The 20 Best 3-Point Shooters in NBA History

Profile Picture: Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy

February 22nd, 2021

The NBA introduced the three-point shot during the 1979-80 season, and players largely viewed the new innovation with a mixture of indifference and suspicion. San Diego Clippers point guard Brian Taylor led all shooters that year with 90 treys made, and it would be nine more years before Danny Ainge would become the first player to hit 100 threes in a season.

Fast forward to 2018-19, the NBA’s last full 82-game campaign, and 106 players made at least 100 threes. James Harden led the way with 378 three-pointers, which is more than the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Lakers, Kansas City Kings, and Portland Trail Blazers combined to hit in that inaugural season 39 years before.

In honor of the league’s greatest weapon, we’re turning the spotlight on the 20 Best 3-point shooters in NBA history.

20. Craig Hodges

Position: Shooting Guard
Teams: San Diego Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls
Career three-pointers made: 563
Career three-point percentage: 40%

Craig Hodges didn’t make it into The Last Dance, but he did make it onto our list thanks to his three consecutive victories in the NBA Three-Point Shootout. The longtime Bull led the league in three-point percentage in 1986 and 1988 and was a career 40% shooter from beyond the arc.

19. Paul Pierce

Position: Small Forward
Teams: Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers
Career three-pointers made: 2,143
Career three-point percentage: 36.8%

What Paul Pierce lacked in accuracy, he more than made up for in volume. The NBA champ ranks eighth all-time in three-point attempts, and seldom passed up a chance to launch from deep regardless of how much time was left on the clock or how many defenders were draped all over him.

18. Jason Terry

Position: Shooting Guard
Teams: Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks
Career three-pointers made: 2,282
Career three-point percentage: 38%

Although known primarily for his quickness and swagger, “The Jet” was also a first-rate shooter who finished in the top 10 in made three-pointers nine times. His finest season came in 2006-07, when the outspoken guard averaged 16.7 points and hit 43.8% of his treys.

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Dallas Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd #2 in an NBA game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks. (Photo by Albert Pena/Icon Sportswire)

17. Jason Kidd

Position: Point Guard
Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks
Career three-pointers made: 1,988
Career three-point percentage: 34.9%

Jason Kidd earned his spot on our list through practice and pure persistence. The 10-time All-Star barely hoisted any threes during the first 10 years of his career, but gradually became more comfortable with the shot midway through his run with the Nets, and took a career-high 5.4 treys in 2004-05. Kidd became one of the league’s most prolific (and least-likely) three-point bombers after that point, and today finds himself in the top 10 in career three-pointers made.

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Phoenix Suns Guard Jamal Crawford looks on before an NBA game between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Clippers. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

16. Jamal Crawford

Position: Shooting Guard
Teams: Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, Brooklyn Nets
Career three-pointers made: 2,221
Career three-point percentage: 34.8%

Nearly anyone can hit a three-pointer, but it takes a special kind of player to nail a shot from 23 feet away when he’s getting hammered on the wrist or pushed out of bounds. Jamal Crawford makes it onto our list for holding the NBA record for four-point plays with 54. His special ability to absorb contact and make his shots made him a legend during his 20-year career.

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Houston Rockets guard James Harden is defended closely by Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

15. James Harden

Position: Shooting Guard
Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Brooklyn Nets
Career three-pointers made: 2,400
Career three-point percentage: 36.4%

Harden’s greatest asset is his ability to get to the line, but his three-point shot isn’t half bad either. “The Beard” averaged an outrageous 11.9 three-point attempts per game from 2018-20 and led the league in scoring each season during that span. He presently ranks fifth in career three-pointers made, and is second behind Steph Curry among all active players.

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Vince Carter. (Icon Sports Media)

14. Vince Carter

Position: Shooting Guard
Teams: Toronto Raptors, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks
Career three-pointers made: 2,290
Career three-point percentage: 37.1

It may seem surprising to see a high-flyer like Vince Carter on our list, but the former Slam Dunk champ shot 40% or better from deep four times, and began relying on his three-point shot more regularly as his all-world athleticism began to fade. The eight-time All-Star presently ranks fifth all-time in career three-point attempts, and sixth in career three-pointers made.

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New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick (4) reactors to hitting a three point basket against the Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire)

13. JJ Redick

Position: Shooting Guard
Teams: Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Pelicans
Career three-pointers made: 1,928
Career three-point percentage: 41.5%

Few shooters have made a smoother transition to the pros than JJ Redick, who shot 41% from the three-point line in his senior season at Duke and 38.8% from three in his rookie season in Orlando. The two-time All-American has since hit 40% or better from deep seven times, and ranks fifth among all active players in three-point field goals.

12. Tim Legler

Position: Shooting Guard
Teams: Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards
Career three-pointers made: 260
Career three-point percentage: 43.1%

The only undrafted player on our list, Legler patiently bid his time in the USBL and CBA before enjoying a productive 10-year career with six different franchises. His finest season came in 1995-96, when he shot 50.7% from the field, 52.2% from deep, and 86.3% from the line, and won the NBA Three-Point Contest by becoming the first player to record 20 points or more in all three rounds.

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Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki is guarded by New York Knicks forward Kenyon Martin. (Photo by Albert Pena/Icon Sportswire)

11. Dirk Nowitzki

Position: Power Forward
Team: Dallas Mavericks
Career three-pointers made: 1,982
Career three-point percentage: 38%

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook is generally regarded as the most unblockable shot in NBA history, but Nowitzki’s high-release three was a close second. The 7’0” star could get off his shot against virtually any opponent, and did so 5,210 times over his 21-year career. Nowitzki never led the league in three-point accuracy, but he hit plenty of bombs when it mattered most.

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Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris (12) goes to basket past Los Angeles Lakers Anthony Davis (3) and LeBron James (23). (Photo by Ringo Chiu/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)

10. Joe Harris

Position: Shooting Guard
Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers, Brooklyn Nets
Career three-pointers made: 726
Career three-point percentage: 43.6%

This spot may seem a little high for a player who started just 11 games over his first two seasons, but Harris has more than made up for lost time since arriving in Brooklyn. The Virginia grad led the NBA in three-point percentage in 2018-19 and is tops again this year at 50.7%. Don’t be surprised if that number continues to rise as defenders slack off Harris to devote more attention to James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving.

9. Klay Thompson

Position: Shooting Guard
Team: Golden State Warriors
Career three-pointers made: 1,798
Career three-point percentage: 41.9%

Injuries over the past two seasons have slowed down Klay Thompson’s assault on the record books, but Steph’s “Splash Brother” still ranks in the top 20 in career three-pointers made and career three-point percentage. Klay’s finest moment came on Oct. 29, 2018, when he hit an NBA-best 14 threes (including 10 in the first half alone) against the Chicago Bulls.

8. Drazen Petrovic

Position: Shooting Guard
Teams: Portland Trail Blazers, New Jersey Nets
Career three-pointers made: 255
Career three-point percentage: 43.7%

Petrovic’s career was cut short by a tragic car crash, but he was undisputedly one of the best shooters in the league during his brief time in the NBA. The Croatian marksman finished in the top three in three-point field-goal percentage in three of his four seasons in the Association, and still ranks fourth overall in career three-point accuracy.

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Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics. (Photo by John M. McDonough/Icon Sportswire)

7. Larry Bird

Position: Small Forward
Team: Boston Celtics
Career three-pointers made: 649
Career three-point percentage: 38%

Larry Bird only hit 649 threes in his 13-year career and never led the NBA in three-point accuracy, but he secured his place on our list in 1988 when he entered the locker room prior to that year’s NBA Three-Point Shootout in Chicago and casually asked, “Who’s coming in second?” The Hick from French Lick then breezed his way to his third straight win in the contest an hour later without even bothering to take off his warm-up jacket. More than 33 years later, it’s still one of the purest baller moves in NBA history.

6. Kyle Korver

Position: Shooting Guard
Teams: Philadelphia 76ers, Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks
Career three-pointers made: 2,450
Career three-point percentage: 42.9%

You don’t earn a kickass nickname like "Threezus" without canning your fair share of threes. Korver led the league in three-point accuracy four times in 17 years, and set an NBA record in 2009-10 when he shot 53.6% from deep. His ability to knock ‘em down from deep earned him an All-Star selection and made him a key member of 14 playoffs teams.

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Steve Nash (13) during game 2 of the NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers. (Photo by Icon Sports Media)

5. Steve Nash

Position: Point Guard
Teams: Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers
Career three-pointers made: 1,685
Career three-point percentage: 42.8%

It may seem hard to believe, but the best shooter on the Brooklyn Nets is actually the team’s coach. Nash shot better than 40% from three every year from 2000 to 2010, and is the only player in NBA history to shoot 50% from the field, 40% from deep, and 90% from the line in four separate seasons. The two-time MVP would be far higher on our list were it not for the fact he was a reluctant shooter who preferred to feed his open teammates rather than hunt his own shots.

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Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr looks on during a NBA game between the Warriors and Clippers. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

4. Steve Kerr

Position: Point Guard
Teams: Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trail Blazers
Career three-pointers made: 1,599
Career three-point percentage: 45.4%

The NBA’s all-time leader in three-point accuracy, Kerr finished in the top five in three-point percentage six times, and topped the elusive 50% mark twice. So, why doesn’t he occupy our top spot? The spindly guard was a seldom-used reserve for most of his career, who only attempted 1.8 threes per game.

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Indiana Pacers guard Reggie Miller makes his final appearance at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Anthony J Causi/Icon SMI)

3. Reggie Miller

Position: Shooting Guard
Team: Indiana Pacers
Career three-pointers made: 2,560
Career three-point percentage: 39.5%

Has there ever been a player who’s taken more delight in hitting treys than Reggie Miller? The former three-point champ made 2,560 three-point field goals during his Hall of Fame career and nearly every one of them was accompanied by a shimmy, shake or taunt. His antics made him Public Enemy No. 1 in most visiting arenas, but they also helped to build his legend as one of the greatest pure shooters in NBA history.

2. Ray Allen

Position: Shooting Guard
Teams: Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat
Career three-pointers made: 2,973
Career three-point percentage: 40%

Ray Allen hit 2,973 threes in his 18-year career, but none were bigger than the dagger he made against the Spurs in the dying moments of Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. Miami went on to win the game in overtime and won the series two days later at home. It remains, for many, the shot heard round the world, and it earns Allen the coveted second spot on our list.

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Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry warms up. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

1. Steph Curry

Position: Point Guard
Team: Golden State Warriors
Career three-pointers made: 2,646
Career three-point percentage: 43.4%

Was there ever any doubt who would top our list of the best three-point shooters in NBA history? The two-time MVP finished first in three-point attempts and three-pointers made every year from 2013-17, and is topping the charts once again in 2021. Although many of the players we’ve discussed have impressive range, Curry is the only one who’s nearly automatic the moment he steps into an arena. Since 2014-15, he has hit an astounding 47.9% of his three-point attempts from 30-35 feet away from the basket.