Your team is down by one and has the ball with 10 seconds left. Who do you want to take the last shot?
Your team is up by two with five seconds remaining. Who do you want to get fouled and sink two free throws to ice the game?
Your team is down by three and needs a three-pointer to tie. Who do you want to shoot the three?
One final question: Who would you rate as the greatest “pure shooters” in the NBA playoffs during the three-point era?
I know, a lot of questions to answer. But here’s a little help. To try to answer the last question of the greatest “pure shooters” in the NBA playoffs in the three-point era, I established a few guidelines. First, a player had to have played in 40 or more playoff games in his career. Secondly, to qualify for the best “pure shooter” label, a player had to have a career playoff shooting percentage of .450 in field goals, .300 in three-point attempts, and a .850 free-throw percentage.
Here are the players who qualified for the list (minimum of 40 shots attempted in each category to qualify)
Player, playoff games, FG pct/3-pt pct/FT pct
Larry Bird, 164, .472/.321/.890
Jeff Hornacek, 140, .470/.433/.886
Dirk Nowitzki, 128, .463/.380/.893
John Paxson, 119, .494/.369/.867
Steve Nash, 118, .473/.409/.899
Ray Allen, 113, .453/.415/.893
Joe Dumars, 112, .462/.358/.855
Ricky Pierce, 97, .466/.355/.866
Antonio Daniels, 80/.461/.353/.863
Hersey Hawkins, 74, .455/.396/.907
Chris Mullin, 71, .495/.409/.859
Kiki Vandeweghe, 68, .510/.345/.907
Mark Price, 47, .464/.337/.944
If we use these same criteria for this year’s playoffs and drop the minimum attempts to 10, we have only two players who qualify as the best “pure shooters” in this year’s playoffs. They are:
Chris Paul, 5 games, .469/.389/.882
James Harden, 4 games, .500/.462/.871
What do you think?
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