Since the 1979-80 NBA season, the three-point line has been a part of the game. From that year on players have attempted the long range shot to earn an extra point. Through the years, there have been a few that were able to knock it down more consistently than others, and these players earned cliche nicknames like sharpshooter, knockdown shooter and zone buster.
However, this list isn’t about those players. This is a list for the select few that laugh at others who have to toe the line in order to drain threes. This is a list for the players who can make shots from deeper than 23 feet, nine inches, and make it look easy.
I compiled a list of the 20 players who showcased the deepest shooting range I’ve ever seen. There may be better three-point shooters than the guys on this list, but no better players at making the long ball.
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20. JASON TERRY
Jason Terry is a player known as much for his antics on the court as his skill. His “Jet” celebration is one fans either love or hate. But he has known to take a few deep threes in his time as well, especially during his years as a sixth man for the Dallas Mavericks. His play was key when the Mavs went on their championship run in 2011.
(Jason Terry 2010-11 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
19. RASHEED WALLACE
Rasheed Wallace was a very colorful character during his time as an NBA player; he constantly got under referees’ skin and even helped champion the now famous phrase “ball don’t lie.” One thing ‘Sheed always brought to the court was the ability to knock down threesâ€”even with his off hand at times. Wallace’s shooting helped him stay in the league up until last season, where he played 21 games with the Knicks. Now as an assistant coach with the Pistons, maybe he and Billups will be able to help newcomer Josh Smith fix his jump shot.
(Rasheed Wallace 2005-06 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
18. JASON WILLIAMS
Jason Williams had swag before the word was even formed by pop culture. Williams had the ball on a string at all times and made it do whatever he wanted it to. White Chocolate was way before his time and had enough tricks to fake out even the best of defenders — word to Gary Payton. However, his handle wasn’t the only thing he was renown for. His ability to knock down threes from as deep as he chose was something fans loved, but coaches hated.
(Jason Williams 2000-01 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
17. DELL CURRY
Stephen Curry got it from his pops; Dell Curry was hurrying three after three in the league before Steph could walk or talk. He made shots from anywhere on the court. Curry was a shooting specialist and turned his ability to make jumpers into a 16-year career.
(Dell Curry 2000-01 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
16. DIRK NOWITZKI
Stretch fours are all the rage in today’s NBA and teams have even started to play small ball more often as well. Dirk Nowitzki should be thanked for this transition. Nowitzki is the greatest shooting seven-footer to ever step onto a basketball court. Nowitzki is butter from just about any spot on the court and his one leg fadeaway is unstoppable. Though Nowitzki has started playing more in the post of late, he still will hit the occasional 25-plus foot three.
(Dirk Nowitzki 2011-12 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
15. KLAY THOMPSON
One part of the Mark Jackson claimed “best-shooting backcourt” in NBA history. During his first two seasons in the league, Thompson has shown the ability to make shots and with his 6-7 frame, he’s capable of rising up and knocking down shots over almost every other guard. Curls and pin downs are his specialty, but he can step back a few feet and still showcase a feathery touch.
(Klay Thompson 2012-13 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
14. REGGIE MILLER
Reggie Miller has many timeless examples of ridiculous three-point bombs during his career. Though his form isn’t picture perfect (like Ray Allen), he still got results (second all time in made threes). Miller also has been able to use his range in the biggest moments, stepping up in clutch moment after clutch moment to drill deep shots.
(Reggie Miller 2003-04 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
13. KOBE BRYANT
Kobe Bryant is the definition of a scorer. Give the Black Mamba the ball and space and he will find a way to get the ball in the hole… even if it’s over two defenders. Bryant has never been known as a three-point shooter, but through the years he made his fair share of 27-foot shots with relative ease.
(Kobe Bryant 2012-13 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
12. CHRIS MULLIN
Chris Mullin is a player often forgotten when people begin to recount the best shooters in NBA history; names like Allen, Miller and Larry Bird often trump Mullin’s. Yet, if you never witnessed Mullin as a member of RUN TMC with the Golden State Warriors, you just don’t know how deadly Mullin was.
11. CARMELO ANTHONY
Carmelo Anthony is one of the best scorers in the NBA; his ability to get the ball through the hoop makes his play look effortless at times. Fresh off winning his first scoring title — after averaging 28.7 PPG — ‘Melo is still as lethal as ever. With the way the Knicks play, there are many opportunities for Anthony to let it fly from deep and let it fly he has.
(Carmelo Anthony 2012-13 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Referemce.com)
10. MARK PRICE
Mark Price was Stephen Curry before Stephen Curry: a small (6-0) and skinny (170 pounds) guard from a lesser school who was best known for his shooting ability. And just like Curry after him, Price put all the doubters to rest and proved he had the skill and talent to not only stick in the league but to be a star as well.
9. RAY ALLEN
Ray Allen is the greatest shooter of all time, especially from deep. While Danny Green and Steph Curry erased his name off a few records this year, Allen still holds many, including the most made and attempted three-pointers in NBA history. And while his most famous three of late was from the short corner, he can extend as far as he wants and drill it.
(Ray Allen 2012-13 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
8. CHAUNCEY BILLUPS
Chauncey “Mr. Big Shot” Billups didn’t get the nickname Mr. Big Shot for no reason. During his seven-year run with the Pistons, Billups made some crucial shots that keyed Detroit’s success. These shots came from a variety of places, but one spot in particular that Billups always felt comfortable was from deep behind the arc. He routinely would come down court and drill 25-footers if the defender sank back off him.
(Chauncey Billups 2004-05 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
7. DENNIS SCOTT
Dennis Scott knew his role and played it to perfection. He was part of the talented Orlando Magic teams of the early mid-90s and with players like Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway and Nick Anderson on the roster, all Scott needed to do was shoot. He shot so well that he earned the nickname 3D. A career 39.7 percent shooter from beyond the arc, deep range was not a problem for Scott.
6. VINCE CARTER
Vince Carter is well known by most for his high-flying ability. His elite athleticism was showcased during his 15 seasons in the NBA (many big men have ended up on posters courtesy of Carter). However, when VC wasn’t taking the ball to the hoop he would be letting it rip from a few feet behind the three-point line. Now that age has slowed him down, you don’t see Carter putting up as many threes than before, but though his legs don’t let him jump as high as he once did, they’re still good enough to let him splash 26-foot jumpers.
(Vince Carter 2006-07 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
5. J.R. SMITH
Smith has developed the reputation of a gunner during his tenure in the NBA and his questionable shot selection is mostly to blame. However, if Smith is shooting from 25-plus feet, the ball often finds the bottom of the net.
(JR Smith 2012-13 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
4. JAMAL CRAWFORD
Jamal Crawford is the closest thing to a streetball player in then NBA since the likes of Rafer “Skip 2 My Lou” Alston and Jason “White Chocolate” Williams graced the court. Crawford plays the game with a seemingly reckless abandonment, but he is never out of control. His handle is second to none and maybe even the most entertaining in the league today. He also isn’t afraid to shoot from wherever he is on the court; especially if he’s hot.
(Jamal Crawford 2012-13 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
3. GLEN RICE
Glen Rice is another player forgotten by time. As a member of the Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets, Rice had classic duels against many of the other upper-tier players: 34 points vs. Penny’s Magic, 31 points vs. Jordan’s Bulls, 40 points vs. Hakeem‘s Rockets, 32 points vs. Shaq and Kobe’s Lakers, 42 points vs. Alonzo Mourning and Tim Hardaway‘s Heat, and 40 points vs. Iverson‘s Sixers.
2. GILBERT ARENAS
Gilbert Arenas had a stretch of about three years (from 2004 to 2007) where he was capable of making just about any shot he took no matter where from. He hit game-winner after game-winner from deep, even as far as 30 feet out.
(Gilbert Arenas 2006-07 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
1. STEPHEN CURRY
Like father, like son the saying goes and for Steph Curry, the proverbial apple didn’t fall too far from the tree… fresh off setting the record for most made threes in a season with 272. If you have any question about his range just ask the New York Knicks about him. His 54-point performance (and 11 triples) at the Garden was one for the ages. He showed off the stroke even more during his breakout emergence in the 2013 NBA Playoffs.
(Stephen Curry 2012-13 Heat Map courtesy of: Basketball-Reference.com)
Which NBA players had the deepest range?
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