Now more than ever, three-point shooting in the NBA is an art form that fundamentally changes the balance of power from year to year. Though we’re not halfway through this season, the league’s top snipers are starting to stand out from the rest of the field.
The best of the best
Familiar names like Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and Indiana Pacers’ Buddy Hield are in attendance, but a few names might surprise you.
“The Wrestlers” Kevin O’Connor recently shared a powerful metric formulated by Cerebro Sports, which tracks the NBA’s three-point efficiency. The measure intelligently combines three-point percentage with volume to identify the most efficient long-range shooters on a healthy number of tries.
In this way, the statistic eliminates the misleading three-point percentages for players who only shoot small crowds, giving insight into who is making and making the most outside shots.
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It’s no surprise that Steph Curry is leading the way as he has undoubtedly established himself as the greatest marksman to ever walk the planet. Next up is Portland Trailblazers Damian Lillard, piecing together a stellar season at the forefront of revamped blazers. Cleveland Cavaliers and MVP candidate Donovan Mitchell takes 3rd place. Lillard’s teammate and rising star Anfernee Simons is fourth on the list. “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson sits in fifth, Warriors’ versatile wing Andrew Wiggins is a surprising name in 6th, and Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield rounds out the top 7.
As you can see, Simons’s additions, and Wiggins in particular, speak volumes for their skills behind the bow. Even more surprising is that the Warriors have three of the top seven three-pointers in the league according to this metric; However, they haven’t overwhelmed this season, going 14-16 and finishing 11th in the Western Conference. The tradeoff for the warriors lies in their unconscious three-point shooting; They rank last in the league in free throw attempts per night.
What’s even more intriguing is that none of the players mentioned are in the top 5 in standalone three-point percentages this season. Those honors currently go to Boston Celtics’ Malcolm Brogdon, Phoenix Suns’ Damion Lee, LA Clippers’ Luke Kennard, New Orleans Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram and Celtics’ Al Horford.
Despite their efficiency, the volumes are significantly lower than someone like Curry attempting 11.6 three-pointers per game compared to Brogdon’s 3.9.
Revolutionary metrics are here to stay
Additionally, Wiggins is the only player to rank in the top 7 on the Cerebro Sports metric and also ranks in the top 10 on the league-wide three-point percentage, which is no surprise considering he played for the struggling Warriors has been stable and falling at 6.8 attempts per contest and a percentage of a sizzling 45% in the right volume ratio.
We live in an NBA world where advanced stats are affecting the game more than ever, and while some metrics may have been detrimental to the game, nifty stats like these move the game forward.