While Dime has done stories on both the best shooters in the NBA and the players with the deepest range, we’ve never focused solely on the three-pointer. The adoption of the three-point line in 1979 dramatically changed the future of the NBA. Would Adam Morrison have even been considered a top 10 pick had this special skill not served a purpose? (Who honestly knows with MJ?)
Quick note on how I picked these lucky players: while I did take a look at 3FG percentage for the past season, it was not the only factor. Some players, in my opinion, could be lethal shooters from beyond the arc, but their job is to do more than just shoot. (Ex. Durant is a fantastic shooter whose percentage is slightly lower because he’s the main focus of opposing defenses) At the same time however, I won’t discount the work certain specialists have done simply because they’re only asked to make treys (Ex. Anthony Morrow). And while some players have been drafted solely to ride the pine until a three is needed, I chose players who play an average role or better for this column (so the likes of Matt Carroll are also absent from this list).
It was a delicate give-and-take process. Now that I’ve defended my choices, let’s take a look at the 20 best three-point shooters in the NBA right now.
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20. SHANE BATTIER
Battier took over control of the “Best Corner Three-Point Shooting Small Forward” title when Bruce Bowen retired. He’s money from there. After ending last season by breaking his slump with a 6-for-8 night from three in Game 7, Battier (a career 38.7 percent shooter from three for his career, 43 percent last season) will be asked to do even more with Mike Miller’s departure this season.
19. MARTELL WEBSTER
Webster cashed in (four years, $21.9 million) after shooting a career-high 42.2 percent from three last season. With Otto Porter on the mend, Webster has every opportunity to play meaningful minutes again in Washington. With an improving cast, a healthy Webster should have lots of open right-corner threes, where he shot a remarkable 59.7 percent last season.
18. MIKE DUNLEAVY JR.
People forget that Dunleavy is much more than a three-point specialist (he averaged 19.1 PPG for Indiana in 2007) but now, playing with the best player of his career in Chicago (Derrick Rose), Dunleavy should have countless open shots from beyond the arc. After shooting a career best 42.8 percent 3FG last season (in Milwaukee nonetheless), the 6-9 combo G/F will be a key reserve in Chi-Town.
17. KEVIN MARTIN
OK, so he’s not James Harden. But lost in the disappointment of not being a replica of the bearded wonder was that Martin shot a career-high 42.6 percent from three last year playing with Durant and Westbrook. Now in Minnesota with Kevin Love, and reunited with former coach Rick Adelman (who coached Martin when he had his best years in Houston), can Kevin replicate those numbers? Playing within a system he’s comfortable with and with exceptional passer Ricky Rubio, I say Kevin Martin keeps knocking them down.