NBA Power Rankings: Larry Bird and the Greatest Shooter in Each Team's History
Every great team has an excellent shooter or two to complement the big men upfront.
Whether it be a deadly long-range shooter or someone who can create his own shot off the dribble against good defense, shooting is an important part of a winning team.
Many players can score with consistency, but being able to shoot well from the outside consistently is much more difficult.
Great shooters like Reggie Miller inspired the great shooters of today, like Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics.
All of these great shooters are players to model your game after, and I encourage you to look up videos of how they shot and how they shot the same way each time.
Shooting in your own form over and over again makes you more comfortable with your shot, and the repetitiveness helps you as well.
Now let's look at each NBA team's best shooter ever.
Follow Nicholas Goss on Twitter (@NicholasGoss35), he is a B/R FC and a Boston Globe correspondent
Boston Celtics: Larry Bird
Larry Bird is the greatest shooter in the history of the Boston Celtics. Although Ray Allen is an excellent shooter, Bird’s resume is too glaring to ignore.
Bird was a tremendous three-point shooter in an era where the three-point shot was a back-breaker to a team.
With the game on the line, Bird would make the killer three and put the nail in the coffin. He was the most clutch player of the 1980’s.
Bird could shoot well from anywhere on the floor and even scored over 30 points in a game using just his left hand to prove a point.
New York Knicks: Allan Houston
Allan Houston was a big reason for the New York Knicks' success in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
Houston was a tremendous outside shooter but could also shoot off the dribble.
Houston was a big part of the Knicks' 1999 Eastern Conference championship team, who were the first team ever to make the finals as a No. 8 seed.
Houston was a great shooter until a number of injuries hurt his career, but he was still the best Knick shooter ever.
New Jersey Nets: Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd was a great point guard for the Nets, helping them reach the NBA Finals twice in the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
He was also also a great shooter and scorer for the Nets. Kidd carried a decent burden of the offensive needs of New Jersey.
Kidd was a solid three-point shooter and was not a liability from the perimeter.
Toronto Raptors: Damon Stoudemire
Damon Stoudemire was the first franchise player for the Toronto Raptors and was a great shooter for Canada’s only NBA team.
Stoudemire was a great three-point shooter and could also shoot off the dribble well.
Twice he averaged over 19 points per game on the season for the Raptors.
Philadelphia 76ers: Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson is the greatest offensive player in the history of the Philadelphia 76ers.
That’s quite an achievement with so many great Sixers players like Dr. J, Charles Barkley and Andrew Toney.
Iverson was a pure scorer, and was a deadly shooter in every way.
He could shoot threes well, shoot over taller defenders by creating space with his great crossover and shoot off balance.
A.I. was an amazing shooter and scored over 20,000 career points.
Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan had many role players step up big time in crucial playoff moments.
Shooters like John Paxson, Craig Hodges and Steve Kerr made important shots that were crucial to the Bulls’ six championship teams.
But Jordan was the best shooter in Bulls history.
Jordan could step back beyond the three-point line and shoot a three-pointer whenever he wanted, and he could also shoot in any other way with epic success.
Jordan is one of the top three shooters in NBA history and has so many iconic moments that ended with him shooting a game winner.
So many defining moments of his career ended in a big shot, and kids everywhere went into their backyards trying to mimic his shooting prowess.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Mark Price
Mark Price is the best pure shooter in Cavaliers history. He is the best free throw shooter ever and was a deadly long-range scorer.
Even though LeBron James was a great talent for Cleveland, Price was the best shooter in Cavs history.
Price remains close to the NBA today, teaching players how to become better free throw shooters during the summer.
Indiana Pacers: Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller is the obvious choice for greatest shooter in Pacers history.
Just recently, his record of most three-pointers made in a career was broken by Celtics star Ray Allen.
Miller is one of the most iconic shooters ever and has made some all time three-pointers in playoff history.
His shooting in the 1994 Eastern Conference finals vs. the New York Knicks was perhaps the greatest playoff shooting moment in playoffs history.
Detroit Pistons: Joe Dumars
Joe Dumars does not get the same fame as fellow Pistons Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, but his importance to the 1989 and 1990 championship Detroit teams was equal.
Dumars was a great shooter and scorer, and his great shooting was a primary reason that he won the 1990 NBA Finals MVP award.
Dumars played for the Pistons for over a decade and is the best Pistons player ever.
Milwaukee Bucks: Sidney Moncrief
Sidney Moncrief was one of the most underrated players of the 1980’s.
He led the Bucks to the playoffs many times in the 80’s, but unfortunately ran into the Celtics many times as well and was unable to beat Boston.
Moncrief was an unbelievable shooter and played very well often in pain due to injury. Moncrief was a warrior and excelled at outside and mid-range shooting.
Moncrief was a very, very good player and deserves to be considered as an NBA Hall of Famer.
Atlanta Hawks: Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson became the most expensive Hawks player ever last summer when he re-signed with Atlanta to a multi-year extension worth over $100 million.
He is by far the best Hawks shooter ever and is a great three-point shooter. Johnson isn’t a flashy player, but is a very calm and fundamentally sound shooter.
Joe is an excellent scorer and can shoot well from anywhere on the court.
Orlando Magic: Penny Hardaway
If not for Penny Hardaway’s many injuries that derailed his career, the Magic Johnson-like point guard would have been one of the best shooters ever.
But Penny is certainly the best Magic shooter ever and could score consistently from three-point range and in a variety of other ways.
Hardaway had a Kobe Bryant-like turnaround jumper, a great fade-away and a solid mid-range shot.
Hardaway was the most rounded shooter in Magic history and was a threat to score from anywhere on the floor.
Washington Wizards: Gilbert Arenas
Gilbert Arenas did not leave Washington on good terms, but he provided many seasons of great offensive play to excite Wizards fans.
Arenas is a very good outside shooter and can create his own shot very well. Arenas played on some talented Wizards teams and was an All-Star as well.
Miami Heat: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade is not the best three-point shooter in Miami Heat history, but he is the best overall shooter in franchise history.
Wade is an unbelievable scorer and can shoot from any angle against any defender. He is very athletic and has great reflexes.
Wade is a go to player in crunch time, and his shooting was a huge reason he dominated the Dallas Mavericks in Miami’s 2006 NBA Finals win.
Charlotte Bobcats: Stephen Jackson
The Bobcats have had a short history, but they’ve had several solid shooters help them become a formidable team.
Stephen Jackson is their best shooter now, but there are many that are close.
Jackson is a very good three-point shooter and is always a threat to score 20 per game.
Jackson is the best shooter in team history but definitely won’t be in another decade when the Bobcats establish a real history.
Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is becoming the greatest Lakers player ever, but he is already the greatest shooter in the history of the purple and gold.
Kobe is a good three-point shooter, and his offensive talents are well known to even the casual basketball fan.
Bryant’s unstoppable turnaround and great strength make him a tough player to defend for guys who are taller and stronger than him.
Golden State Warriors: Chris Mullin
Chris Mullin is one of the best long-distance shooters ever and will soon be a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Mullin was a member of the high-scoring and exciting Warriors teams of the early 1990’s, teaming with Mitch Richmond and Tim Hardaway.
Mullin was a great three-point shooter, but also excelled at free throw shooting.
Sacramento Kings: Mitch Richmond
Mitch Richmond is the best shooter in Kings history and was one of the best long distance shooters of the 1990’s.
Richmond was the Kings’ best player in the 1990’s and was a dangerous scorer. He also made the All Star team in 1997.
Richmond had a great shooting stroke and was more than just a shooting specialist. He could play defense and carry the load of being the primary offensive option.
Phoenix Suns: Dan Majerle
Dan Majerle was a great player for the Phoenix Suns in the 1990’s, teaming with Charles Barkley to help the Suns advance to the 1993 NBA Finals, where they ultimately lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
Majerle was an excellent three-point shooter and also had a nice mid-range shot.
He and Kevin Johnson gave the Suns one of the best shooting backcourts in the NBA.
Los Angeles Clippers: Corey Maggette
Corey Maggette will always be a nice third option on a playoff contending team, but in his days as a Clipper, he was the primary offensive threat.
Maggette was a tremendous shooter and scorer for the Clippers and is their best offensive player ever.
He did not have much success with the Clippers, but they did make the playoffs once in his tenure.
Maggette can shoot from anywhere on the court and is not afraid to keep shooting when he’s having a bad game.
Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki is the best shooting big man in NBA history and will find himself in the Hall of Fame soon after he retires.
Nowitzki is an excellent three-point shooter but can also post up players and shoot over them fading away with effectiveness.
He also is an excellent foul shooter for a big man as well.
Houston Rockets: Tracy McGrady
Tracy McGrady was one of the best players in the NBA in the early to mid 2000’s with the Houston Rockets and was one of the most deadly scorers.
He was a great shooter from any distance and was capable of hitting threes or driving to the basket.
He was also an All-Star starter for several seasons with Kobe on the West squad.
The Rockets title teams in 1994 and 1995 had some amazing shooters, but nobody was that far above anyone else. McGrady may be the best pure scorer in Rockets history.
New Orleans Hornets: Glen Rice (From When the Franchise Was in Charlotte)
Glen Rice never played for the New Orleans Hornets; he excelled with the Charlotte Hornets.
Rice is one of the best shooters ever with one of the smoothest shots we’ve ever seen.
Rice was a masterful shooter and one of the best three-point shooters of his generation.
During the 1997 NBA All-Star game, Rice's great shooting won him the game's MVP award, despite Michael Jordan compiling the first triple-double in All-Star history.
Rice left Charlotte and won a championship with the Lakers in the early 2000’s, but is without question the best pure shooter the Hornets franchise has ever had.
Memphis Grizzlies: Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay has become a star in Memphis and was rewarded with a max contract last summer to remain with the Grizzlies for many years to come.
Gay is an excellent shooter and is becoming a threat to contend for the scoring title for a long time.
Memphis has a short team history, so I doubt Gay will be the choice as their best shooter in 10-15 years.
San Antonio Spurs: Sean Elliott
Sean Elliott was a fantastic and underrated player for the San Antonio Spurs and helped guide them to the franchise’s first NBA Finals title in 1999.
Elliott was an excellent three-point shooter with a smooth shooting form. He was dangerous everywhere on the court and also excelled from the free throw line.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Ray Allen (From When the Franchise Was in Seattle)
The Thunder used to be the Seattle Supersonics, and with the team’s brief history in Oklahoma City, I have to choose someone from the Seattle era.
Ray Allen is the first guy that comes to mind. After replacing Sonics legend Gary Payton when the two were traded for each other, Allen became a favorite in Seattle and was immediately the team’s best player.
Allen’s work ethic is second to none, and he gets to the arena hours before the game to work on his shooting.
When he retires, he will be the best three-point shooter ever, and he just recently broke the all time three-pointers made in a career record.
Denver Nuggets: Alex English
Alex English was one of the great players in the history of the NBA who receives little attention for his achievements.
English was a great shooter for the Nuggets in the 1980’s, but his teams never enjoyed much success; just a few decent playoff runs.
However, English was one of the better scorers and shooters in league history, averaging over 20 points per game many times.
Utah Jazz: Jeff Hornacek
Jeff Hornacek wasn’t a star player for the Utah Jazz, but was an important piece for Jerry Sloan’s western champion teams of 1997 and 1998.
Hornacek’s great three-point shooting was key in the success of Karl Malone and John Stockton, who often looked for Hornacek when either of them was double-teamed.
The Jazz also benefited from Hornacek’s great foul shooting.
Portland Trailblazers: Brandon Roy
Brandon Roy is not the best Blazers scorer of all time; that’s Clyde Drexler. But he is the best overall shooter in team history.
Drexler was more of a slasher and penetrator, but Roy is a very good and smooth shooter.
Roy can shoot well from three-point range but also has an excellent step back and fade-away shot from mid-range.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Garnett
Although this may be a strange choice to some, Kevin Garnett is the best shooter in T-Wolves history.
Garnett’s ability to shoot well from outside the paint as a seven-footer began a trend in the NBA.
Today, many stars like Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan and even Dwight Howard are making or have made the outside shot an important part of their game.
Garnett’s ability to shoot well from near three-point range, and turning around fading away has made him a unique shooter for a player of his height.
Recap and Discussion
I hope you enjoyed my list. I tried to take into account the full history of each team and not just the most recent shooters who have enjoyed success.
Some teams have not had a long history, so many players could have taken the honor. In five or 10 years, the Bobcats, T-Wolves, Heat and Grizzlies could have a different player become more worthy than who I chose today.
I could not forget big men either, because in today's NBA, many big men need to be able to shoot well from the outside to be effective.
This is especially noticeable among European big men who come into the NBA with an already polished outside shot.
If you feel like I got a call totally wrong, let me know in the comment box.