In Summer 2008, my boy Zilla Rocca made a post about great NBA shooters and I was supposed to make a reply to it the next day but I never posted it up. He then posted up a part 2 to the blog in April 2009 that solidified the case for considering Ray Allen the greatest shooter in NBA history.
I saw this post and realized that I never posted up my answer blog "I Respect The Shooter © Jay-Z". So a month later I posted my list. Since Zilla had already used Mark Price, Mitch Ritchmond, and Glen Rice on his list I had to go ahead and pick some other cats. I decided to add on to my original list from May so here goes:
Dale Ellis AKA The Silent Assassin 6'7 205 Years Active: 1983-2000 Career Averages: 15.7 ppg 48% FG 40% 3PT FG
If you love excitement, flashy play and boisterous or emotional players then changes are you hated Dale Ellis. He was called Lamar Mundane for a reason. If you watched this dude in hopes of seeing anything smacking of highlight material you'll end up being more bored than a lesbian at a Drake concert.
What the man did was put the ball in the hole. A lot. He stayed under control, he was extremely efficient, and he had one of the deadly mid and long range games of the 80's & 90's. He was a scoring machine during his days as a Supersonic and a long range threat for the rest of his long & storied career.
Chuck Person AKA The Rifleman 6'8 230 Years Active: 1986-2000 Career Averages: 14.7 ppg 46% FG 36% 3PT FG
Chuck Person was a dead eye shooter with range out to 25 feet. You couldn't give him any type of space or leave him alone for fear he'll get hot. How dangerous was the Rifleman? He and his Indiana Pacers used to give the Boston Celtics heart attacks in the playoffs during the later years when the Celtics were trying to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals and challenge the Pistons.
Chuck Person and his mentee, a young Reggie Miller softened up the C's so much that they usually got handled by Cleveland Cavaliers in the next round. Chuck passed on his shooting touch to his younger brother Wesley as well. This cat was unstoppable when he got on.
Larry Bird AKA Larry Legend 6'9 230 Years Active: 1979-1992 Career Averages: 24.3 ppg 50% FG 38% 3PT FG
What can I say about Larry Bird that Bill Simmons, Bob Ryan, Jackie McMullan, Michael Holley, Peter May, Bill Shaughnessy, Tommy Heinsohn, Mike Gorman or Johnny Most hasn't already better? I know. He was the muthafuckin' man!
Larry Bird grew up dead ass broke with his multiple siblings with a single mother and a father that committed suicide when he was a boy. Larry Bird was focused on supporting his family through basketball so he busted his ass perfecting his skills in French Lick, Indiana. He dreamed of money every night and woke up early to put shots up.
He went to Indiana University to play ball, but he hated it there and dropped out. He got a job back home before he was convinced to go to Indiana State University and the rest is history. I learned one key thing from Larry Bird as a kid.
Nothing is given to you, you have to work for it. Once you get it, you work even harder to maintain it/stay on point. Salute to one of the greatest pure shooters, all around players and hard workers in NBA history.
Reggie Miller 6'7 185 Years Active: 1987-2005 Career Averages: 18.2 ppg 47% FG 40% 3PT FG
Reggie Miller is a machine. He is all about competition. He was the younger brother of one of the greatest basketball players of any era, Cheryl Miller. She constantly broke records and got attention and little brother Reggie wanted to attain the very same accolade that she did.
He was puttin' up shots at an early age perfecting his stroke and he worked on being able to get free and put up his shot with only 3 inches of space between himself and his defender.
Once he made it to the NBA, he was under the tutelage of several coaches and players like Vern Fleming and Chuck Person that helped him along even more. At one point in time, Reggie Miller became the most feared long range threat in the NBA.
He was the star of the Indiana Pacers when they were the class of the Eastern Conference and now he's a Gold medalist and a sure fire Hall Of Famer. He was also damn close to rocking kelly green.
Drazen Petrovich AKA Petro/Petrol 6'5 200 Years Active: 1989-1993 Career Averages: 15.4 ppg 47% FG 44% 3PT FG
Drazen Petrovic was a young player from Croatia that came to the NBA and instead of coming and going he became a gym rat and worked on his game nonstop. He put up shots and worked on his fundamentals, mechanics then worked on his ability to create shots off the dribble and create space. The end result? He became one of the best young superstars in the Eastern Conference and one of the deadliest knockdown shooters in the NBA.
Drazen did nothing but improve on different facets of his game and his confidence grew in leaps and bounds. He died in a car accident overseas but there is no doubt that he would've been a force to contend for years to come in the NBA. Rest in peace, "Petro".
Chris Mullin 6'7 215 Years Active: 1985-2001 Career Averages: 18.2 ppg 51% FG 38% 3PT FG
He was a New York baller. An East Coast Larry Bird without the passing ability. Pure shooter. Big East titan. Apollo legend. You did not want to see the ball in Chris Mulllin's hands with any amount of time left on the clock. He had developed the ability to create space and get off his shot even with the tiniest bit of space by honing his game and dedicating hours and hours to improving at the gym.
It wasn't enough for Chris Mullin to be able to be effective, he wanted to be on of the best. He hoped to dominate. As a part of the explosive trio Run TMC (Tim Hardaway, Mitch Ritchmond & Chris Mullin) he wanted to ascend to the top of the Western Conference and bring a championship to Oakland like Rick Barry did. He became an all great deadly shooter, a superstar and a two time Gold medalist instead. Not bad.
Kenny Smith AKA The Jet 6'3 170 Years Active: 1987-1997 Career Averages: 12.8 ppg 48% FG 40% 3PT FG
Kenny Smith started out as a high school beast from New York that played on some of the greatest teams in college basketball history at North Carolina and succeeded. When he was drafted by the lowly Sacramento Kings, he became a scoring point guard with the green light to shoot whenever and wherever he wanted. He took full advantage of that opportunity, too.
When he was traded to a contender he adapted his game in order to better distribute the ball, penetrate when possible and to work and get open to knock down threes. He was not only one of the most reliable three point shooters during the regular season, but he was increasingly accurate when it really counted, the NBA playoffs.
He was part of the deadly battery of three point shooters that included Vernon Maxwell, Mario Elie, Sam Cassell, Matt Bullard, Clyde Drexler and himself. When the smoke cleared, the Houston Rockets had won World Championships in 1994 & 1995. Heads were so sick of them that El-P exclaimed "Yo, muthafuck the Houston Rockets!" on the Company Flow jam "8 Steps To Perfection". Today "The Jet" is a part of the Emmy winning trio with Ernie Johnson & Charles Barkley on "Inside The NBA on TNT".
Jeff Hornacek 6'3 190 Years Active: 1986-2000 Career Averages: 14.5 ppg 50% FG 40% 3PT FG
Jeff Hornacek never really gets the props he deserves for being a deadly knockdown shooter. If you go back and look through his years with the Phoenix Suns & Utah Jazz and check his stats you'll see proof of that but the biggest proof you need is your memory. How many times did you see Jeff Hornacek knock down a clutch jumper or a big three at the expense of your team?
Hornacek wasn't at all flashy, he just got the job done. Time and time again he was a solid performer and he helped the Utah Jazz get to the NBA Finals just to lose to Michael Jordan & his Bulls. Even Jeff Hornacek's son used to rock a Michael Jordan jersey around the house for God's sake! I'm gonna give respect to one of the deadliest shooters in the NBA who often made me scream at my TV. Salute.
Peja Stojakovich 6'9 220 Years Active: 1998- Career Averages: 17.6 ppg 45% FG 40% 3PT FG
Peja is a deadly long range shooter in the tradition of Drazen Petrovic. Since he's a big guy, he can often wander of away from the basket but once he gets space and the ball? Swish! The best and worst thing about him is once he put down two in a row, he smells blood.
If Peja goes a streak and gets hot, just tackle his ass because he'll use a ball fake or a step back to create space and use his height to see over his defender. The result? Three points. He was a nightmare matchup during his days as a Sacramento King and he was immortalized in song by N.O.R.E. when he said "My shooters don't miss like Stojakovich". In order for a Euro dude to get name dropped in a Rap song they gotta be nice!
Paul Pierce AKA The Truth 6'7 230 Years Active: 1998- Career Averages: 22.7 ppg 44% FG 37% 3PT FG
Paul Pierce is possibly the greatest offensive talent the Boston Celtics franchise has ever had. Even moreso than Larry Bird. Paul Pierce is the perfect storm, he's competitive, driven, focused, emotional, a leader, and he's a worker. He isn't afraid to take the big shot and he takes responsibility for his entire team.
Paul Pierce works tirelessly on his game every Summer and stays focused during the season. At one point, Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce were one of the deadliest duos in the NBA. Paul Pierce learned about leadership and how to handle the media and the burden of being the team captain from him. He also learned where he was most effective on the court from him as well as Walker would feed him the ball where he could do the most damage.
Paul Pierce's athleticism, strength, speed, ball handling, passing and driving ability make him a nightmare matchup. He can step back, up fake you, ball fake then use his dribbling ability to go around you and split defenders.
This is why you have to give him some space...problem is, if you give him space he can just pull up and J you right in your grill or step back from three point land and splash! His jumping ability makes it so that even if you stay close and keep a hand in his face he'll still knock it down. There's a reason Shaquille O' Neal called the man "The Truth".
Dirk Nowitzki 7'0 240 Years Active: 1998- Career Averages: 22.9 ppg 47% FG 38% 3PT FG
The first time I ever saw footage of Dirk Nowitzki he was a 17 year old German pro that was about 6'9 or 6'10 at the time. He had an automatic jumper out to 25 feet, excellent footwork and he was pretty quick and athletic for a European player. I thought nothing of it because I heard that spiel before.
Those players usually came to the NBA and got splinters in their ass or went to college and were just OK and never got drafted to the L. The next time I saw Dirk Nowitzki was at the Nike Hoop Summit the next Summer before the 1998 NBA Draft...he was even better than advertised. The top draft prospect couldn't stop him no matter what they tried. The Celtics wanted him but they had to settle for Paul Pierce instead.
Imagine if Dirk Nowitzki would've come to Boston and played with Antoine Walker instead of Paul Pierce. Imagine if Dallas drafted Paul Pierce instead how different the NBA or the dynamics of those two cities would be now.
A 7'0 shooter that can drive, shoot fadeaways, create his own shot off the dribble and finish at the rim even with contact? Sometimes I watch him drop 40 and he looks like he's not even working all that hard even after the jab steps, spin moves and ball fakes. What nickname would Shaq have given him?
Ray Allen AKA Jesus Shuttlesworth 6'5 205 Years Active: 1996- Career Averages: 20.7 ppg 45% FG 40% 3PT FG
Ray Allen is the end all be all of NBA shooters. When he catches the ball behind the line people either hold their breaths in anticipation, close their eyes or through their arms up to signify a three point goal. Some throw their arms up in exasperation because he was left open. In reality, Ray Allen can create his own shot off the dribble just as well as run through screens and picks to catch and shoot.
To make things worse, Ray Allen can shoot threes in transition...it's his specialty! His point guard Rajon Rondo specializes in transition basketball...kerosene meet match, match meet kerosene. Fwoosh!
The man also known as Sugar Ray [II] and Jesus Shuttlesworth needs only a few inches to get his shot off and with his perfect shooting forms he can be leaning backwards or forwards and/or get hit while shooting and still hit nothing but the bottom of the net. Put him on the court with Paul Pierce, Rasheed Wallace and Eddie House and you'd rather play Russian Roulette with half the chambers full instead.
Also receiving votes: Danny Ainge, Dan Majerle, Eddie Johnson, Ricky Pierce, World B. Free, Dana Barros, Craig Hodges, Jim Paxson, Steve Smith, Robert Horry, Vernon Maxwell, Mario Elie, Derek Harper, Mark Aguirre, Kelly Tripucka, Sam Perkins, Wesley Perkins, Hedo Turkoglu, Detlef Schrempf and Kiki Vanderweghe