Stephen Curry and everyone else: Ranking the 11 best 3-point shooters in NBA history
There aren’t too many topics that garner widespread agreement among NBA fans.
That said, the fact that essentially everyone can agree on Stephen Curry’s status as the greatest 3-point shooter to ever play the game speaks to just how special he is. As Curry gets set to pass Ray Allen for first on the all-time list for 3-pointers made, the numbers tell the story better than any one person could.
MORE: Inside the NBA’s 3-point record
As great as the list of all-time leaders is, it might not be the most accurate representation of the greatest shooters of all time. After all, the game has changed and some of the best shooters didn’t have the luxury of playing in the modern era in which the 3 ball reigns supreme.
So let’s rank them.
At this point, we know the list is Steph and everyone else, so instead of a top 10, we’re coming with a list of the top 11 shooters of all time, also known as the 10 that come behind Curry.
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By the way, counting down the greatest shooters of all time is no small feat. Take for instance, ridiculous shooters THAT I LEFT OFF when putting together the top 11.
- No Steve Kerr, who is the most accurate 3-point shooter ever.
- No Dirk Nowitzki, the greatest shooting big man ever.
- No Larry Bird, the greatest shooter of an era in which 3s were introduced.
- No Peja Stojakovic, no Damian Lillard and no J.R. Smith.
Now that I’ve admitted to my omissions … let’s get on to the list.
11. Steve Nash
Nash never made more than 2.2 3s per game in one season, but he did can 1,685 triples over the course of his career at a 42.8 percent clip. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Nash’s former head coach Mike D’Antoni is on record saying he should have implored the two-time MVP to shoot more and, looking at the numbers, he’s definitely right.
10. Dale Ellis
Ahead of his time, Ellis drained a career-high nine 3-pointers in April of 1990. Not only was Ellis a 40.3 percent 3-point shooter for his career, but he also sank 1,719 triples over 17 seasons (1983-2000).
9. Glen Rice
At NBA All-Star 2019, Rice told me “when I was playing, if we shot six 3-pointers as an individual [per] game, we thought we were shooting too many threes. The opportunity to get out there and maybe shoot 15 3-pointers a game? I would really hurt myself if wasn’t averaging 30 points per game.”
Rice isn’t wrong. He averaged a career-high 26.8 points per game while connecting on 47.0 percent of his 5.6 3-point attempts per game. Those numbers speak for themselves.
8. James Harden
Harden is on a fast track to retire behind Curry for second-most made 3s all-time. As Curry belongs in a class of his own regarding 3-point records, Harden is the only other player to sink more than 300 3s in an individual season, doing so in 2018-19. For good measure, Harden also sank 299 3s in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season.
MORE: Curry one shy of Ray Allen entering MSG spotlight
7. Drazen Petrovic
In 2016, Reggie Miller had this to say of Petrovic: “[he] is the best shooter I ever played against. I have never seen anything like it.” Before a fatal car crash brought his career to a tragic end, Petrovic established himself as an elite shooter, knocking 3s down at a 43.7 percent clip over four seasons.
6. Kevin Durant
When I think KD, I think elite scorer before anything else but honestly, he wouldn’t be that without his elite shooting ability. Durant shot 45.0 percent from 3 in 2020-21, at a high volume, no less. It feels weird that at the time of this writing, the most 3s Durant has made in a game is seven but he’s done it on six different occasions. Ask yourself, how many times do you expect KD to miss a 3? None, right? I rest my case.
5. Kyle Korver
Not only is Korver fifth all-time in made 3s (2,450) but he did so by shooting 42.9 percent for his career, including four different seasons in which he lead the league in 3-point percentage. Not bad for the 51st overall pick.
4. Reggie Miller
We’ve reached another tier.
For some time, Miller held the crown as the all-time 3-point leader before being surpassed by Ray Allen and Curry later on. Considering he came in the league in 1987, MIller’s ability to knock down 2,560 3s over the course of his 18 years is nothing short of impressive. When you think shooters, you think of Miller, and he’s a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team because of it.
3. Ray Allen
Maybe the purest jump shot the game’s ever seen.
Allen held it down at first all-time for a long time, tallying 2,973 triples during his Hall of Fame career. Considering he was more than just a shooter during his prime, it’s something to marvel at. We all know Allen for hitting some of the biggest shots in the history of the game and stepping up to hit ’em when they count.
So you have to be special to come in ahead of Ray.
2. Klay Thompson
Klay is special.
An NBA record 14 3s in a game? An NBA Playoff record 11 3s in an elimination game? An NBA record Nine 3s in a quarter? Eight 3s en route to 60 points? I think it’s safe to say that no one gets hotter than Thompson does.
We’ve gone over two years without seeing Klay shoot in-game, but some things never go away. He’ll get right back to it upon his return.
1. Stephen Curry
Curry changed the game.
The soon-to-be all-time leader in 3-pointers made, the shift towards what the game is today can be attributed to Curry’s 3-point shooting during his emergence towards being the best player in the league. If it weren’t for his Splash Brother, Curry might have more single-game records, but Curry still has six of the top eight 3-point shooting seasons in league history.
MORE: All of Steph Curry’s records
He’s the only player to ever hit over 400 3s in a season and has also averaged five or more 3s per game in three different seasons and is working on a fourth in 2021-22. Nobody else in NBA history has ever done that, ever.
Curry is in a league of his own and is the definition of a one-of-one.