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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Ranking the 10 best pure shooters in the NBA

Stephen Curry

5. CJ McCollum, SG, Portland Trail Blazers

The CJ technically stands for Christian James, but it might as well stand for Cash Jumpers. Coming into the league shooting a respectable 37.5 percent on treys as a rookie, McCollum has upped that figure in every single career season since. His 42.1 percent in 2016-17 was ninth-best in the Association, and he has skyrocketed to 52.2 percent through 11 games this year (tops among players with at least 50 three-point attempts). For a guy who regularly flirts with 200 made threes a season and who is just as sugary from the midrange (45.2 percent from 16-24 feet last season), the ex-Most Improved Player McCollum sees dollar signs every time he steps onto the hardwood.

4. JJ Redick, SG, Philadelphia 76ers

I am HERE for Redick’s transition from reviled Duke alum to beloved elder statesman. And to be honest, perhaps the single biggest impetus behind that transition over the last dozen or so years has been the consistency and the accuracy with which he has avalanched in threes during his NBA career. Aging like a fine pinot grigio, the 33-year-old Redick has nailed 44.5 percent of his three-balls over the last four seasons combined. He’s hardly missed a beat whether it’s a Chris Paul-Blake Griffin pick-and-roll that he’s scurrying around on the weak side of or a Ben Simmons-Joel Embiid one. Death, taxes, and JJ Redick making it rain from the perimeter. Case in point.

3. Klay Thompson, SG, Golden State Warriors

Klay Thompson is all of our spirit animals for he is everything that is good and right in the sport of basketball. Mind you, it’s not just his off-court escapades: traveling to China and finding ways to more effectively absorb the energies of the universe, suddenly spacing out in interviews as he attempts to discover the upper limits of human consciousness, or otherwise. But it’s also that he has turned the three-point line into his own personal sniper’s nest. Wielding the catch-and-shoot J as his primary weapon of mass reckoning (scoring 11.5 of his 22.3 points per game last year via that avenue for reference), Thompson has submitted seasons of 211, 223, 239, 276, and 268 made threes the last five years running. And here’s the kicker: this season may very well end up being his magnum opus. The three-time All-Star is finding the bottom of the net on 51.4 percent of his overall shot attempts and 47.1 percent of his attempts from deep, hauling his career triple percentage up to a pristine (wait for it) 42.0 percent. At this rate, we may just have to start petitioning for the addition of an eighth day of the week: Klay Day.

2. Kyle Korver, SG, Cleveland Cavaliers

Korver, who is 36 years old and now in Year 15 of his NBA journey, is hardly a legacy pick. Though he is sure to leave behind an immaculate legacy as one of only 20 players in league history to post a career true shooting percentage north of 60 percent (with 11 of those being frontcourt players to boot), King Kyle has maintained his sizzling pace well into his twilight seasons. He has led the NBA in three-point percentage in three of the last four years, and his 47.9 percent on triples through 48 regular season games in Cleveland is easily the best number he has put up for any one of his teams. Yes, scientists love Korver for hardly any player better proves the theory of gravity. Well except for…

1. Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors

Surprise. Who else could it be but the man who turned the sport that Dr. Naismith founded with a peach basket and a stitched-up leather ball in the late 19th century into a nightly display of all-out aerial combat? Yes, Curry has not only achieved the unfathomable, he has normalized it. 400 threes in a season? Piece of cake. 50/40/90 for an entire year with over 11 three-point attempts a night? No problemo. Old NBA record was 12 treys in a single game? Pfffshhhhh, please. At just 29 years old, Chef Curry could retire tomorrow and go down as the greatest shooter in basketball history by leaps and bounds, and nobody knows what he’s gonna be cooking up next. Just sit back and behold the beauty, folks. Cats like this don’t come around too often.

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