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 idea is simple: the three-point shot puts the most points on the board and more attempts mean more points. That is why sharpshooters are paid a massive premium in today’s game because spacing and relaxed defensive rules allow for better ball movement and quality looks from the perimeter. The presence of shooters also allows the paint to be more open, allowing for easy buckets at the rim.
With the likes of Stephen Curry completely changing the game with his shooting, this style of basketball is probably here to stay. Even before Stephen Curry, we had the likes of Reggie Miller and even Ray Allen as the most impactful long-distance shooters in the league. The three-point shot has always been a valuable weapon but the Golden State Warriors legend made it “cool” to jack up threes as much as possible.
We have seen how teams such as the Houston Rockets tried to build their offense with the intention of mimicking Stephen Curry, and it almost worked. But is Stephen Curry truly the greatest 3-point shooter in NBA history? We know he creates his own shot better than anyone from behind the arc, and his off-ball movement is sublime, but at what rate do his shots go in? We have collected the 10 greatest 3-point shooters ever based on shooting percentage to get an indication on which sharpshooters are the most efficient.
10. Kyle Korver - 42.87% (2450 3PM)
2.0 - 4.6 (3PM - 3PA)
Kyle Korver built an entire career off of being a three-point shooter, and he did it with the best of them. Korver has never shot under 37% per season in his entire career, along with incredible averages of 53.6% (2010), 49.2% (2015), and 47.2% (2014). Korver moves terrifically off the ball and has a nice rainbow show that gets fans off their seats. Because of his shooting alone, Korver made the All-Star Team in 2015 as a member of the Atlanta Hawks.
We saw how teams benefited from Korver’s shooting because the former No. 22 pick prospered on playoff teams such as the Hawks and the LeBron James-led Cavaliers. Korver could always be relied upon to make his shots, even in clutch moments, and that is why he had a very long career that lasted until he was 38 years old. With so many shooters coming into the league from all over the world, they could learn a lesson or two from Korver on how to remain consistent for so long.
9. Steve Novak - 43.01% (575 3PM)
1.2 - 2.9 (3PM - 3PA)
Steve Novak was on the court for one thing: shooting. He was not a valuable contributor as a passer, defender, or rebounder at his size but was an absolute marksman of the highest order. Starting his career with the Houston Rockets, Novak started making a name for himself when he averaged 47.9% shooting from deep in his second NBA season. After a few trips across different teams, Novak found another great home with the New York Knicks.
Playing for the Knicks in 2012, Novak led the NBA in 3-point percentage (47.2%) despite only playing 18.9 MPG. If Novak could produce in other areas of the floor, he would certainly have been a much more valuable asset to teams needing a sharpshooter on the court at all times. Still, ranking 9th all-time in 3-point percentage is an achievement that Novak would be proud of.
8. Tim Legler - 43.12% (260 3PM)
0.8 - 1.9 (3PM - 3PA)
Current basketball analyst Tim Legler was a terrific shooter and was always consistent with his stroke. The guard had his brightest moment as a professional during the 1996 season with the Washington Bullets when he shot an incredible 52.2% through 77 appearances on the court. Averaging 9.4 PPG in 23.1 MPG, Legler’s job was to let fly at any time he felt comfortable because the percentages were off the charts.
Legler also averaged 52.0% the season prior, except he only appeared in 24 games as he started getting discovered for his marksmanship. These two seasons spiked Legler’s percentages so high that he could afford to have 4 seasons shooting under 35% and still make the top-10 list. Legler knows what he is talking about when he analyzes basketball, but he also knows how to make jump shots from deep.
7. Stephen Curry - 43.25% (2863 3PM)
3.7 - 8.6 (3PM - 3PA)
You are probably thinking, how is Stephen Curry 7th? There is no doubt that he is the greatest shooter ever because he could make shots that hardly any other player could form deep. But the reason his percentages are lower than 6 other players is that he attempts so many of them, nearly 8.6 attempts for his career. In fact, Curry has averaged over 12 attempts per game over the last 2 seasons.
By taking so many long-range shots, mainly because it is the strongest aspect of his game, Curry averages more misses. Otherwise, the pint guard would have been number one with ease because his shooting mechanics cannot be taught. What Curry does is unique, and even though he made himself an All-Star through hard work, he was born with a gift to shoot the ball.
6. Jason Kapono - 43.36% (457 3PM)
0.9 - 2.1 (3PM - 3PA)
Chosen No. 31 overall in 2003, Jason Kapono never averaged above 10.9 PPG for a season and had a career average of 6.7 PPG. But the reason he played over 500 games in the NBA was because of his three-point shooting, which led him to win 2 straight 3-Point Contests with 2 different teams: Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat. Kapono also led the NBA in three-point shooting twice.
The first came in 2007 with the Heat, where he shot 51.4% from three and won his first 3-Point Contest. The second came in 2008 with the Raptors, where he shot 48.3% from three and also won his second straight 3-Point Contest. Kapono was 6’8”, so he had the height to shoot over defenses when he had enough space and is one of his generation’s best shooters. Kapono is also the only player (with Kyle Korver) to lead the NBA in 3-point percentage in consecutive seasons.
5. Joe Harris - 43.57% (851 3PM)
2.1 - 4.8 (3PM - 3PA)
Current Brooklyn Nets shooter Joe Harris is averaging a career 43.57% from three, a number that is very impressive for a former No. 33 overall pick. Harris showed some shooting promise in his rookie season, draining 36.9% of his threes in only 9.7 MPG. But after he was acquired by Brooklyn in his third season, Harris took off as a shooter.
The shooting guard shot 38.5% from three in his first season in Brooklyn and would nail over 40% from three over his next 4 seasons. Brooklyn’s sharpshooter also led the NBA in shooting percentage, draining 47.4% in 2019 and also 47.5% in 2021. Joe Harris has come a long way in his career and that is why he was paid $75 million to shoot the ball from deep at an elite level.
4. Drazen Petrovic - 43.74% (255 3PM)
0.9 - 2.0 (3PM - 3PA)
One of the greatest players whose career was cut short, Drazen Petrovic was more than just a European sensation in the NBA. He is also one of the most gifted shooters we have ever seen, nailing almost 44% of his threes over 4 seasons in the league. A career (and life) cut short by a tragic accident, old heads rave about how good Petrovic was as a scoring guard.
In his first season, Petrovic shot 45.9% from three despite not starting a single game and only averaging 12.6 MPG. Once he was traded to the Nets in his second season, Petrovic took off as a scorer. The guard averaged 12.6 PPG with New Jersey, taking that number to 20.6 PPG in his first full season with the team on 44.4% shooting from deep. His final season in the league was the beginning of stardom, as Petrovic averaged 22.3 PPG on 44.9% shooting. We did not see enough of the Croatian, but he is without a doubt one of the best marksmen ever.
3. Hubert Davis - 44.09% (728 3PM)
1.1 - 2.4 (3PM - 3PA)
A shooting guard that played for 6 teams over his career, Hubert Davis was always known for his proficiency as a sharpshooter. Drafted No. 20 overall in the 1992 NBA Draft, Davis would find significant playing time in his second season where he averaged 11.0 PPG. Davis shot 40.2% from three, which earned him 23.8 MPG.
Hubert would finish his career in 2004, and had a resume that included 10 seasons shooting over 40% from the three-point line. Very few players had the consistency that Hubert Davis had, which was the main reason the rather limited player had so many opportunities to play. Only one can imagine how effective Davis would be in today’s game because he never averaged 4 attempts for a season. Had he played today, Davis would have taken at least 7 threes a game if he played alongside talented offensive players.
2. Seth Curry - 44.71% (592 3PM)
1.9 - 4.1 (3PM - 3PA)
Seth Curry, Stephen’s younger brother, is in second place with a 44.71% shooting average from deep. With Steph and to a lesser extent Dell Curry, getting all of the recognition as a player, Seth often flies under the radar as a shooter. But Seth has the shooter’s genes flowing through him, nailing close to 45% of his three-pointers that he takes in his career. Once Curry started getting minutes, he started taking more threes and becoming an effective player in the rotation. In 2016, Curry shot 45.0% with only 2.5 attempts per game and took that to 42.5% on 4.6 attempts per game.
4 seasons later, Curry has yet to average under 45% shooting from deep. His run has led him to the 2nd spot in all-time shooting percentages, and he is going strong by averaging 54.1% from three this season. Seth has a quick release and while he cannot create his own offense like Steph, he is arguably just as effective if not more deadly when open. Curry has found a home in Philadelphia because playing alongside Joel Embiid will give him plenty of open looks.
1. Steve Kerr - 45.40% (726 3PM)
0.8 - 1.8 (3PM - 3PA)
Out of all the great shooters on this list, no player has surpassed Steve Kerr in terms of accuracy. The current Golden State Warriors coach has had an incredible resume which includes playing with the GOAT Michael Jordan to winning 3 championships as the head coach of the greatest shooter ever, Stephen Curry. But while Curry is a better all-around player and scorer, he never had the efficiency that Kerr had.
Steve Kerr would be the first to admit that he made a living playing off Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in his Bulls days, but also had stints as an all-time great shooter with the Cavaliers and Spurs. Alongside Mark Price in Cleveland, Kerr once shot 50.7% from three in 1990 and shot over 42% the next two seasons. Fast-forward to his Bulls days, Kerr’s shooing was a big part of Chicago’s offense when Jordan was double and triple-teamed. Kerr shot 52.4% in 1995 and 51.5% in 1996, signaling he was an ultimate shooter. By the end of his career, Steve Kerr shot over 50% from deep 4 times in his career which is why he is the most effective 3-point marksman ever.