The 10 Best Three-Point Shooting Big Men in NBA History

Shane FraserContributor IIINovember 29, 2011

The 10 Best Three-Point Shooting Big Men in NBA History

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    There are three positions in basketball that are designated for long-range shooting: point guard, shooting guard and small forward. The players that are assigned to these positions are usually strong three-point shooters and plays are made in order for these players to execute that big shot.

    That leaves two positions on a team: power forward and center. The players that are assigned to these positions are usually the tallest players on the court and use their size to play the short-range game.

    Because these players are generally more valuable playing close to the basket, it is extremely rare to see one who can execute a three-point shot with the ease of a guard or small forward.

    Here are 10 players who defy the notion that big men can’t shoot threes.

    Note: Only players with a listed height of 6' 11" or taller are included in this list.

10. Kevin Garnett

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    6' 11", 253 pounds

    3-Point Field Goals Made (Career): 168, 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (Career): .282, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Season High): 37, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Game High): 3 (4 Times)

    KG can do everything on the court, and hitting clutch threes are no exception (see video).

    Garnett has scored his fair share of three pointers in his career, especially with the Timberwolves, going 37 for 116 as a 6-foot 11-inch power forward in 2001-02.

    As one of only a few big men in history who were proficient from beyond the arc, the future Hall of Famer has solidified himself as one of the most complete players the NBA has ever seen.  

9. Brad Miller

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    7' 0", 261 pounds

    3-Point Field Goals Made (Career): 194, 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (Career):.326,3-Point Field Goals Made (Season High): 40, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Game High): 4 (3 Times)

    Brad Miller is a center with a talent for the long-range shots.

    He has scored 20-plus three pointers in a season five times and has twice had a three-point percentage of .400 or more. Miller also finished with an incredible three-point field goal percentage of .714 in the 2009 playoffs.

8. Charlie Villanueva

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    6' 11", 232 pounds

    3-Point Field Goals Made (Career): 467, 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (Career): .346, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Season High): 125, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Game High): 7 (twice)

    Charlie V is one of the best outside-shooting big men in the NBA today, and has been for the last six years.

    His best shooting year came last year for the Pistons, as he made 125 threes and finished with a .387 percentage.

7. Arvydas Sabonis

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    7' 3", 279 pounds

    3-Point Field Goals Made (Career): 136, 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (Career): .328, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Season High): 49, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Game High): 3 (4 Times)

    Sabonis is a European basketball legend who joined the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA in 1995 at the age of 31. Since his debut, there has not been a player in the league over seven feet tall with the all-around shooting ability that Sabonis had.

    He shot 50 percent from the field, 33 percent from the arc and 79 percent from the line during his NBA career, which was outstanding considering his size.

    Had he entered the NBA many years earlier, many experts conclude that he would have been one of the greatest of all-time.  

6. Bill Laimbeer

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    6' 11", 245 pounds

    3-Point Field Goals Made (Career): 202, 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (Career): .326, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Season High): 57, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Game High): 5

    Bill Laimbeer is considered by many to be the first center in NBA history who was a formidable three-point shooter.

    The long-time Piston helped the team win two championships during his career. He hit 15 three pointers in each championship run, leading the team in 1989 and finishing second in 1990.

5. Andrea Bargnani

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    7' 0", 250 pounds

    3-Point Field Goals Made (Career): 507, 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (Career): .371, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Season High): 121, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Game High): 5 (10 times)

    At only 26 years of age, Bargnani has already established himself as one of the tallest prolific three-point shooters in NBA history.

    He has consistently scored at least 75 threes and shot 34 percent in every year of his career, and has taken over as Toronto's most valuable player since Bosh's departure. 

4. Mehmet Okur

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    6' 11", 265 pounds

    3-Point Field Goals Made (Career): 573, 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (Career): .377, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Season High): 129, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Game High): 6

    Mehmet Okur has one of the best three-point percentages of any power forward/center in NBA history.

    He ranks 100th all-time for any position in career three-point percentage and in 2008-09, made 45 percent of the long-range shots he took to finish sixth in the league.

    Okur is also the first Turkish player in history to play in an NBA All-Star game.

3. Troy Murphy

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    6' 11", 245 pounds

    3-Point Field Goals Made (Career): 574, 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (Career): .389, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Season High): 161, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Game High): 7

    Even more effective at three-point shooting than Okur is Troy Murphy, who has one of the highest three-point percentages of the last decade.

    Murphy is 60th all-time in career three-point percentage and made 45 percent of his long-range shots in 2008-09, to finish third in the league. 

    Also, his 161 three pointers made that same year is the second highest total ever by a big man. 

2. Channing Frye

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    6' 11", 245 pounds

    3-Point Field Goals Made (Career): 363, 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (Career): .403, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Season High): 172, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Game High): 9

    Although he's only had six years of NBA experience, Channing Frye is already one of the most competent three-point shooters to ever set foot in the league.

    After four mediocre seasons where he was unable to harness his long-range shooting ability, he was traded to Phoenix where he blossomed into one of the best shooters in the league.

    Frye finished with 172 and 171 three pointers in his first two years with the Suns, ranking fourth in the league both years. His .439 three-point percentage last year ranked sixth in the league and his .403 career percentage ranks 25th all-time.

    He leads all power forwards and centers in NBA history for most three pointers made in a season, best career three-point percentage and most three pointers made in one game. 

1. Dirk Nowitzki

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    7' 0", 245 pounds

    3-Point Field Goals Made (Career): 1,197, 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (Career): .381, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Season High): 151, 3-Point Field Goals Made (Game High): 8

    Could it be anyone else?

    Dirk has combined size, skill and long-range effectiveness to become one of the greatest players in NBA history.

    He ranks 39th all-time in career regular season three-point field goals made and 24th all-time in career playoffs three-point field goals made. He is by far the highest ranking power forward, center or seven footer for that matter in each statistical category.

    Nowitzki also won an NBA All-Star Weekend Three-Point Shootout in 2006, the only power forward or center to do so.

    After leading the Mavericks to an NBA championship last season, Dirk has proven that he still has lots left in the tank and will keep climbing the ladder in three-point supremacy.    

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