April 17, 2013; Portland, OR, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Will Barton (5) in the second half at the Rose Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Will Stephen Curry Become the Best Shooter Of All-Time?


April 09, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30) during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-89 to clinch a playoff berth. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

When we think of the greatest guard or guard-forward shooters of All-Time, we think of Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, Peja Stojakovic and Ray Allen. Where does Stephen Curry fit into this list? He should (career-ending ankle injuries notwithstanding) top this list in a few years.

Before we dive in, I will explain the my methodology. I will be using three-point related statistics because it is the most reflective of a shooters ability and form. I will also use three-point attempts as a filter to eliminate “pure shooters” like Jason Kapono, Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow. While they were clearly great “shooters,” we want to find the shooter who was creating his own shots, shooting off the dribble and taking a large amount of shots per game. With that being said, let’s take a look at the greatest shooters of All-Time.

May 30, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Ray Allen (34) shoots over Indiana Pacers power forward David West (21) during the first half in game five of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Allen, Miller, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Paul Pierce comprise the top five players who have attempted and made the most threes in their careers. Curry is set to outpace all five of those players, and it won’t even be close. Since Curry has only been playing in the NBA for four seasons, I will only use the first four seasons of the other players as well.

The Warriors’ beloved point guard attempted 1443 three-pointers in his first four seasons and made 644 of those attempts, giving him a career three-point percentage of 44.6. Let’s compare that with Allen, who eclipsed Miller’s record of career three-pointers several seasons ago.

During Allen’s first four years with the Milwaukee Bucks, he attempted 1281 three-pointers and connected on 497 of them, giving him a four-year career percentage of 38.8. Yes, you read that right. Stephen Curry shot six-percent better than Allen from downtown, and took more attempts through their first four years. The only person on that list to come close to Curry in terms of attempts was Pierce, who attempted 1388 three-pointers and connected on only 537 of them, giving him a four-year career percentage of 38.7.

Well, what is the implication of all of this?

Curry attempted the most three-pointers of anyone in the top 5 in his first four years and made more of them than anyone else, making him not only a great shooter, but a dependable and efficient one, to boot.

We can already see the the signs that Curry will overtake everyone listed above. In his fourth season, he made more threes than any other player in the history of the game in a single season with 272, beating the previous record holder, Allen, by three. Allen achieved that record of 269 three-point field goals in a single season in his tenth season. So if the future Hall of Famer serves as any example, Curry will continue to break his record of 272 in the years to come.

There is one more area where Curry proved that he has the mettle to become the greatest shooter of all-time–the Crunch. In his first postseason ever, the 25-year-old point guard attempted 106 three-pointers and connected on 42 of them, giving him a playoff percentage of 39.6. Although and Allen’s first playoff experiences were not as successful as Curry’s (their teams both got swept in the first round), Curry proved that even in the pressure of playoffs, he could still shoot the lights out. If the Warriors continue to be successful in the postseason, he will be on pace to break the career playoff three-point record as well.

Stephen Curry is without a doubt the best overall shooter in the league, and if he continues on this path, he will become the greatest shooter of all-time.

Tags: Featured Golden State Warriors NBA NBA Playoffs Popular Ray Allen Reggie Miller Stephen Curry

  • Paul Treso

    Were there no good shooters prior to the 1990′s?

    • Dhara Taheripour

      Sorry for the late reply. The absence of shooters on the list prior to the 1990′s reveals a slight skew in using just three-point field goals to determine the best shooters. The three-point line itself was only introduced in the NBA in 1979-80 season and was widely viewed as a marketing gimmick back then to compete with the ABA. Thus, the numbers are a little lacking in those early years. If this article was written ten years ago for a Bucks fan site, I would have compared Ray Allen’s sophomore year numbers to Reggie Miller, Dale Ellis, Michael Adams and Larry Bird. So my answer would be, there were good shooters prior to the 1990s, but if we are using career three-point field goals as the metric to measure great “All-Time” shooters, there has been so many more great shooters in that regard since 1990s, and that has in effect crowded out some of the older shooters. As an aside, Dale Ellis is the only player to play a complete season in the 80s to be in the top 20 career three-point field goals and he sits in the ninth place with 1719 makes in his 17 year career.