When talking about the best mid-range shooters in NBA history, names like Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant come to mind.
But perhaps nobody is better in the middle than the GOAT himself, Michael Jordan. He’s not only the most active from that range, but he’s also one of the most efficient.
Of the 59 NBA players who attempted at least 300 midrange shots that season (1996-97), Jordan ranked third in overall efficiency, hitting 49.5% on over 1,100 tries. Only Chris Mullin and Vinny Del Negro were more accurate. Reggie Miller, commonly regarded as the finest shooter of that era, made 42.4% of his 484 midrange shots that season. Yep, Miller attempted 484 while Jordan made 547.
Jordan ranked first in midrange scoring and third in efficiency despite his midrange game requiring him to take numerous impossible shots against the league’s top defenders on a nightly basis. With all due respect to Mullin and Del Negro, they were not the centerpiece of every opponent’s game plan. They were not the focus of all the eyeballs in every arena.
During that stretch, he was just on another level.
Despite a reputation for not being a jump shooter, he used the mid-range quite frequently and was darn good at hitting his shots there.
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) April 16, 2020
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So, while Jordan’s shooting wasn’t as noticeable as his high-flying dunks or circus layups, it was a shot that he mastered almost just as much.
The guy was an expert at the game, in more ways than one — and yes, that includes those mid-range jumpers, turnaround fadeaways, and stepback buckets.