We are seemingly stuck in the three-point era of basketball, where teams and players want to hoist up as many good-quality threes as possible. Rather than focusing on the post and feeding big men or taking mid-range jumpers, the analytics of the game has convinced almost every NBA coach that 3 points are worth more than 2 points and that shooting 40% from three is far more effective than shooting 50% from two. Hence, shooters have the green light whenever they have a great look from the perimeter, which is why teams are so keen to take outside jumpers.
Especially with the likes of the Stephen Curry-led Golden State Warriors and the James Harden-led Houston Rockets changing the game in recent years, the three-point shot is here to stay. That does not only remain the case in the regular season, as teams and players are hoisting up a ton of three-pointers in the NBA playoffs as well. But the three-point has been created since the 1980 season, and there have been some elite shooters in NBA history that took advantage of the rule change, including the likes of Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr among others. Making three-pointers in the postseason, especially these days, is a critical part of a team’s success and that will likely never change.
When looking throughout NBA history, who is the best 3-point shooter in NBA playoff history? Stephen Curry is regarded as the best 3-point shooter ever, but does he hold the record for the most three-pointers in a playoff career? Some names on this list might surprise you, but there will be some names that will occupy the top spots on here as well. Here is the ultimate list of the NBA's best shooters from deep over their playoff careers:
20. Kawhi Leonard - 228
228 3PM - 572 3PA (39.9%)
Mainly known as one of the best defensive wings in NBA history, Kawhi Leonard is an elite shooter from beyond and that is proven by the fact that he is already top-20 all time by the age of 30. The superstar small forward blossomed as a go-to scorer during his stint with the San Antonio Spurs and has carried that role over his career stops with the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Clippers.
Leonard is shooting 39.9% from deep over his playoff career while attempting around four threes per game, resulting in around two makes. Thanks to his efficiency and ability to shoot over defenders, Kawhi will keep climbing the list as long as he can stay healthy.
19. Chris Paul - 235
235 3PM - 626 3PA (37.5%)
Chris Paul is one of the most consistent shooters in playoff history, even if he has yet to experience winning an NBA Finals or appearing in more than one Finals appearance. The superstar point guard has had a long career that spans 16 years, and he has made the playoffs 14 times.
As a member of the Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul has always managed to help contending teams improve on both ends of the floor. Armed with an excellent jump shot, Paul has made 235 total three-pointers in his playoff career and he will likely climb the list even more once he returns to the postseason next year.
18. Jason Kidd - 236
236 3PM - 733 3PA (32.2%)
Jason Kidd is the epitome of an ultimate professional who wanted to be the best player he could possibly be because the point guard had to develop an outside shot to stay in the league for as long as he did. Starting out his career as a triple-double threat and playmaker, Kidd developed a consistent 3-point jump shot that ultimately helped the Dallas Mavericks win a championship when the point guard was 37 years old.
Kidd does not have a very high percentage at 32.2%, but from age 33 until 37, when he won the title, the point guard shot over 40% three times and shot 37.4% during the 2011 championship season. Kidd’s immediate improvement as a shooter from the 2006 season (30.0%) to the 2007 season (42.0%) was a reason he appears on the list despite being a non-shooter.
17. Kyle Korver - 254
254 3PM - 649 3PA (39.1%)
One of the best catch-and-shoot players in NBA history, Kyle Korver played as long as he did because of his elite marksmanship. Korver was not blessed with elite athleticism or a natural all-around game, but he was given the gift of shooting the basketball. That is why Korver ranks 5th all-time in 3-pointers made in the regular season.
But in the playoffs, Korver made a ton of three-pointers mainly as a member of the Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, and Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyle could be trusted to nail his open shots, and also come off screens for great looks. Shooting 39.1% from the three-point line, Korver is one of the most respected shooters of all time.
16. Paul George - 258
258 3PM - 734 3PA (35.1%)
Paul George has been an All-Star since the 2013 season when he was 22 years old. The two-way swingman does a lot of great things on the court, which is why he should be destined for the Hall of Fame if he continued to add All-Star, All-NBA, and All-Defensive selections to his resume. But he is also an excellent three-point shooter from the wing.
PG13 has made a total of 258 three-pointers in his playoff career and has a legitimate chance to get closer to the top-10 spot by the end of next year. The swingman has an average of 35.1% from deep, taking an average of 6 three-pointers per game. While his efficiency does not leap out at you, George has shot over 40% in the playoffs three times and will always be a threat from deep.
15. Robert Horry - 261
261 3PM - 728 3PA (35.9%)
Known as Big Shot Bob, Robert Horry was one of the most clutch role players in NBA history. Horry was not an All-Star by any means, but there is a reason why he has 7 NBA championships to his name. Teams wanted him to play in the big moments, because he would do the little things to make the difference, including nailing three-pointers.
Horry is ranked 15th all-time in threes made, something very impressive considering he has not played in a playoff game since 2008. Completing 7 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, 5 with the San Antonio Spurs, and 4 seasons with the Houston Rockets, Robert Horry has averaged 35.9% from deep and made 261 three-pointers, many of which came in crunch time.
14. Chauncey Billups - 267
267 3PM - 729 3PA (36.6%)
Mr. Big Shot himself, Chauncey Billups, established himself as an elite point guard and shooter by the time the 2003 season rolled over because he was also trusted to make big shots and improve a team with his presence. Joining up with the Pistons in 2003, life was changed in Detroit because of Billups; the impact would be felt almost immediately.
Chauncey would lead the Pistons to the NBA title in 2004, shooting 34.6% from deep and also averaged 16.4 PPG and 5.9 APG during the playoffs. The two-way point guard was consistent from deep, averaging a career 36.6% from deep and he made 267 threes as a result. Billups has since retired following the 2013 season.
13. Paul Pierce - 276
276 3PM - 777 3PA (35.5%)
One of the greatest and most consistent scorers for the Boston Celtics, Paul Pierce, was an elite three-point shooter over his career. The three-point shot wasn’t as valued when The Truth played as it is today, but Pierce still made 276 three-pointers over his career. In terms of most threes made for a career in the regular season, Pierce is tied for 9th with Damian Lillard all-time.
Paul was not a spot-up shooter by nature, but he was effective at placing himself in positions to score. Normally defended tightly, Pierce was also effective at creating his own shots and his step-back jumper was slow but impactful. Overall, The Truth is ranked 13th all-time in playoff threes made.
12. Derek Fisher - 285
285 3PM - 715 3PA (39.9%)
One of the most clutch role players ever, Derek Fisher built a career playing alongside Kobe Bryant for the Los Angeles Lakers. The point guard was a stout defender, strong floor general, and a consistent jump shooter. A fan favorite in the city of Los Angeles, Fisher had a knack for making big shots at the right time for his team.
Fisher made 285 playoff threes, and many might forget that a veteran version of Fisher made big threes as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder between the ages of 37 and 39. Even though Derek was not considered an elite athlete or creative scorer, his consistency from the three-point line must be respected.
11. Kobe Bryant - 292
292 3PM - 882 3PA (33.1%)
An all-time great scorer, Kobe Bryant had a knack for going off from three in the playoffs. After all, this is the same Bryant that once made 12 three-pointers in one game, tied for 3rd all-time. Bryant was not considered an elite three-point shooter, but that was mainly because he was defended by one or two players extremely tightly.
Kobe still drained 292 threes, ranked 11th all-time, with his final playoff game coming during the 2012 season. The legendary Lakers guard had a long postseason career, spanning 15 seasons, and even if the three-point shot wasn’t valued when Kobe played, he still made a ton of them.
10. J.R. Smith - 294
294 3PM - 801 3PA (36.7%)
The meme legend himself, J. R. Smith, has to be respected as an effective outside shooter. Somehow, Smith had a knack for making the toughest shots look so easy, and his confidence was invaluable for teams such as the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers benefitted the most from Smith’s shooting, as they would win the 2016 title with him as the starting shooting guard.
Smith made 294 playoff threes, an incredible number for a streaky shooter. J.R. holds a career average of 36.7% from deep, and had his best postseason during the 2016 Finals run when he drained 65 threes in 151 attempts. Good for 43.0%, Smith was a critical part of the 2016 team.
9. Danny Green - 314
314 3PM - 807 3PA (38.9%)
Danny Green gets a ton of flack for being as streaky as they come, but there is no doubt he is an accomplished role player who brings it on both ends of the floor. Green made a name for himself as a defensive wing for the San Antonio Spurs and would play similar roles for the championship Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers.
Green had a tendency to get hot, as evidenced by his 9 makes against the Miami Heat in 2021. In the postseason, Green has made 7 threes on three separate occasions, as a member of the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers. Averaging a career 38.9%, Green has made 314 three-pointers.
8. Reggie Miller - 320
320 3PM - 820 3PA (39.0%)
One of the most clutch shooters in NBA history, Reggie Miller, was also considered the best three-point shooter in NBA history until Ray Allen and Stephen Curry came along. Miller had a knack for making contested threes, and open shots would almost always swish through the net. In 144 playoff games, Miller made 320 three-point shots, which was good for 2 makes per game.
Had Reggie played in today’s game, he would have had more than double the number of makes he has, at least. He was a natural sharpshooter, a reason why he averaged 39.0% from three despite averaging 5.7 threes per game over his career. Miller should have taken at least 10 threes per game over his career because he was that elite as a shooter.
7. Manu Ginobili - 324
324 3PM - 905 3PA (35.8%)
A San Antonio Spurs legend, Manu Ginobili established himself as the third option for most of his career behind Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. The shooting guard was capable of making his shots from anywhere, but he was a very solid three-point shooter. In 218 playoff games, he started only 53 and still made 324 three-pointers.
Manu sacrificed a lot of individual accolades for the sake of winning championships with the Spurs, but his 4 rings speak for themselves. Manu attempted 4.2 threes per game on average, resulting in 1.5 makes per game over his postseason career. For a playoff career that spanned 15 years, Ginobili was as consistent as they came.
6. Kevin Durant - 344
344 3PM - 966 3PA (35.6%)
An elite marksman and arguably a top-5 scoring talent ever, Kevin Durant unsurprisingly appears on this list as one of the top three-point shooters ever. KD has been a steady playoff presence since the 2010 season, and his three-point shooting has been consistent. KD has shot over 40% from three during 3 postseasons and holds a career average of 35.6% from deep.
A two-time champion and two-time Finals MVP, Durant found the most success with the superteam Golden State Warriors and he shot a career-best 44.2% from three during the 2017 playoff run. Playing alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson certainly helped those numbers, but KD nonetheless is ranked 6th all-time in threes made behind one legend and four current stars.
5. James Harden - 369
369 3PM - 1,102 3PA (33.5%)
James Harden employs a three-point heavy playing style, and he makes no apologies about it. He revolutionized the step-back three-pointer because other players have begun adopting the move, including superstar Luka Doncic. The Beard has taken a ton of three-pointers over his career, a reason why he will appear on most lists that involve shooting.
Harden has made 369 threes over his postseason career, in an incredible 1,102 attempts. While some critics will consider that a negative because Harden has yet to win an NBA championship, there is no question that this type of usage has taken the shooting guard’s PPG averages up over the past few years. Shooting a career 33.5% from three in the postseason, Harden will probably continue taking as many outside shots as possible until the day he retires.
4. Ray Allen - 385
383 3PM - 959 3PA (40.1%)
The man to first pass Reggie Miller on the all-time three-pointers made list, Ray Allen is one of the best shooters in NBA history, and there is no denying that. Allen ranks 2nd all-time in most threes made in the regular season, and also 4th most in the postseason. The Hall of Fame shooting guard has made 385 threes in the postseason, holding a career average of 40.1%.
Allen made 9 three-pointers in a single postseason game on two different occasions, one coming when the star played for the Milwaukee Bucks and the other with the Boston Celtics. Allen has shot over 40% in the postseason on four separate occasions, with his best postseasons coming in 2001 (47.9% 3-PT FG in 18 games) and 2011 with Boston (57.1% 3-PT FG in 9 games).
3. Klay Thompson - 423
423 3PM - 1,029 3PA (41.1%)
No surprise, one half of the Splash Brothers appears in the top-3. Thanks to the three-point shot, Klay Thompson is one of the most invaluable players in the world. His shooting has to be praised, because other than Stephen Curry, no player can get as hot as quickly from deep. Klay has made 423 threes in the postseason in 8 years, holding an impressive 41.1% 3-PT FG.
Thompson once hit an unbelievable 11 three-pointers in a single playoff game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference Finals and also hit 9 threes in the playoffs against the Houston Rockets in 2018. Klay is impossible to stop when he gets going, and he will continue climbing the list over the next few years.
2. LeBron James - 432
432 3PM - 1,283 3PA (33.7%)
It might be shocking to see LeBron James, an inconsistent shooter, to say the least, appear among the top-two playoff three-point shooters of all time. But looking beyond shooting percentages, LeBron’s ranking comes as a testament to his willingness to revolutionize his game as he continues to take advantage of his legendary longevity.
The King has played in 15 postseasons so far in his career, averaging 33.7% from deep, and making an impressive 432 threes. While Klay Thompson will likely pass him at some point, it is extremely impressive to see James continue to make his outside shots as he has shot at least 37.0% from deep over the last two postseasons.
1. Stephen Curry - 528
528 3PM - 1,322 3PA (39.9%)
The greatest shooter of all time, Stephen Curry, has changed the game for good. Every team in the NBA wants to shoot three-pointers, and there isn’t a team that does not live and die by the outside shot. No matter how hard any player tries, he will not be able to usurp what Steph does from the three-point line. In 8 postseasons, Curry has made an unbelievable 528 threes on 39.9% shooting.
Curry has the ultimate green light because he has terrorized three-pointers with his shooting since he became a superstar in 2015. Curry has made at 9 three-pointers on two different occasions in the playoffs and has attempted an incredible 1,322 threes. Steph is 34 and has at least a few more years to compete as an elite shooter, so his all-rime record will likely stand.