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Old 02-16-2018, 11:00 AM
 
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Taking a stab at this:


Larry Bird
Steph Curry
Reggie Miller
Ray Allen
Dale Ellis


I considered guys like Klay Thompson, Glenn Rice & Dell Curry for the last spot but went with Dale Ellis. If Klay keeps it up for at least a few more years, then he becomes the guy. I am not old enough to have seen Maravich, so I wasn't able to fully consider him, though I recognize that he will be a popular option. I also didn't get to see Jerry West, so I couldn't really consider him, though he would possibly be a popular option.


Also, "best shooter" is a generic term and some people might automatically assume "best 3 point shooter", though I tried to take it as "best overall jump shooter" or something like that.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCityTheBridge View Post
In 14-15, not close to Curry's most efficient season, he shot 48% on catch & shoot 3s. That would be 72% eFG%. In-game & straight absurd.

Kerr was a great shooter, but he's not on the same planet. He always had a much lower degree of difficulty on his shots. And he had a stretch of his career (his best shooting years) with a shortened 3 point line.

That same year, Curry was shooting 42.5% from 25-29 feet. Lillard, the next closest guy, was shooting ~13% from that range.
Curry is one of the tops all-time but lets not be silly, the rules change. Reggie Miller for example never had the luxury of playing his prime without the hand check.

Bird played in a MUCH rougher era as well.

Curry is awesome, rings, mvps, not taking anything away from his enormous success.

But in the current era the 3-point shot is emphasized, he has tons of other talent around him so you can't focus entirely on him and you can't play up on him and hand check like in days past and you sure can't hit him like a truck or hack his arm nearly off without getting fines and ejections.

In summary, Curry is awesome but we just don't know how others would have done in the league TODAY.

I know this much, Curry would have had a rough time playing in Jordans era. He would have been great but they would have beat on him. Literally. (go look at a pic of rookie Jordan vs. 1995 Jordan)
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Old 02-17-2018, 02:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCityTheBridge View Post
In 14-15, not close to Curry's most efficient season, he shot 48% on catch & shoot 3s. That would be 72% eFG%. In-game & straight absurd.

Kerr was a great shooter, but he's not on the same planet. He always had a much lower degree of difficulty on his shots. And he had a stretch of his career (his best shooting years) with a shortened 3 point line.

That same year, Curry was shooting 42.5% from 25-29 feet. Lillard, the next closest guy, was shooting ~13% from that range.
72 efg% is much different than shooting 75% from 3.

Yes, Curry makes more difficult shots than Kerr, but given the same wide open set shots in rhythm hes not twice the shooter Kerr is. Guys like Redick or Korver could probably also hang right with Curry when it comes to just shooting set shots.
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Old 02-17-2018, 02:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JL View Post
Dale Ellis and Dell Curry should be added to the list. They were awesome!
I was waiting for someone to say Dell Curry.

Heck, in one shot he made the best shooter in the NBA... his son.
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Old 02-20-2018, 11:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
72 efg% is much different than shooting 75% from 3.

Yes, Curry makes more difficult shots than Kerr, but given the same wide open set shots in rhythm hes not twice the shooter Kerr is. Guys like Redick or Korver could probably also hang right with Curry when it comes to just shooting set shots.
I am well aware that eFG% is not the same as 3P%. But 72% eFG on catch and shoot threes is ridiculous. 48% on catch and shoot 3s is ridiculous. And his volume makes him peerless. He was shooting an absurd ~8 threes per game in '12-'13 through '14-'15. Then he peaked at 11 per game in '15-'16, and has put up 10 per game in the two seasons since.

Larry Bird averaged less than 2 per game for his career. Kerr, too, shot less than 2. Even Korver peaked at 6 and averages 4.5 on his career. Harden has followed in Curry's footsteps, rising from 7 threes per game in '14-'15 to 10.7 this year. Of course, Harden shoots them at 38%--just shy of his 39% career best--and Curry has never shot 3s so "poorly."
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Old 02-20-2018, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathguy View Post
Curry is one of the tops all-time but lets not be silly, the rules change. Reggie Miller for example never had the luxury of playing his prime without the hand check.
Handchecking would be more disruptive to a player like Rod Strickland (Kyrie Irving) than it would be to Reggie Miller (Steph Curry). Besides, handchecking still occurs in the NBA today, just as some folks are quick to point out that "zones" (illegal defense) weren't consistently called in the 80s and 90s.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathguy View Post
Bird played in a MUCH rougher era as well.
This comes up often, but people rarely mention that the NBA is much deeper talent-wise than it was 30-40 years ago. Of course, most people focus on the top layer of talent (Wilt, Kareem, Larry), who were probably comparable to the most talented players today, but the 150th best guy in today's NBA is most certainly better than the 150th best player 35 years ago.

I'll have to find the infographic, but something on the order of 40% of NBA players born in 1950 were born in New York, Philadelphia or Chicago. It was a game dominated by the urban Northeast. That's hardly the case today. As the game has expanded to other regions of the U.S. and beyond, the level of competition has gotten higher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathguy View Post
But in the current era the 3-point shot is emphasized, he has tons of other talent around him so you can't focus entirely on him and you can't play up on him and hand check like in days past and you sure can't hit him like a truck or hack his arm nearly off without getting fines and ejections.
It's not just his 3-point shooting. Curry is also a better free throw shooter than those guys and could possibly finish as the GOAT free throw shooter. Right now there's 0.18 percentage points separating him and Nash, the current GOAT free throw shooter. There's really no explanation for virtually everyone else being a worse FT shooter on top of being a worse 3P shooter since the length of the FT line has remain unchanged and it was as important to the game then as it is today.

Regardless of era, this is probably one of the most objective questions we'll be able to answer, unlike the "who is the greatest player" questions. The only thing that complicates it is that we don't have any shot location data past the 2001 season. Most people acknowledge that Bird was a great midrange shooter, perhaps the greatest of all time, but there's no way to validate that. We don't know to what extent his overall FG% was inflated by field goals that were closer to the basket.
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Old 02-20-2018, 06:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCityTheBridge View Post
I am well aware that eFG% is not the same as 3P%. But 72% eFG on catch and shoot threes is ridiculous. 48% on catch and shoot 3s is ridiculous. And his volume makes him peerless. He was shooting an absurd ~8 threes per game in '12-'13 through '14-'15. Then he peaked at 11 per game in '15-'16, and has put up 10 per game in the two seasons since.

Larry Bird averaged less than 2 per game for his career. Kerr, too, shot less than 2. Even Korver peaked at 6 and averages 4.5 on his career. Harden has followed in Curry's footsteps, rising from 7 threes per game in '14-'15 to 10.7 this year. Of course, Harden shoots them at 38%--just shy of his 39% career best--and Curry has never shot 3s so "poorly."
Curry is peerless in a 3 ball era that has been around about 5-6 years. Who knows what the NBA landscape looks like if players were allowed to hone their craft for 8-12 3pt attempts per game back in the 70s, 80s, 90s or 00s. There are likely many good shooters that would’ve shot more and many that would’ve replaced 2 pt attempts with 3 pt attempts.

Harden is a good example of a player making the transition into the 3 ball dominant era. His first year in Houston he averaged 6 attempts which is a lot historically and was the most of his career but now he’s throwing up 11 attempts! And his accuracy has actually got better with more attempts - he’s shooting 38.4% this season which is the 2nd best in his career (36% for his career up until this season). He’s not far off from Curry’s 41.3%.
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Old 02-21-2018, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
Curry is peerless in a 3 ball era that has been around about 5-6 years. Who knows what the NBA landscape looks like if players were allowed to hone their craft for 8-12 3pt attempts per game back in the 70s, 80s, 90s or 00s. There are likely many good shooters that would’ve shot more and many that would’ve replaced 2 pt attempts with 3 pt attempts.
We never hear the same argument in reverse. What if Dwight Howard, Karl Anthony Towns, Boogie Cousins, Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis, etc. were allowed to hone their craft by being fed in the post 25-30 times per game? We NEVER hear that argument in a discussion of the greatest post players of all time. And we shouldn't hear it because it ultimately doesn't matter. "Best of all time" doesn't mean "best who could have possibly ever done it if given the chance."

I think what also gets lost in this discussion is that the improvement in 3P% has been driven almost entirely by big men. What also gets lost is that there are still a lot of marquee guards in the modern era who do not shoot the 3 ball well. Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose have a worse career 3P% than Jordan, Drexler, Finley, Richmond and Starks. Would those guys be even worse shooters if they played in the 90s?

We could say that the 3P% of yesteryear was deflated because they didn't take many 3 pointers. But you could equally say that overall FG% today is deflated because they take so many 3 pointers, which has led to a marked decline in FG% since the 80s. That's why, IMO, a 50/40/90 season is more impressive today than it was in 1987; it is tremendously difficult to keep your FG% above 50% when you take more than a third of your shots from behind the arc, as KD does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiehaskell View Post
Harden is a good example of a player making the transition into the 3 ball dominant era. His first year in Houston he averaged 6 attempts which is a lot historically and was the most of his career but now he’s throwing up 11 attempts! And his accuracy has actually got better with more attempts - he’s shooting 38.4% this season which is the 2nd best in his career (36% for his career up until this season). He’s not far off from Curry’s 41.3%.
This actually cements the argument in Curry's favor IMO. He's been able to stay way ahead of the field in number of 3 pointers made while shooting a ridiculously high % (4th all time).

And we can clearly see that more attempts doesn't always translate into a higher percentage. If you're going to note the positive relationship between Harden's %/attempts from last year to this year, then you should also note the negative relationship between his %/attempts the previous six seasons.
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Old 02-21-2018, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,272 posts, read 26,273,936 times
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Here's data from NBA stats. This is data for the Top 10 players by 3 point attempts. Players today are taking more 3 pointers, but they're not necessarily more accurate.

2017 - 38.0% (2396/6294)
2012 - 36.1% (1177/3258)
2008 - 37.8% (1758/4645)
2003 - 37.4% (1564/4183)
1998 - 41.3% (1498/3628)*
1997 - 37.6% (1906/5064)

*3P line returned to 23'9

I highly doubt Reggie Miller or Glen Rice would shoot better if they played today. They'd probably shoot a lot more though. What's interesting is that the best shooters became better 3 point shooters when the line was returned to 23'9...even if they took fewer 3s.

The question isn't really what Bird, Price or Miller would be like in today's game. The question is what Malone, Dale Davis, etc. would be like in today's game. It's not so much that the best shooters convert at a higher clip than they did years ago. It's more that forwards and centers play a more "European" game and shoot 3s a lot better than the big men of the 00s and 90s did.
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:42 AM
 
3,565 posts, read 1,878,325 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Here's data from NBA stats. This is data for the Top 10 players by 3 point attempts. Players today are taking more 3 pointers, but they're not necessarily more accurate.

2017 - 38.0% (2396/6294)
2012 - 36.1% (1177/3258)
2008 - 37.8% (1758/4645)
2003 - 37.4% (1564/4183)
1998 - 41.3% (1498/3628)*
1997 - 37.6% (1906/5064)

*3P line returned to 23'9

I highly doubt Reggie Miller or Glen Rice would shoot better if they played today. They'd probably shoot a lot more though. What's interesting is that the best shooters became better 3 point shooters when the line was returned to 23'9...even if they took fewer 3s.

The question isn't really what Bird, Price or Miller would be like in today's game. The question is what Malone, Dale Davis, etc. would be like in today's game. It's not so much that the best shooters convert at a higher clip than they did years ago. It's more that forwards and centers play a more "European" game and shoot 3s a lot better than the big men of the 00s and 90s did.
Players tend to shoot lower percentages as volumes go up. Part of what makes this era of shooters so impressive is the volume that they are shooting with this accuracy. Rule changes and strategy changes have brought different kinds of players to the forefront of the NBA than in yesteryear. In the 1980s, I doubt that Kyle Korver gets 10 minutes a game. He certainly doesn't shoot 4+ 3s a game in that era. In today's NBA, he flourishes.
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