Judging the NBA's best shooters isn't as simple as looking at the stat sheet. The league's best shooters have more to them than just efficiency. For the true fans, they know that some of their stats are skewed due to opposing teams overplaying them on the defensive end.
In general, shooting 40% from the field is considered good. We must also take into account players who shoot a high amount of three-point shots, their percentage and analyze players that self-create their shot versus being a player that is catch and shoot. That resulted in these 25 players as the best shooters for this season, who are separated by tiers. When looking at the data, only one player remains supreme on his own island.
Curry is in a league of his own. Curry leads the NBA in three-point field goals made (4.9) and attempted (11.7). He is shooting 41.6% from beyond the arc. Not only is he above the standard, but he is efficient for the number of shots he is taking. Imagine if attempts were slashed by a third, would this percentage be higher?
">January 9, 2021
What makes Curry stand out from the rest is that he is a creator. Curry doesn't rely on Andrew Wiggins or Draymond Green setting him up. Curry has no problem with creating his own shot and taking shots as deep as three steps behind the arc. No lead is safe with Curry on the floor.
Being in Tier 1 versus the super tier is not a demotion for Lillard. After all, Curry is going to go down in history as one of the greatest shooters of all time. He has earned that honor for his career achievements, especially when it comes to the postseason.
">January 31, 2021
As for Lillard, he remains one of the best shooters in the league. Lillard is one of three players in the NBA that takes double-digit attempts from three-point range. Lillard is second to Curry in attempts (10.8), as well as makes (4.1). Lillard is shooting 37.9% from three, but he is another that creates many of his shots. He is also one of the best at converting when he has to scramble.
Joe Harris, Buddy Hield, CJ McCollum, Zach LaVine, Paul George, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant
There's a lot to dissect here. For starters, Hield is the only other player to take double-digit three-point attempts (10.5) and the only other player to make at least 4.0 threes in a game. Hield's points are at least 10 points lower per game compared to Lillard and Curry, which makes good cause for him to stand at Tier 2.
Harris is third in three-point field goal percentage with a clip of 48.2%, but let's be honest. He should be trailing only Joe Ingles as Tony Snell attempts only 2.7 attempts a night to give him a bloated 57% shooting clip. Harris is one of the best catch and shoot players in the league this season, converting on nearly half of his 6.6 attempts. Out of other catch and shoot players, McCollum remains consistent by shooting over 40% on 9.8 attempts per game.
Out-of-shot creators, LaVine, Durant, and Mitchell are underrated as outside shooters. LaVine (41.4%), Durant (44.8%), and Mitchell (38.5%) do most of their dirty work on their own. Durant's missed some games this season, but we should respect the man who owns a career average of over 38%.
As for Tatum and George, the two made great strides in their outside game this season. Tatum's nearly making three, three-point field goals a game, while George is shooting over 44% from beyond the arc and takes 7.4 attempts per game. George has always been a consistent outside shooter, but this is a special year for PG13.
Luka Doncic, Fred VanVleet, Malik Beasley, James Harden, Terry Rozier, Duncan Robinson
Doncic has shown great range in years past, but he is shooting just over 36% from the field this season. Granted, defenses narrow in on Doncic but many defenses narrow in on other players in Tier 2 as well and those players are shooting close to 2%-3% higher. It's somewhat of a valid excuse, but until that number gets closer to 40%, Doncic is just a Tier 3 outsider shooter.
That also is the same with Harden. Harden makes 2.8 threes out of 7.8 attempts and owns a 35.8% shooting clip from beyond the arc. That is too sporadic for a player that you are relying on to hit outside shots. Since shifting to point guard, Harden has been attacking the paint more and setting up the likes of Kyrie Irving.
Among the others, VanVleet ranks fifth in the league with 9.0 attempts with a conversion rate of 37.1%. He is slowly becoming the modern-day Kyle Korver, who ranks as one of the best outside shooters of all time. Beasley is having a career season where he ranks sixth in the league in three-point field goals made (3.5), which is tied with Robinson. However, Robinson owns a better shooting percentage (40.8%) in comparison to Beasley (39.9%). Rozie is quietly shooting 40.4% from the field and takes 8.2 attempts per game.
Jordan Clarkson, Devonte' Graham, Kyrie Irving, Mike Conley Jr.
Clarkson is the runaway favorite to win Sixth Man of the Year. Clarkson ranks 15th in the league with 3.0 three-point field goals made, but his percentage is low, hovering around 35%. Regardless, Clarkson put the league on notice when he scored 40 points off the bench back in February.
Irving deserves recognition, especially with his 39.8% shooting clip from beyond the arc. Since Irving has made the switch to shooting guard, Irving has shown that he could go off at any given night. He remains a lethal option from downtown. Another longtime veteran, Conley, is showing his shooting stroke by shooting over 41% this season. Conley, with the help of Clarkson and Mitchell, is leading the Jazz with an NBA-best 16.8 three-point field goals made per game.
Graham ranks just above Clarkson with 3.1 threes made per game. The Charlotte Hornets rank seventh in the league in made threes per game, which sounds crazy when you read it once. It's true. The Hornets are one of the best three-point shooting teams and that has a lot to do with both Rozier and Graham.
D'Angelo Russell, Joe Ingles, Gary Trent Jr., Norman Powell, Tim Hardaway Jr.
Let's start with the juniors, Gary and Tim. The Trail Blazers rank second in the league in made three-point field goals with 16.0. That was before Trent was traded to the Toronto Raptors. Trent, who is making noise for NBA's Most Improved Player, is shooting 39.2% and was moved for Norman Powell, who is shooting 43% from deep. The trade didn't make a lot of sense except for Portland believing that Powell's five extra points per game might make more of a difference.
Hardaway has been a sneaky good the last two years. Last season, Hardaway shot 39.8% from three, and he is shooting 39.2% this season. Ingles, like previously mentioned, is second in the league in three-point field goal percentage (48.2%). Ingles is no slouch either, shooting 5.5 attempts per game. Russell is shooting above 40% for the first time in his career, including six percent higher than last season.