In a world where the NBA is dominated by strong slam dunks and other flashy moves in a highlight-driven game, the three-point shot has become a lost art. This is unfortunate as it remains one of the most important weapons a team can have.
A well-timed three-pointer can accomplish much more than just getting a team one additional point. It's a shot that can become a real equalizer in any game. It can give a trailing team the lead in the dying seconds, help boost momentum or even drive one last nail into the coffin, putting a game away for good.
Many noteworthy players have made the three-point shot a speciality of sorts. Reggie Miller is often considered to be one of the greatest three-point shooters of our time. For eighteen years, he played with the Indiana Pacers and was known for being a strong shooter in high-pressure situations, and even held the NBA record for most three-point shots for a period of time. With a 2,560/6,486 total for a .395 percentage, he was very proficient from beyond the arc.
Of course, players like Jason Kidd, Peja Stojakovic and Dale Ellis were also noteworthy stars from beyond the line. Kidd made 1,988 shots in his career and Stojakovic and Ellis both went over .400 in theirs.
There are still a number of proficient three-point shooters in the NBA . These include a number of stars who have become very handsomely paid as a result of their skills. This is a look at the top ten three-point shooters who are currently in the NBA as of the 2013-14 season. This list considers the best overall career stats of active NBA players only. These snipers may not be the best in the game this season, but their career numbers still speak for themselves. All stats are of Dec 18, 2013.
10 Jason Richardson - 1,577/4,248 - .371
Jason Richardson is making $6.2 million per year with the Philadelphia 76ers this season. He led the NBA with 243 three-pointers in 2007 while with the Charlotte Bobcats and made a career-high $14 million with the Phoenix Suns in 2010. James Anderson and Spencer Hawes have largely taken over the job for the Sixers this year while Richardson has been injured for an extensive amount of time. Whether or not the 32-year-old sniper will get be able to ask more from his next contract is extremely doubtful.
9 Jamal Crawford - 1,587/4,528 - .350
Jamal Crawford has played for six teams in the NBA since 2000 and is currently with the Los Angeles Clippers. He's got a $5.2 million salary with the Clips and made a career high $10.8 million in 2010 with the Atlanta Hawks. He's had ten seasons with more than a hundred three-pointers and has become the key long-range specialist for the Clips. Of course, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have eclipsed Crawford in terms of production in general, with J.J. Redick being not too far off.
8 Kobe Bryant - 1,640/4,895 - .335
As one of the association's best stars with the Los Angeles Lakers since 1996, Kobe Bryant has been leading the NBA in points in four years. He led the league in terms of most completed field goals for three years and has landed 1,640 three-point shots. His career average of 25.5 ppg was built partly on his three-point skills, but his .454 overall field goal percentage makes him a bigger threat from inside the arc. It's no wonder why the ageing superstar is still earning $30 million per year with the Lakers.
7 Steve Nash - 1,682/3,928 - .428
Although he has become more prominent for having 10,278 assists in his career, leading the NBA in assists for six years, the Los Angeles Lakers' Steve Nash has also been an effective three-point shooter. He's has eight 100+ shot seasons and has amassed 1,682 for his career. Nash has also sunk 3,049 free throws with a .904 percentage in that category, too. The three-pointers are a small part of the reason why the NBA's oldest player (40) is earning $9.3 million this year. The Canadian sensation did get $13 million per year while with the Phoenix Suns in 2009-10.
6 Vince Carter - 1,697/4,516 - .376
Is Vinsanity dead? Although Vince Carter has nearly 1,700 three-pointers for his career, he is not as big of a star with the Dallas Mavericks as he was with the Toronto Raptors or New Jersey Nets. While he has a 20.6 ppg career average, he is no longer a regular starter in the NBA and is behind Dirk Nowitzki and Jose Calderon on the Mavs depth chart in terms of three-point shooting. His $3.1 million salary is a miniscule number when compared to the $15 million he made in his heyday with the Nets.
5 Rashard Lewis - 1,761/4,549 - .387
Rashard Lewis is being paid $1.4 million as a member of the Miami Heat this year. He's played in the NBA since 1999 and spent most of his career with the Seattle Supersonics before they moved to Oklahoma City. In 2008-09 he led the NBA with a 220/554 three-point total with the Orlando Magic and was paid $16.5 million that year. He's only started in one NBA game with the Heat in the first quarter of the 2013-14 season and sadly does not have much value in the league anymore.
4 Chauncey Billups - 1,824/4,705 - .388
Chauncey Billups has come to the relative tail-end of his career. He's been in the NBA with seven teams since 1997 and is currently playing for the Detroit Pistons. The $2.5 million that he earns today comes primarily from his experience; he earned his career-high $13 million a year in 2010 with the New York Knicks. Although he has 1,824 three-point shots and a .388 career percentage, his totals have declined as he hasn't been a regular starter since 2011.
3 Paul Pierce - 1,845/4,999 - .369
After being with the Boston Celtics since 1999, Paul Pierce recently signed with the Brooklyn Nets for a $15.3 million per year contract. Pierce's skills in rebounding and free-throw shooting have become more prominent in recent years than his three-point skills. Of course, he has an average of 21.6 points per game for his career, which has been his main selling point. His long-range abilities are a small part of what he does, with an average of .400 or better in this field for only three seasons of his career.
2 Jason Terry - 1,923/5,071 - .379
Jason Terry has been in the NBA since 1996 with Atlanta, Dallas and Boston, and just recently joined the Brooklyn Nets. He makes just $5.2 million per year in Brooklyn but has earned $11 million per year in the past with Dallas. His work has been important over the years but even with 1,923 career shots, he is not as important to the Nets as their two other three-point specialists, Joe Johnson and Alan Anderson. Johnson is making $21 million per year, almost perfectly proportional to the four times as many shots he makes than Terry.
1 Ray Allen - 2,888/7,204 - .401
Since 1996, Ray Allen has played for the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle Supersonics, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, but one thing has been certain during his time in the league: Ray Allen has been a trustworthy player for his skills from beyond the three-point line. He's led the NBA in threes in three years and has totalled a percentage of .400 for most of his career. His 2,888 buckets and 7,200 attempts are both NBA records. The fact that Allen is only being paid $3.2 million for his work is amazing considering he was making $18 million with Boston a few short years ago.
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