In the modern NBA, three-point shooting is the most important skill for a player to have. Gone are the days of big, domineering figures being sought after for their ability to force their way into the paint. While those types of players are still important, a good three-point shooter will have more impact in today's NBA.
The emphasis on three-point shooting came into focus thanks to the rise of the Golden State Warriors dynasty. On the backs of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors were able to win 3 NBA championships and make 5 consecutive NBA Finals, while being a primarily three-point shooting team.
With shooting being of utmost importance, people try to debate who is the greatest shooter of all time. ESPN recently put out a list of the best shooters in the NBA over the last 25 years.
Steph Curry was the obvious choice to be first. Ray Allen comes behind him in second, as he is currently the all-time leader in three-pointers made. Surprisingly, they ranked Dirk Nowitzki third, ahead of Kevin Durant in fourth and Klay Thompson in fifth place. Here are the rankings below, along with their career three-point stats.
ESPN's Top 5 Shooters Of The Last 25 Years (With Stats)
1. Steph Curry - 2866/6631 Three Pointers Made (43.2%)
2. Ray Allen - 2973/7429 Three Pointers Made (40.0%)
3. Dirk Nowitzki - 1982/5210 Three Pointers Made (38.0%)
4. Kevin Durant - 1668/4346 Three Pointers Made (38.4%)
5. Klay Thompson - 1798/4291 Three Pointers Made (41.9%)
(Stats via Basketball Reference)
Curry and Allen being the top two come as no surprise. Both players are at the top of the all-time three-pointers made list. Curry is expected to surpass Allen this season. In fact, if Curry were to miss his next 500 three-pointers, he would still have a higher career percentage than Ray Allen.
Dirk's placement on the list above Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson is odd, given that he has a lower three-point percentage than both those players. In fact, many can make the argument that Klay should be higher on the list, given he has the second-best percentage on the list.
Perhaps one will wonder why Reggie Miller is not on the list. Maybe because this list is focusing on the best shooters of the last 25 years, and Reggie, unlike the top 5 on the list, was not drafted within that time period.
This list looks at some of the greatest shooters of the last 25 years. And while this list may change in the future, it still shows us some of the players who have entered the league and shot the lights out over the last quarter-century.