Who is the greatest “pure” shooter in NBA history?
Before you try to answer that, how about the shooting performance of Dirk Nowitzki in this year’s NBA playoffs? Dirk made over 94% of his playoff free throws, shot 46% from the 3-point line and just under 50% from the field. Nowitzki’s playoff MVP was well deserved and showcased him as one of the game’s all-time great shooters.
So is Nowitzki worthy of the title of the “NBA’s greatest ‘pure’ shooter?” Consider this: Dirk is one of only 18 players in NBA history to have a career field goal percentage over 45%, a career three-point percentage over 35% and a career free throw shooting percentage over 85%. He may not be “the greatest pure shooter in NBA history,” but he is certainly (and statistically) one of the best.
So who else should be in the conversation? Here’s the list of the 18 players who have shot better than 45% from the field, 35% or better from the three-point line and 85% or better from the free throw line in their careers. (Players are listed from those who have been retired the longest to active players)
Player, career years Career FG Pct/ Career 3-pt Pct/Career FT Pct.
Fred Brown (1971-84) .478/.373/.858
Larry Bird (1979-92) .496/.376/.886
Kiki Vandeweghe (1980-93) .525/.368/.872
Mark Price (1986-98) .489/.429/.904
Jeff Hornacek (1986-2000) .496/.403/.877
Chris Mullin (1985-2001) .509/.384/.865
Hersey Hawkins (1988-2001) .461/.394/.870
Mario Elie (1990-2001) .473/.365/.854
Mitch Richmond (1988-2002) .455/.388/.850
Dana Barros (1989-2004) .460/.411/.858
Reggie Miller (1987-2005) .471/.395/.888
Wally Szczerbiak (1999-2009) .485/.406/.860
Steve Nash (1996-Active) .489/.432/.902
Ray Allen (1996-Active) .452/.399/.893
Dirk Nowitzki (1998-Active) .476/.381/.877
Peja Stojakovic (1998-Active) .450/.401/.895
Chris Paul (2005-Active) .471/.359/.852
Kevin Durant (2007-Active) .462/.358/.882