We are currently in the three-point era of basketball, where teams and players want to hoist up as many good-quality threes as possible. The analytics of the game has convinced every NBA team that 3 points are worth more than 2 points and that shooting 40% from three is more effective than shooting 50% from two. Hence, shooters should have the green light whenever they want.
Especially with the likes of the Stephen Curry-led Warriors changing the game in recent years, the three-point shot is here to stay. But looking throughout NBA history, who is the best 3-point shooter in the NBA per season? Stephen Curry is regarded as the best 3-point shooter ever, but how many times has he made the most three-pointers in a season? Some names on this list might surprise you, but there will be some expected names on there as well.
Here is the ultimate three-point list of the NBA's best shooters from deep per season since 1980.
1979–80 - Brian Taylor - 90 3PTM
90 - 239 (3PTM - 3PTA), 37.66 3PT%, 78 Games Played
After 4 solid seasons in the ABA to start his career (winning Rookie of the Year), Brian Taylor developed into a solid knockdown shooter in the NBA. The 6’2” point guard averaged 13.5 PPG as a member of the San Diego Clippers, making 90 threes at a time when outside shooting was not encouraged.
1980–81 - Mike Bratz - 57 3PTM
57 - 169 (3PTM - 3PTA), 33.73 3PT%, 80 Games Played
In the first season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Mike Bratz averaged 10.0 PPG and 5.7 APG while shooting over 33% of his three-point shots. Mike Bratz only made 57 threes, a very low number compared to what average players make in today's game. Still, the 6’2” point guard was considered a marksman during the early 1980s.
1981–82 - Don Buse - 78 3PTM
78 - 193 (3PTM - 3PTA), 40.41 3PT%, 82 Games Played
Considered a guard with solid intangibles and potential, Don Buse shot over 40% from deep while averaging 9.7 PPG. A player for the Indiana Pacers, Buse would make his shots at a strong level which leads one to wonder how many threes he would have made in today’s game.
1982–83 - Mike Dunleavy - 67 3PTM
67 - 194 (3PTM - 3PTA), 34.54 3PT%, 79 Games Played
Most fans might be aware of Mike Dunleavy Jr, a role player who was an excellent shooter. But his father, Mike Dunleavy, was the original marksman. The guard made 67 threes, which might not seem like a lot in today’s game, but he did it at a great level back then.
1983–84 - Darrell Griffith - 91 3PTM
91 - 252 (3PTM - 3PTA), 36.11 3PT%, 82 Games Played
Darrell Griffith only made 91 three-pointers in the 1984 season, a hilariously low number compared to what we see today. Griffith played all 82 games for the season, and only attempted 252 shots from outside to get his numbers. One year later, the guard would do it again.
1984–85 - Darrell Griffith - 92 3PTM
92 - 257 (3PTM - 3PTA), 35.80 3PT%, 78 Games Played
Darrell Griffith might be the second-most consistent three-point shooter during the 1980s, leading the NBA in threes made twice. The 6’4” shooting guard took off after winning Rookie of the Year in 1981, averaging 18.5 PPG on 32.3% shooting from three in the 80s. The shooting guard shot only 2.0 threes per game, once again showing how little emphasis the shot had back in the day.
1985–86 - Larry Bird - 82 3PTM
82 - 196 (3PTM - 3PTA), 41.84 3PT%, 82 Games Played
Larry Bird is widely considered the greatest all-around shooter of the 1980s, draining 37.7% of his deep-range shots during the decade and averaging 0.6 makes per 1.7 attempts. It is amazing how little threes such a great shooter like Bird took, and had he played in today’s game, we might be looking at a potential threat to Stephen Curry.
1986–87 - Larry Bird - 90 3PTM
90 - 225 (3PTM - 3PTA), 40.00 3PT%, 74 Games Played
With his high-arcing shot and easy release, Larry could literally shoot over most defenders and was never bothered by a hand in his face. That is why the Celtics legend led the league in threes made for the second straight year. With this accomplishment, Bird led the league in 3’s made on 2 separate occasions, sharing that honor with Darrell Griffith.
1987–88 - Danny Ainge - 148 3PTM
148 - 357 (3PTM - 3PTA), 41.46 3PT%, 81 Games Played
A 2-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge made his first All-Star Team in 1988 after he averaged 15.7 PPG on 41.46% shooting from three. The guard was a solid shooter, scorer, and playmaker who simply made his guys around him better on the court.
1988–89 - Michael Adams - 166 3PTM
166 - 466 (3PTM - 3PTA), 35.62 3PT%, 77 Games Played
Other than Griffith, Michael Adams was also a knockdown shooter of the highest order. Adams had a great season in 1989, averaging 18.5 PPG on 35.6% shooting from deep in 77 starts. That was considered good numbers back in the day, although most “good shooters” shoot over 35% these days.
1989–90 - Michael Adams - 158 3PTM
158 - 432 (3PTM - 3PTA), 36.57 3PT%, 79 Games Played
The 5’10” point guard had a nice release, showcasing his shooting power for 2 straight seasons (1989 and 1990) by leading the league in total threes made. Adams would make his only All-Star Team in 1992, but he was still a respected shooter in the 1990 season by draining 36.57% of his shots from deep.
1990–91 - Vernon Maxwell - 172 3PTM
172 - 510 (3PTM - 3PTA), 33.73 3PT%, 82 Games Played
After Michael Adams led the NBA in threes for the second straight time in the 1990 season, Rockets pitbull Vernon Maxwell showcased his consistency. The tough, two-way guard was a fantastic contributor to his team’s success and his impact alongside Hakeem Olajuwon in the future would be critically important.
1991–92 - Vernon Maxwell - 162 3PTM
162 - 473 (3PTM - 3PTA), 34.25 3PT%, 80 Games Played
While Kenny Smith was known for his three-point shooting over any other Rockets player, Maxwell was incredibly efficient in 1991 and 1992. After attempting less than 2 threes per game for the first 2 seasons of his career, Vernon averaged over 6 threes per game over the next 2 years. By taking more shots, Maxwell nailed a total of 334 long-range shots over 2 years.
1992–93 - Dan Majerle - 167 3PTM
167 - 438 (3PTM - 3PTA), 38.13 3PT%, 82 Games Played
Dan Majerle made his second straight All-Star Team with the Phoenix Suns by averaging 16.9 PPG on 38% shooting from three, making his threat felt for a contending Phoenix Suns team. Anytime Charles Barkley is in the paint, a scorer of Majerle’s skill will always have open shots.
1992–93 - Reggie Miller - 167 3PTM
167 - 419 (3PTM - 3PTA), 39.86 3PT%, 82 Games Played
It is truly amazing how Reggie Miller only led the 90s in threes made twice. The legendary shooting guard was known for his clutch shot-making from deep and built a resume on being one of the most feared players at the end of games. His first came in the 1993 season when he drained 167 three-pointers.
1993–94 - Dan Majerle - 192 3PTM
192 - 503 (3PTM - 3PTA), 38.17 3PT%, 80 Games Played
Credit should also go to Dan Majerle for being an efficient shooter as a member of the Phoenix Suns, knocking down three-pointers as a sidekick to superstar Charles Barkley. The 6’6” scorer made 3 All-Star Teams during the 1990s, with his outside shooting becoming an integral part of Phoenix’s success on the court.
1994–95 - John Starks - 217 3PTM
217 - 611 (3PTM - 3PTA), 35.52 3PT%, 80 Games Played
Legendary Knicks’ rough rider John Starks led the league in 1995 with 217 threes, showcasing his true talent as a scoring guard. Starks could attack the rim and also hit the mid-range shot, but his deep-range proficiency was the main reason he was an effective player with New York alongside Patrick Ewing.
1995–96 - Dennis Scott - 267 3PTM
267 - 628 (3PTM - 3PTA), 42.52 3PT%, 82 Games Played
It is shocking to see “3D” Dennis Scott only lead the NBA in threes once, as he was known as a supremely gifted shooter when he played alongside Shaquille O’Neal in Orlando. Scott could use a post-up game to get buckets as well but made a living with his perfect jumper from beyond.
1996–97 - Reggie Miller - 229 3PTM
229 - 536 (3PTM - 3PTA), 42.72 3PT%, 81 Games Played
The second time leading the league in threes is why Miller sits comfortably in the Hall of Fame despite not winning an MVP or an NBA championship. Miller made the most threes in the 90s with 229 in the 1997 season and also knocked down 167 during the 1993 season.
1997–98 - Wesley Person - 192 3PTM
192 - 447 (3PTM - 3PTA), 42.95 3PT%, 82 Games Played
A member of the 1995 All-Rookie Team, Wesley Person was a solid offensive threat who arguably had his best season in 1998 when he shot 42.95% from three. The 6’6” shooting guard had a knack for heating up from deep, and he was proficient over 82 games in 1998.
1998–99 - Dee Brown - 135 3PTM
135 - 349 (3PTM - 3PTA), 38.68 3PT%, 49 Games Played
Dee Brown never had any major accomplishments other than making an All-Rookie Team, but he was a solid three-point shooter during his time. Brown shot 38.69% from three in the 1999 season, nailing 135 threes as a member of the Toronto Raptors.
1999–00 - Gary Payton - 177 3PTM
177 - 520 (3PTM - 3PTA), 34.04 3PT%, 82 Games Played
It is amazing how a Hall of Famer like Gary Payton turned himself into an effective three-point shooter. Recognized as one of the greatest defenders, Payton turned his offensive game around once he began posting up and also hitting the three. Nailing over 170 threes in the 1999-2000 season was a blessing for Payton, who would complete a legendary career as a dominant two-way player.
2000–01 - Antoine Walker - 221 3PTM
221 - 603 (3PTM - 3PTA), 36.65 3PT%, 81 Games Played
Alongside Paul Pierce, the Boston Celtics had a duo of All-Stars thanks to the presence of Antoine Walker. The versatile forward was a beast at attacking the rim and also hitting his three-point shots, even if he wasn’t a legendary marksman per se. Walker was a dynamic scorer in the 2001 season by averaging 23.4 PPG.
2001–02 - Ray Allen - 229 3PTM
229 - 528 (3PTM - 3PTA), 43.37 3PT%, 69 Games Played
Ray Allen will appear more than one time on this list because he leads all players in 3-pointers of all time although Stephen Curry is getting closer. The sharpshooter was a superstar with the Milwaukee Bucks, because putting up 21.8 PPG on over 43% shooting from three was impressive.
2002–03 - Ray Allen - 201 3PTM
201 - 533 (3PTM - 3PTA), 37.71 3PT%, 76 Games Played
For the second straight time, All-Star Ray Allen led the league in threes made and did it in his usual way. Allen was a master at moving without the ball to get open and was normally automatic when the ball left his hands. Allen had the same jumper every time he shot the ball, which is a reason for his all-time great consistency.
2003–04 - Peja Stojakovic - 240 3PTM
240 - 554 (3PTM - 3PTA), 43.32 3PT%, 81 Games Played
Peja Stojakovic was also an all-time great shooter, leading the league in threes made once during the 2000s. Stojakovic averaged 40.1% from three over his career, and he honestly should have attempted at least 10 threes per game every season of his career. Had the Croatian played in today’s NBA, his impact would have been much greater.
2004–05 - Quentin Richardson - 226 3PTM
226 - 631 (3PTM - 3PTA), 35.82 3PT%, 79 Games Played
A lot of players benefit from the presence of Steve Nash, one of the greatest playmakers ever. Quentin Richardson was a great athlete who could space the floor, even if he wasn’t the most efficient. Richardson was a key factor in a dynamic Suns offense led by Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire because he could make his shots and had deep range.
2004–05 - Kyle Korver - 226 3PTM
226 - 558 (3PTM - 3PTA), 40.50 3PT%, 82 Games Played
There were a ton of all-time great shooters playing significant minutes during the 2000s era, including the likes of Ray Allen, Peja Stojakovic, and Gilbert Arenas. But Kyle Korver was just as good as these superstars were at making three-pointers. Kyle Korver made an All-Star Team in his career because of his shooting skills, indicating how consistent he was at letting the ball go from deep.
2005–06 - Ray Allen - 269 3PTM
269 - 653 (3PTM - 3PTA), 41.19 3PT%, 78 Games Played
Ray Allen was easily the best shooter of his time, leading the league in three-point shots 3 separate times. The superstar shooting guard practiced his craft at an obsessive level, to the point that he was automatic. Allen never came close to shooting 700 threes in a season during the 2000s, a number that would become normal for the likes of Stephen Curry and James Harden shortly after.
2006–07 - Gilbert Arenas - 205 3PTM
205 - 584 (3PTM - 3PTA), 35.10 3PT%, 74 Games Played
Possibly the most exciting player with the ball in his hands when at the three-point line was Gilbert Arenas, also known as Agent Zero. The superstar scorer had a knack for taking deep shots, turning around with the ball in the air and raising his arms as the ball swished through. Arenas had his career cut short by idiotic decisions, but he should be mentioned alongside some of the best shooters during the 2000s era.
2006–07 - Raja Bell - 205 3PTM
205 - 496 (3PTM - 3PTA), 41.33 3PT%, 78 Games Played
Playing alongside a 2-time MVP in Steve Nash, Raja Bell had his abilities maximized as a knockdown shooter and lockdown defender. Bell nailed 205 threes in nearly 500 attempts, nailing over 41%. Bell was known as a tough defender who didn’t take a lot of shots, but making over 200 threes is certainly impressive.
2007–08 - Jason Richardson - 243 3PTM
243 - 599 (3PTM - 3PTA), 40.57 3PT%, 82 Games Played
Jason Richardson was a fan favorite because he was an explosive dunker who could leap out the roof and also nail the three with ease. Playing in Charlotte in the 2008 season, Richardson made 243 three-pointers on over 40% shooting which is a very impressive production.
2008–09 - Rashard Lewis - 220 3PTM
220 - 554 (3PTM - 3PTA), 39.71 3PT%, 79 Games Played
As an All-Star forward playing alongside Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis is an excellent shooter from deep and an all-around solid talent that is versatile on the offensive end. Lewis averaged 17.7 PPG in 2009, marking his second All-Star Team. Making 220 threes was always going to happen when playing alongside a beast inside like Dwight.
2009–10 - Aaron Brooks - 209 3PTM
209 - 525 (3PTM - 3PTA), 39.81 3PT%, 82 Games Played
Averaging 19.6 PPG in his 3rd NBA season, Aaron Brooks was a critical part of the Houston Rockets franchise that would begin the rebuilding process without Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady playing heavy minutes due to injuries. Brooks was a great scorer that year, nailing 39.81% of his threes.
2010–11 - Dorell Wright - 194 3PTM
194 - 516 (3PTM - 3PTA), 37.60 3PT%, 82 Games Played
Always known as a knockdown shooter, Dorell Wright averaged 37.6% from three during the 2011 season when he averaged 16.4 PPG and 5.3 RPG. Wright was a crucial part of the Golden State Warriors offense because he was able to make his shots from the perimeter and did it consistently while playing 38.4 MPG.
2011–12 - Ryan Anderson - 166 3PTM
166 - 422 (3PTM - 3PTA), 39.34 3PT%, 61 Games Played
Armed with a powerful arm and a sniper of a jumper, Ryan Anderson would go on to lead the NBA in threes during the 2012 season. The big man never had to force his shots, because he selected the moments to let loose which is why he shot over 39%.
2012–13 - Stephen Curry - 272 3PTM
272 - 600 (3PTM - 3PTA), 45.33 3PT%, 78 Games Played
One name sticks out: Stephen Curry. The 2010s were the start of Curry’s dominance of the NBA because he changed the game with long-range prowess. Alongside arguably the second-best shooter ever in Klay Thompson, Curry made the Golden State Warriors almost unbeatable because no opponent could match up with three points on the board per possession.
2013–14 - Stephen Curry - 261 3PTM
261 - 615 (3PTM - 3PTA), 42.44 3PT%, 78 Games Played
The Golden State Warriors star led the league in threes made 5 times in 10 years, an incredible feat. His second came in 2014 when he swished through over 260 three-pointers at a scintillating 42.44% clip.
2014–15 - Stephen Curry - 286 3PTM
286 - 646 (3PTM - 3PTA), 44.27 3PT%, 80 Games Played
In his first MVP season, Stephen Curry started making a name for himself as one of the best players in the NBA. The superstar point guard was effective off the ball, although he was effective in creating his own buckets with ease thanks to his head coach’s belief in him.
2015–16 - Stephen Curry - 402 3PTM
402 - 886 (3PTM - 3PTA), 45.37 3PT%, 79 Games Played
Steph would make it 4 times in a row in 2016, draining 402 three-pointers in over 880 attempts, an incredible mark of an all-time great scorer. Curry shot a whopping 45.37% from three in 79 games played and would go on to win his second MVP en route to a Finals appearance.
2016–17 - Stephen Curry - 324 3PTM
324 - 789 (3PTM - 3PTA), 41.06 3PT%, 79 Games Played
The Golden State Warriors superstar was on point in 2017, knocking down 324 three-pointers alongside Klay Thompson and the newly-recruited Kevin Durant. Even when playing with other all-time great shooters, Steph was easily the most impactful. Quite frankly, there will never be another shooter like Curry.
2017–18 - James Harden - 265 3PTM
265 - 722 (3PTM - 3PTA), 36.70 3PT%, 72 Games Played
Curry’s 3-point reign would come to an end once James Harden started falling in love with the three-pointer. Known for his proficiency in drawing fouls and also his range from deep, The Beard hardly took mid-range shots as he focused his game in those select areas. The Houston Rockets relied on Harden’s ability to contend, so him taking over 700 threes would not be a problem in his MVP season.
2018–19 - James Harden - 378 3PTM
378 - 1,028 (3PTM - 3PTA), 36.77 3PT%, 78 Games Played
James Harden managed to lead the league in threes made twice, the first coming in his MVP season. The Beard loved jacking up threes and started showcasing the beginning of his patented step-back three which often came with foul calls. Harden loved flailing on his shots, drawing fouls, and normally hitting shots as well. Harden’s outside prowess was also a major reason the Houston Rockets became title contenders that came awfully close to defeating the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
2019–20 - James Harden - 299 3PTM
299 - 843 (3PTM - 3PTA), 35.47 3PT%, 68 Games Played
James Harden continues his reign as a top three-point shooter by taking over 800 threes as a member of the Rockets. Alongside Russell Westbrook, Harden was forced to handle the ball and create possessions for his team from the three-point line. He had no problem chucking them up and as long as he shoots over 35%, it should not be an issue.
2020–21 - Stephen Curry - 337 3PTM
337 - 801 (3PTM - 3PTA), 42.07 3PT%, 63 Games Played
Stephen Curry led all players in three-pointers made in 2021 with 337 three-pointers on 801 attempts. Curry has clearly retaken his throne as the best deep-range shooter in the league after having James Harden capture the top spot 3 of the last 4 seasons. Steph will shatter the all-time makes for three-pointers in due time.
2021-22 - Stephen Curry
126 - 303 (3PTM - 3PTA), 41.60 3PT%, 23 Games Played
It seems that nobody in the current NBA will ever get close to what Steph has done. The point guard is only 33 years old, so he will likely own the 2020s decade with most three-pointers per season. Some players from the younger generation are showcasing their deep-range skills including Trae Young, Devin Booker, and Zach LaVine.
Time will tell if these budding stars can come close to replicating what Stephen Curry has done from the perimeter. The superstar has made 126 threes, 39 more than second-place Buddy Hield. It is safe to say that Steph will end the season as the leading 3-point shooter in the league once again.