third all-time in free throw percentage (90.4%).

His three-point shooting was ahead of his time as he hit 40% of his threes on just 3.4 attempts per game. Additionally, Price showcased his elite three-point shooting ability by winning back-to-back 3-point contests in 1993 and 1994.

8. Kevin Durant

There’s no denying that Kevin Durant is one of the greatest scorers ever, if not the greatest. At his size, there’s no stopping him from scoring anywhere on the court. His ballhandling and shooting ability were elite which makes him even more unstoppable. The question is: Is he a great shooter?

The answer is yes. Durant is considered one of the greatest NBA shooters ever. How many times have we witnessed him pull up and make it? When he shoots the ball, it’s close to automatic. He is a career 39% shooter from deep and 89% shooter from the free throw line which is elite considering the volume.

7. Dirk Nowitzki

Arguably the greatest shooting big man in NBA history. Dirk Nowitzki was an elite shooter for his size. How would you guard a 7-footer who can pull it up anywhere on the court and make tough fadeaways in the post?


You might answer: “Okay, let’s just foul him and let him earn it in the freethrow line.” But even if you foul him, Nowitzki will make his freethrows. He was a career 88% shooter from the charity stripe, which is elite for a big man. Nowitzki even had a 50-40-90 season in the 2006-07 regular season.

6. Larry Bird

Larry Bird played in an older era when three-pointers weren’t a norm. He had 1.9 three-point attempts per game, the lowest of any player included on this list. Despite the low volume, he displayed his three-point shooting enough to make him one of the best shooters in NBA history. The efficiency was there, as he had six seasons of shooting at least 40% from beyond the arc.

His shooting brilliance was evident in anecdotes from different players in the NBA. The most notable one was during the 1988 three-point contest. Before the event, he walked into the locker room and asked the other participants asked: “Who’s coming in second?”. He proceeded to win the three-point contest while wearing his warm-up jacket.

5. Steve Nash

Widely regarded as of the greatest point guards of all time, Steve Nash was a high-efficiency player during his time. Many fans disagree about his two MVPs but you can’t deny his ability shooting the ball. He had four straight 50-40-90 seasons in the late 2000s which showed his elite shooting ability from anywhere on the court. Nash also ranks second all-time in free throw percentage behind Steph Curry.

When it comes to three-point shooting, Nash’s volume wasn’t huge compared to some players on this list (3.2 three-point attempts per game). And that’s understandable since he was primarily a playmaker rather than a shooter. It’s still a great feat since there have been only a few players in NBA history who display a higher accuracy rate. Just imagine if he shot more.

4. Klay Thompson

When you search for Steph Curry records, Klay Thomspon will always be in the conversation. Why? Because these two constantly break the three-point records.

Thomspon owns the record for most three-pointers in a single game (14 threes against the Bulls in 2018), breaking Steph Curry’s record of 13. What’s great about this performance is that he did this in 29 minutes. Just imagine if Chicago wasn’t blown out that game. Apart from this performance, Thompson also holds two games with at least 12 three-pointers in the regular season.

His hot shooting has also been evident in the postseason. One of his most notable performances is when he drained 11 threes in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals against the Thunder, the second-most ever in a postseason game. He was called “Game 6 Klay” after this game.

3. Reggie Miller

Reggie Miller was ahead of his time in the 90s. He played in an era where shooting threes with great volume was not a norm yet. He only had 4.7 three-point attempts per game. If he was playing in today’s game, there’s no doubt that he would be higher on this list.

Even with a low volume, Miller showed his elite three-point shooting. He was fourth all-time in total three-pointers made in the regular season with 2,560 threes. He also shot the three-ball well, connecting on 40% from beyond the arc in 18 seasons.

What fans will always remember about him is the fact that he was a fierce competitor and trashtalker. He wasn’t afraid of facing Michael Jordan or hearing boos from the crowd. Rather, he fed from their energy.

2. Ray Allen

Ray Allen is one of the best shooters in NBA history. In fact, he was widely regarded as the greatest shooter before Stephen Curry happened. Throughout his 19-year career, he made 2,973 three-pointers, which is second all-time in total three-pointers made in the regular season. He connected on 40% of his 5.7 three-point attempts per game in his career.

What’s great about Allen’s numbers was the fact that he wasn’t the main guy on the Celtics and the Heat. Later in his career, he just became a three-point specialist for both of these teams. The volume is there, but not the freedom that Curry has today. Imagine the damage he might have done if he was given more freedom in handling and shooting the ball.

Still, he was an elite scorer with the ability to shoot from anywhere on the court. He had one of the wettest jumpers in the league and he was automatic from anywhere on the court. With his ultra-quick release, it didn’t matter if there was someone closing out.

1. Stephen Curry

There’s no denying that Stephen Curry is the greatest shooter of all time. Curry earned this title when he surpassed Ray Allen’s previous record of 2,873 in 2021 to become the all-time leader in total three-pointers made in the regular season. Curry also holds the record for most three-pointers made in a single season with 402 (he also won unanimous MVP that season).

Up to this date, he still continues to break his own record every game he steps on the court. At the end of the 2022-23 regular season, Curry has a total of 3,390 threes made.

Curry was also efficient at shooting the ball from beyond the arc, making 43% of his nine three-point attempts in his career. Whether off the dribble or off the catch, it doesn’t matter, he is still going to make it. It’s crazy to see that he makes some of the most impossible and ridiculous threes. That just shows how his three-point shooting is a tier above anyone else in NBA history.

Apart from threes, Curry is also the best shooter from the charity stripe. He’s currently ranked first all-time in free throw percentage, shooting nearly 91% from the free throw line.

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