The rise of the 3-pointer has been one of the dominant storylines in the NBA over the last decade. The value of shooting has never been higher, and players who specialize in it are earning fatter contracts than ever before (see Duncan Robinson’s $90 million contract as an example). We set out to find the best 3-point shooters in the NBA.
We want true sharpshooters who are combining accuracy and volume over a long period of time. To do that, we established some criteria:
- Must have played in each season from 2018-2019 to 2020-2021 (so, no rookies or second-year players; we want an established pattern of excellent shooting)
- Must shoot at least six 3’s per game over that time period
- Must shoot at least 37% from long range (roughly league average over this time frame)
Applying the above filters gave us a list of exactly 20 players. We took a weighted average of the field goal attempts and accuracy for each of the seasons to come up with their cumulative three-year shooting attempts and accuracy (ordered by 3-pointers attempted per game).
Top 3-Point Shooters in the NBA
Notice that Steph is at the top of both accuracy and volume, a truly incredible combination given the degree of difficulty of many of his shots.
Let’s look at the table above in graph form:
Who is the best 3-point shooter in the NBA?
Stephen Curry is the best 3-point shooter in the NBA, and it’s not even close. He leads the league in both volume and accuracy over this time period. What’s even more incredible is the high degree of difficulty of his shots. Other players, like Buddy Hield and Duncan Robinson, mostly shoot off the catch, which traditionally is an easier shot than shooting off the dribble, like Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard often do.
Who is the second-best 3-point shooter in the NBA?
Duncan Robinson or Damian Lillard can both claim to be the second-best 3-point shooter in the NBA. Robinson is the only one in the league who’s close to as accurate as Curry. Lillard isn’t as accurate, but shoots the second-most volume on high-difficulty, self-created shots, often from way behind the 3-point line.
Who is the best 3-point shooter of all time?
Stephen Curry is the best 3-point shooter of all time. Curry became the most prolific 3-point shooter of all time on December 14, 2021, when he passed Ray Allen for most career 3’s made in the regular season. As of that date, Curry has 2,977 made 3’s. In second place, Ray Allen has 2,973 made 3’s.
Note: All data from Basketball-Reference.com. Thanks to Avani Gupta for data aggregation.