A whole key to an effective offense in basketball in this day and age, is the ability to make the big shots when needed. To be able to consistently hit shots from behind the arc is the answer for beating teams. It’s the pure shooters from deep that make every team have nightmares – the offense always covets the ability of a deep ball specialist on the outside. Those are the guys that get the ball off screens and usually often in the big games – and they often end up being the final reason as to why the winner is such.
First we need to truly understand what a deep threat actually is. It’s not necessarily about the number of 3-point FG’s Made, it’s not about excessive attempts, it’s not even really about obnoxious percentages the players put up. Currently, there is no limit in game changing shooters right now, in the NBA. But, there are a select few, that defenses have to specifically watch for.
Let’s take a look.
5. Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets
Joe Harris’ inclusion on this list could surprise some observers, but teams around the league are aware of his skills and the threat of his potential as a deep shooting threat. Harris averaged a sick 44% 3p shooting in his last 5 seasons, and already amassed 700+ three pointers during his 5 seasons with the Nets. The 6-6 SF displays the ability to separate from coverage, and then be able to knock down balls along the arc. Considering he quickly has had plenty of deep buckets over past several seasons, it is hard to question his spot as one of the best deep ball shooters in the NBA. I would take him on my team in a second.
4. Paul George, LA Clippers
Paul George has explosive offensive abilities, and there aren’t a load of deep ball NBA shooters that have a more complete arsenal than George. The 10 year pro is much better shooter than some give credit for, and he has a very good understanding of when to fire the guns. He can always rely on his silky game to beat defenders – because of this, PG13 has tallied many games of 3p explosions. Make no mistake about it, he is a player who isn’t afraid to attack the scoreboard, when he has to. We watched him in 2019, demolish opponents for an, at the time, career high of 41% 3p FG, showing why he is the real deal. He is on his way to his best shooting pct from deep. He has more than shown he is a legit deep threat.
3. Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
Zach LaVine has put up an aveage of 3+ three pt FGM seasons over the last 2 seasons – and has been a nightmare for opponents despite facing numerous double teams in almost every game. He has shown, especially last year, the reason he’s better than just a good SG, his excellent ability to routinely take the big shots has been a treat to watch. LaVine has averaged 38% 3p shooting over his 7 year career, which includes almost 800 career three point shots made. This year he has knocked down an outstanding 43% outside and 52% shooting overall – the 25 year old has become a true deep threat in the NBA.
2. Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers
His distinct ability to impact the game as a lethal shooter creates major issues for teams and defensive schemes. The notion of slowing down the Blazers and the 30 yr old Damian Lillard, is consistently very difficult – and taking into consideration, the current lack of scoring help on the team, the probability of getting the explosive 6-2 PG his shots should make any Blazers fan giddy with excitement. Lillard always gets a ton of shots because he is that guy who is always willing to put it up and has the heart to take it over, as well as carrying around a stout 3+ three point shots made/game in 5 of the last 6 seasons. He can stretch the court, but that’s not his only attribute, he’s simply a great player.
Deadly, bottom line.
1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Are we going to pretend we are surprised about this? Stephen Curry has stellar skills and great quickness – he specializes in coming off of double moves on the outside. He can drive, hit from midrange and obviously from deep, with a career 41% 3p shooting. Curry also displays the fiery burst to blow past defenders on the simplest picks or a dribble. No one can question his impact as the NBA’s most explosive deep shooting threat. The 185lb shooter has torched the NBA from the beginning of his 12 year career. As of this article, he has put up 202 games of 4 or more three pt makes in a game over his last 5 healthy seasons, that’s an astonishing 64% of his games played. Think about this – he has a better chance to knock down four 3 pointers in a game than Russell Westbrook has to make a free throw.
He brings ridiculous accuracy, and makes frequent “wow” plays.
With that being said, Curry’s insane shooting skills will put him on top of VTD’s best deep threat shooters.
Remember, big plays come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but having that great deep shooter has a distinct scare factor going into any game, holds great impact on the way a defense will play. These guys have the skills to force a defense to adjust for them. It’s difficult to figure whether in a moment’s notice they can get into a white hot shooting streak. However, these players are definitely capable of “turning it on” at a moment’s notice.