Recently, an incredible video of Steph Curry making 103 threes in a row went viral. Which made me wonder: Is Steph Curry the best 3-point shooter of all time? And who else is on the list?
I was especially curious, considering how important the three-pointer is in today’s league where almost 40% of all shots are from deep!
So I went to basketball-reference.com and got the data of every shot ever made in the NBA (up until the 2019-20 season) and did some digging to find out!
NBA 3-Point Shooting Scatter Chart
The chart below shows every shooter in NBA history who made more than 200 threes in their careers.
The x-Axis represents the number of made three-pointers while the y-Axis represents their 3-point percentage. So better shooters will be displayed in the top-right, inaccurate, low-volume shooters while be drawn in the bottom left.
As we can see there are a lot of players in NBA history bunched together with a three-point percentage of around 35% (the average 3-point percentage in NBA history is 35.12%) and around 200-600 made threes.
But some players clearly stand out:
Charles Barkley’s three-point shot seems to be about as accurate as his golf swing: In fact, he ranks second to last in percentage among all players that made more than 200
Kobe Bryant will be remembered as one of the best basketball players of all time, but not because of his 3-point shot. While he made 1827 treys during his career (ranking in the top-20) he only made a below-average 32.9% of them.
Lebron James is another player who made a lot of threes in his career (1875) while shooting a slightly below average 34.4%.
Top 10 3-Point Shooters in NBA History
Since we are on a website called “The Hoops Geek”, I went into full geek mode and came up with a formula to rank 3-point shooters. My goal with the Hoops Geek 3-Point Rating is to rank players using a combination of accuracy (3P%) and volume.
To give you an idea of how the scale works: A player shooting the highest percentage while also making the most 3-pointers in NBA history would get the perfect 100% rating. The worst shooter of all-time would be close to 0%.
10. J.J. Redick
His best 3-point shooting season was 2015-16 when he shot an incredible 47.5% on 5.6 attempts a game for the Los Angeles Clippers.
His career 41.6% 3-point percentage is even more impressive considering that he isn’t known for shooting wide-open 3-pointers but takes a lot of difficult shots coming off of multiple screens with a super-fast release.
9. Klay Thompson
He is part of the Golden State Warriors “Splash Brothers” (together with Steph Curry) and set a new record for most threes in a game when he made 14-24 shots from beyond the arc against the Chicago Bulls in 2018.
To round out his resume as one of the best 3-point shooters of all time he won the NBA All-Star 3-point contest in 2015-16.
8. Reggie Miller
He also has one of the most memorable games in NBA history when he scored 8 points in the last 8.9 seconds in an astonishing comeback victory against the New York Knicks.
There’s even an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary made by director (and huge Knicks fan) Spike Lee about the torture Reggie Miller used to inflict on New York.
7. Seth Curry
He made this list not because he has made so many three-pointers in his career but because of his insane accuracy: he’s shooting 44.3% from deep which ranks him #2 in 3-point percentage among players who made more than 200 threes in their career.
He is also having a very good start to the 2020/21 season playing for the Philadelphia 76ers. Expect him to rise the ranking even further in the next years!
6. Hubert Davis
Hubert Davis is probably the least-known name on this list. He was drafted in 1992 by the New York Knicks coming out of UNC. He played his first 4 seasons with the Knicks before spending time with the Toronto Raptors, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons, and New Jersey Nets before retiring in 2004.
He posts a 44.1% career 3-point percentage which ranks him third all-time. He participated in the tree-pint contest three times but never managed to win it.
5. Steve Nash
As a pure point guard, his first instinct was to set up his teammates for open shots or easy dunks. That makes it even more impressive that he made 1685 3-pointers with an elite 42.8% 3-point percentage!
The Phonix Suns never won it all, losing against some of the best teams of all time like the Spurs or Lakers. Rewatching games, Steve Nash actually said that he wished that he had shot more and been a little more selfish during his playing career – he could have been #1 on this list!
4. Steve Kerr
He played during the ’90s when shooting threes was not nearly as common as today and averaged only 1.8 3-point attempts per game which explains the relatively low overall number of made threes. Compared to this era it’s hard to understand why he didn’t shoot more – Steph Curry took 11.7 3-point attempts a game in 2018-19!
Today, Steve Kerr is best known for coaching the Golden State Warriors. But before that, he was famous for being a sharpshooter for Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and Tim Duncan’s San Antonio Spurs winning five championships.
The most famous moment of his playing career is undoubtedly when he nailed an open jumper assisted by a double-teamed Michael Jordan to clinch the 1997 NBA championship.
3. Ray Allen
He played in the NBA for 18 years for the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat, made the All-Star team 10 times, and was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2018.
He is most famous for hitting a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of game 6 of the 2013 NBA finals after an offensive rebound by Chris Bosh to tie the game, eventually stealing the NBA title from the San Antonio Spurs.
2. Kyle Korver
Today, Kyle Korver ranks #2 on this list thanks to his elite 3-point percentage (42.7%) while shooting a LOT of threes during his NBA career (ranking #4 at 2450 made threes) – not bad for a guy who was “traded for a copy machine”!
He made the NBA All-Star team in 2015 with the 60-22 Atlanta Hawks and played in the 2017 and 2018 NBA finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers alongside Lebron James (losing both times to the Golden State Warriors).
1. Steph Curry
Steve Kerr could only dream of shooting off the dribble or pulling up from the logo like Steph Curry does almost every game!
At the end of the 2019-20 season ranked #3 in all-time made threes at 2495, but I have very little doubt that he will be #1 soon setting a record that will be hard to beat for future generations!