J.R. Smith Says He’s “On Pace” To Be Among Best Shooters Ever; He’s Right

J.R. Smith doesn’t need to tell us that he has an inflated sense of his abilities. That’s been obvious since the talented but wildly inconsistent shooting guard was drafted as an 18 year-old high school graduate in 2004. It takes a “special” mindset to be an effective gunner, basically. Smith has it in spades, and his latest antics on Instagram are just further confirmation of that fact.

Two days ago, the mercurial New York Knicks wing took to social media for some mostly undeniable boasts. No, we’re not sure how the photo matches the caption provided, either.

They said I wouldn’t make it! I did! They said I wouldn’t stay! This is my 11th yr! They said you can’t shoot like that in the league! I’m on pace to be one of the best shooters the game had ever seen! Bottom line what yall say don’t me sh@$ What I do says everything! #Gone

The incendiary portion of Smith’s post is the contention that he’s “on pace to be one of the best shooters the game had (sic) ever seen!” Immediately chastised by every bored internet tough guy who doubles as a basketball fan, he then provided evidence supporting that belief.

Men lie women lie but….

That’s a screenshot of where Smith ranks historically among made three-pointers. Just below Mitch Richmond, a Hall of Fame inductee earlier this month, is hardly a bad spot for the 28 year-old. But does having knocked down the 30th-most treys of all-time really deem Smith “on pace” to be one of the greatest shooters ever?

Yes, actually.

Smith will play the 2014-2015 season as a 29 year-old. He’s among 15 players of the top 30 in made three-pointers that are still active, and the youngest of the bunch to boot. Given that Smith has attempted 7.1 shots from beyond the arc per 36-minutes in his career and connected at a 37.1 percent clip in his career, we can project approximately how many three-pointers he’ll have compiled once he finally hangs up his Nike KDs.

We’ll stay conservative with our predictions for the remainder of Smith’s career. Assuming he plays seven more seasons averaging 24 minutes per game while maintaining the three-point rate and marksmanship he’s established thus far, Smith will make 999 more three-pointers before retirement. But that number was compiled by expecting him to play full 82-game campaigns; considering he’s yet to take the court in every game of each season of his 10-year career, it’s certainly unlikely he’ll beat that trend as he ages. Smith has averaged 69 games per season so far, and that’s including an injury-riddled 35 games he played during the lockout year of 2011-2012. The final verdict on remaining games left in Smith’s career: 462, or 66 games in each of the next seven seasons.

Without further ado, we project Smith to connect on a 803 additional three-pointers throughout the remainder of his playing days. His final number of made treys? 2,115, a mark that would place him third all-time behind Ray Allen and Reggie Miller. And again, that calculation was compiled using relatively conservative estimates.

It might seem crazy, but Smith is right – the stats say he’ll go down as one of the most prolific long-range shooters ever. And while some of that is due to the modern era’s reliance on three-pointers, much of it is due to his indisputable talent, too.

What do you think?

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