Ranking the Best NBA Shooters Since 2000

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2021

Ranking the Best NBA Shooters Since 2000

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    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    Stephen Curry is officially the greatest of all time.

    What became inevitable over the past few years finally happened for the Golden State Warriors star. On a mid-December day in New York, he broke the NBA's record for career three-pointers and provided the ultimate addition to his title as the greatest shooter in league history.

    Throughout the past two decades, though, which players are closest to Curry's throne? Or, perhaps better said, who did the Baby-Faced Assassin surpass along the way?

    Only production since 2000 is considered, so a 1990s marksman such as Reggie Miller is not included. The order is subjective but factors in minutes played, total scoring output, three-point percentage, three-point attempt rate and effective field-goal percentage.

10. Mike Miller

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Mike Miller bounced around the NBA during his 17-year career, making eight stops at seven different franchises. And he could always do one thing extremely well: hit threes.

    Miller knocked down 40.7 percent of his triples, which ranks 27th in league history. During the 12 seasons he attempted three-plus trifectas per game, Miller converted 40-plus percent in eight of them. He blended volume and efficiency at a terrific rate.

    In all likelihood, the strongest memory of Miller's career is when he buried seven triples in Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals. That victory sealed the Miami Heat's first title in the Big Three era of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

    Miller is 32nd all-time with 1,590 career threes.

9. JJ Redick

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    After showing off near-limitless range at Duke, JJ Redick didn't fit in the NBA perfectly. But as the league evolved from a post-centric game to a three-heavy barrage, Redick emerged as a star.

    The sharpshooter hit 41.5 percent of his career threes, which is tied for the 17th-best all-time mark. Most notably, Redick drilled a league-high 47.5 percent from downtown in 2015-16 alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin with the Los Angeles Clippers.

    Through the 2020-21 campaigns, Redick is one of only six players in NBA history with 200 three-pointers in at least four seasons. He ranks 15th on the career leaderboard with 1,950 threes.

8. Peja Stojakovic

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    Danny Moloshok/Associated Press

    Miller and Redick thrived in complementary roles for a strong majority of their careers. Peja Stojakovic was a lights-out shooter who carried a heavy share of scoring responsibilities.

    From the 2000-01 season with the Sacramento Kings until they traded him in January 2006, he averaged more than 20 points per game. Stojakovic converted more than 40 percent of his threes while attempting nearly six per contest, too.

    That combination also remained steady throughout the last five seasons of his career. Stojakovic buried 2.4 threes per game with a 40.5 percent clip from 2006-07 to 2010-11.

    Stojakovic ranks 23rd in career threes (1,760) and 43rd in three-point percentage (40.1).

7. Dirk Nowitzki

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    Joe Skipper/Associated Press

    Dirk Nowitzki revolutionized the sport.

    Before he arrived in 1998, the NBA rarely had power forwards who spaced the floor to the perimeter. Only four players who were 6'11" or tallerBrad Lohaus, Jack Sikma, Bill Lambier and Raef LaFrentzhad ever launched two-plus three-point attempts per game.

    Conversely, the 7-foot Nowitzki finished short of the mark in just two of his 21 seasons on the Dallas Mavericks. And with a 38.0 career three-point clip, he defined this evolution.

    Plus, while his fadeaway was not untouchable, it came incredibly close. Only a handful of players ever actually blocked it. For good measure, he added an 87.9 free-throw percentage, too.

    Nowitzki averaged 20.7 points in his career and remains 13th on the all-time leaderboard with 1,982 threes.

6. Kevin Durant

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    It should probably be illegal for 7-footers like Nowitzki and Kevin Durant to have this kind of shooting touch.

    Durant has weaponized mid-range jumpers in a Hall of Fame-worthy career, soaring over helpless defenders to become one of the league's best scorers ever. Through the 2020-21 season, he's a four-time scoring champion with 27.0 points per game.

    And at 33 years old, he won't be finished anytime soon.

    Durant entered the 2021-22 campaign with a sparkling 54.5 effective field-goal percentage and 88.3 free-throw percentage in his career. Additionally, he boasts a 38.4 percent mark from three-point range with the 26th-most triples (1,703) in NBA history.

5. Steve Nash

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    Paul Connors/Associated Press

    Steve Nash is most remembered for his creative passing, but the two-time league MVP doubled as an elite sniper.

    Even excluding the four pre-2000 seasons of Nash's career, he registered a scorching 56.1 effective field-goal percentage. The longtime Phoenix Suns and Mavericks guard drained 43.2 percent of his threes and 90.9 percent of his free-throw attempts.

    Nash's regret? Not shooting more.

    "I never took it to the heights that the numbers validate in today's day and age, where I probably should have shot the ball 20 times a game," he said in 2018, according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon." It probably would have made a lot more sense."

    Nevertheless, he's 11th in all-time three-point percentage (42.8) and a respectable 27th in career threes (1,685).

4. Kyle Korver

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Anyone with the nickname "Threezus" has to be included, right?

    Kyle Korver also carved out a 17-year NBA journey as a well-traveled marksman, playing for six organizations with two stops on the Utah Jazz. For his career, Korver launched a staggering 61.6 percent of his 9,277 total attempts from three-point range.

    Given that volume, it's no surprise he ranks No. 5 in NBA history with 2,450 triples. But he's also 10th in three-point percentage, holding a sensational 42.9 clip.

    Korver led the league in three-point percentage four times, including as a key member of the Atlanta Hawks in 2014-15. He earned the lone All-Star appearance of his career that season.

3. Ray Allen

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    The three-point explosion truly arrived in the late 2000s. Before then, though, Ray Allen had already become a menace.

    In 2000-01 with the Milwaukee Bucks, he became the 10th player in NBA history to make 200 threes in a season. By 2002-03, Allen earned his place as the first player to ever accomplish that in three straight years. And in 2005-06, he set the league's all-time single-season record with 269 threes.

    Allen, who celebrated NBA titles on both the Boston Celtics and the Heat, held the all-time record of 2,973 career triples until Curry surpassed the mark in 2021.

    Allen's 40.0 three-point percentage ranks 47th, which is the reason he trails the No. 2 player on the list.

2. Klay Thompson

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    Brandon Dill/Associated Press

    Knee and Achilles injuries robbed Warriors star Klay Thompson of two prime-year seasons. Although he hasn't played since the 2019 NBA Finals, he's still fully deserving of this ranking.

    In all eight healthy years, Thompson has posted a 40-plus three-point percentage. Among players with four-plus three-point attempts per game, only Curry (11) and Korver (10) have provided that blend of volume and efficiency better than Thompson.

    Seven times he's drained 200-plus threes, which only trails Curry for the most seasons ever. Thompson also holds the NBA single-game record with 14 triples.

    When he returns, Thompsonwho sports a 55.1 effective field-goal percentage for his careerwill be aiming to improve on the lists of total threes (1,798; 21st) and percentage (41.9; 14th).

1. Stephen Curry

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    The list of Curry's achievements could practically go on forever.

    Beyond the all-time recorda ridiculous flyover phrase, by the wayCurry has rewritten NBA history many times. He broke Allen's single-season threes mark in 2012-13, then broke his own record in 2014-15 and did it again in 2015-16.

    Curry was the first to make 300 threes in a season and is the only player to connect on 400. He owns five of the NBA's eight most-prolific years from the perimeter.

    Plus, he ranks seventh in NBA history with a 43.1 long-range clip. Save for his injury-shortened year in 2019-20 and the unfinished 2021-22 campaign, Curry has converted at least 41.1 percent of his threes in all 11 seasons. That is, in a word, preposterous.

    Perhaps he won't hold the title forever. But there's no question Curry will retire as the NBA's all-time greatest shooter.

                        

    Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.

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