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NBA: 6 Smoothest Shooting Big Men

Jeremy GottliebContributor IJanuary 16, 2017

NBA: 6 Smoothest Shooting Big Men

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    Gone are the days of the dominant NBA post big man.

    Sure, there are still plenty of guys who can score from the block. But as the league gets more athletic and wider open, the need for your big man to be able to hit from downtown becomes greater and greater.

    It's unlikely that we'll be seeing the next coming of guys like Shaq, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon any time soon. Instead, we have 7-footers shooting threes, burying jumpers and featuring a mid-range game as the focal point of their offensive games.

    So, here's a look at some of those sweet-shooting big men. The best of the smoothest, if you will.

Dirk Nowitzki

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    Considered in several circles as the greatest shooting big man of all time, Nowitzki is a 7-footer who can drain long jumpers with the skill and ease of most NBA 2s and 3s.

    Despite his height, Nowitzki has done the majority of his offensive damage from the perimeter throughout the course of his Hall of Fame career.

    But look at his shooting percentages, and you'll just assume he's a typical post player.

    Nowitzki is a career 47.5 percent shooter with a career high of 51.7 percent in 2010-2011, the Mavs' championship season. His career mark from long distance is 38 percent, a solid number for a player his size.

    82games.com notes that last season, of Nowitzki's 1,034 field goal attempts, 89 percent of them were jump shots. This statistic makes his shooting percentage from the floor even more impressive.

    He may be getting older, but it's still pretty tough to find a big man in the NBA who's a better shooter than Dirk.

Kevin Love

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    In 2010, Love, a rugged rebounder and huge interior presence for the T'Wolves, added the 3-point shot to his already impressive arsenal on offense.

    Love took 211 shots from long distance two years ago, over 100 more than he'd taken in either of his first two seasons in the league.

    And wouldn't you know, he was pretty good at it.

    He connected on 88 of those 211 attempts, good for a 41.7 percent mark, a number you don't usually see on the stat lines of many 6'10", 260 lb. power forwards.

    Love grew so confident in his outside shooting ability that he ramped up his attempts to 282 last year. His percentage dropped a bit (37.2 percent) but he made more (105).

    Oh yeah, he also won this past year's 3-point shootout.

    The former lottery pick out of UCLA was a 45 percent shooter overall last season, but thanks to his increased proficiency from deep his effective field goal percentage clocked in at 49.7 according to teamrankings.com.

    Already on the verge of being a dominant post player before adding the outside jumper to his repertoire, Love became an even more dangerous player—one of the most dangerous in the NBA.

Andrea Bargnani

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    The former No. 1 overall pick from Italy, Bargnani is a big man who prefers the perimeter.

    NBApostup.com posted a scouting report on the Toronto Raptors forward which refers to him as "an adept jump shooter with unlimited range," and that he "prefers 15-18 feet though can be expected to shoot over 37.5 percent from outside."

    Bargnani's effective field goal percentage has dropped over the past two seasons from his career high of 52.3 in 2009-2010. But he's still hit on 541 3-pointers over the course of his six-year NBA career.

    He also has enough quickness to put the ball on the floor and beat most 4s that check him, making his prowess from the outside even more of a factor. If Bargnani's man is going to get up in his face to challenge the potential of him firing away, there's a fair chance he will simply blow right by him.

    There's a reason the Raptors made this guy the first player drafted back in 2006.

    It's his shooting.

Ersan Ilyasova

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    Almost out of nowhere, Ilyasova transformed himself into a legitimate outside threat for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2012. 

    The 6'10", 235 lb. power forward from Turkey shot 49. 2 percent from the floor last year, nearly five percentage points higher than in any other season in his career. Furthermore, he connected on 45.5 percent of his 3-point attempts and posted an effective field goal percentage of 53.5—also a career high.

    Ilyasova recently re-upped with the Bucks to the tune of five years and $45 million, no doubt in some part due to his shooting explosion and finishing second in the Most Improved Player voting this past year. 

    It remains to be seen whether he can continue to shoot so efficiently from deep. If he does, he will be a bargain as well as one of the most dangerous players on the Bucks' roster.

Chris Bosh

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    Celtics fans have to get a little chunky in the gullet area when they see this name. After all, it was Bosh unexpectedly hitting on three of four bombs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals that helped seal the Celts' fate.

    Bosh has never been a particularly adept 3-point shooter, making just 66 in his career at a 29 percent clip. But he's always been a very solid mid-range threat. 82games.com tells us that 63 percent of his 14.2 field goal attempts per game are jumpers and that his effective field goal percentage is a tidy 49.7.

    It's likely that with the additions of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, the champion Heat will look to play Bosh on the post a bit more. No longer will he be needed to provide a perimeter threat to spread out the floor with those kinds of marksmen on the roster.

    But it must be comforting for coach Erik Spoelstra to know that his All-Star big man can step out and score from mid to long range.

Kevin Garnett

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    This past season, as KG turned back the clock and put up his best single season performance since the Celtics championship run in 2008, he did a majority of his damage on offense from the perimeter.

    According to 82games.com, 81 percent of Garnett's 777 field goal attempts were jumpers. He excelled from 15-20 feet; there were stretches of games when the thought of him missing was unfathomable.

    Given Garnett's advanced age, the fact that he's turned himself into a superior jump shooter is a huge plus. He can still score on the block, but his aptitude in hitting from outside will likely continue to save him some wear and tear as he progresses through the three-year deal he just signed with the C's that will take him to the end of his career.

    Now that the Celts have a guy who can score inside in Jared Sullinger, that may well open up some room for Garnett to spend more time floating, rolling off picks and getting open looks mid ranger to the perimeter.

    If the Celts are going to make another run, his continued proficiency as a shooter will come in very handy.

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