If you can shoot, you can play. Although we see dozens of players each year who fail to make it to the next level because of their inability to develop an all-around game, those who are great shooters, despite their lack of skill in other areas, can earn millions of dollars, fame, and most importantly, longevity in their professional basketball careers. Time and time again, those who struggle to defend or fail to develop into good passers but can consistently connect on long-range shots will somehow, someway sneak their way onto an NBA roster spot and remain.
In honor of the Thursday night’s draft this week, we rank the 10 best shooters that the 2014 class has to offer.
10. P.J. Hairston, D-League
The only player on this list with professional experience, Hairston excelled in the NBA Developmental League this past season with the Texas Legends after struggling at North Carolina. The 21-year-old shot 35.8 percent from three-point range and has shown the ability to knock down extremely tough shots. He should make for a nice fit in a high-tempo offense.
9. DeAndre Daniels, Connecticut
As Daniels’ NBA stock improved throughout UConn’s postseason run, so did his jumper. After failing to shoot at least 31 percent from three-point range in his first two college seasons, the forward developed a reliable shot as a junior, knocking down career-highs from the field (46.9 percent) and from beyond the arc (41.7 percent). Significantly upgrading his game allowed him to make the leap to the NBA, and his shot – once a weakness – is now one of his prominent strengths.
8. Joe Harris, Virginia
Joe Harris’ two biggest assets heading into the draft are his willingness to move without the ball and to, well, shoot the ball once he finally gets hold of it. 31.8 percent of his offensive possessions – which ranked top ten in the nation this past season – had him utilizing screens to get open. When receiving the ball, Harris did not disappoint as he hit 40 percent of shots from beyond the arc for his career.
7. Travis Bader, Oakland
We had the pleasure of witnessing Bader’s pure jumper as he became the NCAA’s all-time leading three-point shooter during his senior season, finishing with 504 makes from beyond the arc. He might not, however, get the opportunity to feature his awesome ability at the next level. Due to a lack of size and athleticism, the 22-year-old is not a lock to be selected on Thursday or even make an NBA team.
6. Andre Dawkins, Duke
Although Dawkins failed to live up to expectations in Durham throughout his overall disappointing college career, he excelled in the one category that has kept his NBA chances alive: three-point shooting. The 22-year-old hit 40.7 percent of his long-range shots and has shown the ability to catch fire and hold onto it for extended periods of time.
5. C.J. Wilcox, Washington
At 6-5, Wilcox can play as a true 2-guard and certainly has the shot to show for it. He connected on 39.1 percent of his shots from beyond the arc in his senior season, never shot lower than 36 percent throughout his career and finished it with more than 300 total made triples. While he is athletic with an impressive wingspan, it is his gift of shooting that will keep him in the league.
4. Jabari Brown, Missouri
After he abruptly left the Oregon program as a freshman, Brown started anew at Missouri and flourished in two seasons. He shot 41 percent from three-point range this past year, averaging 19.9 points per game and transforming himself into one of the most prolific shot-makers we had in college basketball. He can catch-and-shoot, create off the dribble and knock down tough jumpers.
3. Rodney Hood, Duke
At 6-8, Hood disrupts defensive schemes by stretching the floor and shooting from the outside. In his one season as a Blue Devil, he made 42 percent of his three-point attempts and 43 percent of his pull-up jumpers, per Draft Express. Aside from making shots, Hood has quality ball-control and is not afraid to take it to the rim.
2. Nik Stauskas, Michigan
The reigning Big Ten Player of the Year has the chance to become one of the league’s elite shooters. In two seasons at Michigan, Stauskas drained at least 40 percent of his attempts from three-point range, knocking down 172 treys in the 75 career. The 20 year-old can create his own shot, catch-and-shoot at an extremely high-level and drill deep three-pointers.
He can also do this, which is pretty cool.
1. Doug McDermott, Creighton
Scoring 3,150 points in four years should mean you can also shoot the ball, right? Right. McDermott had one of the best collegiate careers in the history of NCAA, winning awards galore and breaking numerous records. A lot of this can be attributed to his quick and fluid shooting delivery, unlimited range and overall offensive skill-set. Though he may not be an NBA superstar, McDermott should manage to have a long and successful career in the Association.
Who is the best shooter in the 2014 NBA Draft class?
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