Shot Charts for NBA's Top 3-Point Assassins

Jared WadeContributor IJanuary 4, 2013

Shot Charts for NBA's Top 3-Point Assassins

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    Chicks dig the long ball. These days, so do coaches, and a quick way to make an NBA rotation is to be one of the league leaders in three-point percentage.

    Remarkably, three New York Knicks—Jason Kidd, Steve Novak and Carmelo Anthony—are shooting better than 42 percent from behind the arc. So too are Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs and Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks.

    But no one in that group has shot quite well enough to be among the true elite, however. 

    Here, we look at where the NBA's five best long-range snipers have made their shots in 2012-13.

    (This list only includes qualified leaders. Players have traditionally needed to make at least 55 three-pointers in a season to be considered as qualified leaders at the end of the season. Current requirements are pro-rated for the number of games played thus far. All shot charts courtesy of NBA.com.)

5. Kevin Martin

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    Say what you want about the Oklahoma City Thunder's decision to trade James Harden, but you can't say they haven't gotten what they hoped for in Kevin Martin.

    He is having by far his best shooting season from behind the arc. Only twice in his nine-year career has he previously eclipsed 40 percent. This year, at 45.0 percent, he is blowing his previous high, 41.5 percent, out of the water.

    Unfortunately, his uncanny ability to get to the line hasn't been there this season. His 4.1 free-throw attempts per game is well below his 6.5 career average.

    He is still leading the league in free-throw shooting percentage, however, which has led to Martin posting a career-high .630 true shooting percentage (field-goal percentage adjusted to include three-pointers and free throws), according to Basketball-Reference.com.

4. Ray Allen

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    If this was 1997, Ray Allen might ask the struggling Boston Celtics, "How do you like them apples?"

    Coincidentally enough, the same year that Good Will Hunting hit theaters was the year Allen finished his rookie season in the NBA—and he lit up the league.

    Even as a wide-eyed first-year player, he shot 39.3 percent from three-point range, while he, Vin Baker and Glenn Robinson struggled to help the Milwaukee Bucks win 33 games.

    Now, 16 years later, Ray is shooting even better.

    His talent, his consistency and his commitment to staying in amazing shape are truly unbelievable.

    His role has diminished, and the 3.9 threes he is putting up per night in Miami are his lowest total since that 1996-97 season, but he is scorching the net at a 45.6 percent clip.

    Not bad for a 37-year-old.

3. Stephen Curry

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    Stephen Curry was the third-best three-point shooter in the NBA last season. This year, he is also third.

    That type of consistency has to make his dad, former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry, proud.

    Despite the fact that two players have shot better, nobody has been more impressive than Steph. His 6.7 three-point attempts per game are the most of any of the league's top 10 scorers, and only three players in the league (Ryan Anderson, Nic Batum and Curry's teammate Klay Thompson) take more three-pointers than he does.

    Usually the more you shoot, the harder it is to make a high percentage.

    Not for Curry, and never has this been more apparent than it was Wednesday night. As his Golden State Warriors blew out the Los Angeles Clippers, Steph scored 25 first-half points and made six of eight three-pointers.

    While that sounds amazing, it was just another day at the office for Curry.

    That was the third time since December 19 that he had hit at least six treys in a game.

2. O.J. Mayo

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    Since taking his talents to Dallas, O.J. Mayo has shot out of his mind. He is the biggest surprise in the top five, and while that is cause for celebration, it also doesn't bode well for him keeping it up.

    That's because his career rates suggest that a drop-off is inevitable.

    In fact, it has already begun. 

    Mayo hit 58 of his first 111 attempts from deep during his first 20 games this season. That is an other-worldly 52.3 percent.

    Since then, however, he has hit just 20 of 59 shots, good for 33.9 percent.

    His career average from three-point range? 38.5 percent.

    He may yet end the season above 40 percent. But even with a big head start, he seems unlikely to finish the season as the league's second-best long-range assassin.

1. Matt Bonner

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    Compared to the rest of the top five, Matt Bonner doesn't shoot a lot of threes. But when he does, they usually go in.

    Even with a dreadful 0-of-5 performance from behind the arc Thursday night against the New York Knicks, Bonner still leads the league in accuracy. After all, he'd made eight of his previous 11 attempts.

    We will see if Bonner's current reign on top continues. Thursday night's misses dropped him from 52.9 percent on the season all the way to 48.2 percent.

    That's what happens when you only play 11 minutes per game and have attempted just 56 threes on the year.

    That is still good enough for him to be a qualified leader, however, so he remains the top dog—for now.

    But last year's leader, Steve Novak, shot 47.2 percent from three-point range, so Bonner can't fall too much further if he wants to remain in the pole position.