A two-time MVP tops my list of NBA's best shooters
Posted: Friday November 3, 2006 5:00PM; Updated: Friday November 3, 2006 11:54PM
Nash keeps opponents off-balance with his perimeter shooting and his drives to the hoop.
You say shooting is a lost art. I say look at Bob Cousy's career mark of 38 percent from the field.
You say players have lost their touch from the perimeter. I say Oscar Robertson bulled his way to a series of 15-footers and rarely had to shoot from 23 feet, 9 inches.
When a litany of wannabe NBA aesthetes point to a spaced-out game that they swear used to be better, I'd like to point out that the 1986 leader in three-point field goals (Larry Bird, a good forward for the Boston Celtics) hit on 82 bombs over the course of that season.
There are many reasons to pick on the NBA, but decreased performance from the perimeter isn't one of them. Here's a list of the best shooters this league has to offer.
1. Steve Nash
Nash is known more for the drive-and-dish than the catch-and-shoot, but let's be clear here. What sets up the drive? Is it the dish? Hardly. It's Nash's superior range and touch from the perimeter. He isn't the fastest guy in the league, so he needs the threat of a well-placed long jumper to force defenders to play him tight.
2. Ray Allen
His stroke is fundamentally pure, honed by hours of practice both in games and out -- Allen's six 3-point attempts per contest is league mark. Able to rise above defenders with his athleticism, or sneak his way into open spaces with superior footwork, Allen is already second on the NBA's all-time list with more than 1,700 career 3-pointers.
3. Ben Gordon
His numbers may not blind you, but Gordon's ability with the ball cannot be called into question. The way he adds arc to a 20-footer is a throwback to a time when shooters couldn't rely on athleticism, or get away with shooting line-drive jumpers after hanging in the air for a day and a half.
4. Mike Miller
Miller's refined stroke is above reproach; it's the results in the clutch that we worry about. How can something so beautiful so often result in something so worrying? Still, Miller is just 26, he's a 40-percent career shooter from behind the arc, and he has plenty of time to work on that legacy.
5. Kevin Martin
Miller's polar opposite in terms of fluidity and aesthetics, Martin vaults ahead in this list for the pure production he provides. Martin is a money shooter from all angles, and though his unorthodox windup before release may confuse defenders now (some see traces of Hideo Nomo, I liken it to Rick Sutcliffe), he'll be shooting the high percentages for the bulk of his NBA career.