Ranking the NBA’s All-Time Greatest 3-Point Shooters (1979/2019)

Free throws, two-point baskets. Outside 3-point shots. In Basketball there are several ways to score points and lead your team to victory. In today’s article we will analyze a fundamental element of Basketball: 3-point shots.

Who have been the best 3-point shooters in NBA history? We will answer this question using the video I made on Statistics and Data from 1979 to 2019 on the 10 players who scored the most points from 3 year after year.

Top 10 3-pt NBA shooters – From 1979 to 2019

The NBA player who has long been the leader in this particular ranking is Reggie Miller. The former U.S. basketball player, now 54 years old, who has always played exclusively in the Indiana Pacers, was in the lead for 13 seasons from 1992-1993 to 2008-2009. Behind him, Ray Allen, winner of 2 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and the Miami Heat in 2013, with 10 seasons from 2009-2010 to date. While in third place we find Dale Ellis, active from 1983 to 2000, with 7 seasons: from 1987-1988 to 1988-1989 and from 1991-1992 to 1995-1996.

There are 8 champions who have followed one another in the leadership of this ranking: we are talking about legends of this sport such as Brian Taylor, Larry Bird, Reggie Miller, Ray Allen. Ray Allen has been at the top of the standings since the 2009-2010 season when he overcame 2,560 baskets from Reggie Miller’s bow and reached 2,973 in the 2012-2013 season (a record that remains unbeaten to this day).

Top 10 3-pt NBA shooters – 2018/2019 & 1979

In the 2018/2019 season at the top of the list of the greatest 3-point players we find Ray Allen. Allen in fact reached almost 3000 points with 3-pointers (it means almost 3000 valid 3-point shots). In second place is Reggie Miller, almost 500 points behind him, and in third place is Stephen Curry. In tenth place is Jason Kidd who is almost 1000 total points behind Ray Allen. This figure is interesting to note: the difference between first and tenth is in fact over 30% of the total.

And if we go back 30 years what was the top 30 back then? At the top of this special ranking was Dale Ellis. The former U.S. basketball player, born in 1960, has had some remarkable 3-point shooting performances throughout his career. In 1988/89 he made 47.8% of his 3-point shots, temporarily leading this ranking. Ellis has played for several teams including the Dallas Mavericks, Seattle Supersonics, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggest. The last years of his career were with the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte.

In second place in 1988/1989 we find Larry Bird (in his first years of his career) and Danny Ainge in third place. Sleepy Floyd closes the top 10 with 295 points. Again, the distance between first and tenth was between 20% and 30% points.

Some other interesting data on the three-point shootings

The player who made the most bombs in a single match is held by Golden State Warrios basketball player Klay Thompson, who managed to make as many as 14 triples in a single match, thus breaking Stephen Curry’s previous record.

Michael Jordan, on the other hand, holds the record for consecutive triples in a playoff game: in 1992 in the final against the Trail Blazers he managed to achieve something like 6 consecutive triples in a single match. Finally, one last interesting record concerns the one recorded by Tracy McGrady when in 2004 he made 3 triples in just 33 seconds in the daring final against San Antonio Spurs.

The 3 Points Rule in Basketball

Why does the ranking start in 1979 and not before? Simple, because the 3-point rule was only introduced in the NBA from 1979 onwards and previously in 1967 in the ABA.

In the NBA the distance for three-point shooting is 7.25 meters, although in the lines on the side it goes down to 6.72 meters.

Source and links:

The source of this article and video is: https://www.landofbasketball.com/

Thanks to the data on this source I was able to make videos and articles.

If you like more articles like this you can support the Statistics and Data channel here: https://ko-fi.com/statisticsanddata

Watch the full video on Youtube (Ranking the NBA’s All-Time Greatest 3-Point Shooters (1979/2019): https://youtu.be/ur8w9DD15X8

Other interesting data