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NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 shooters 9900234 Best shooters? Here's our best shot... Best+shooters%3F+Here%27s+our+best+shot... NBA Usually when you see a list of the best NBA shooters, you get the top 3-point marksmen. That's not what NBA editor John Galinsky had in mind while compiling this list. Long-range accuracy is one way to measure a shooter, but far from the only one. There's also a soft touch around the basket and from the foul line, shooting on the move, shooting under defensive pressure, clutch shooting and the (nearly) lost art of the midrange shot. Versatility is key. That's why you don't see 3-point specialists like Jason Kapono and Kyle Korver, or even a great midrange shooter like Richard Hamilton, and certainly not dunking machines like Shaq and Dwight Howard. Under strong consideration, but missing the cut, were Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani, Chauncey Billups, Danny Granger, Rashard Lewis, Kevin Martin, Troy Murphy, Mehmet Okur, Paul Pierce, Michael Redd, Brandon Roy and Jason Terry. -- -
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 shooters 9900202 Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns Steve+Nash%2C+PG%2C+Phoenix+Suns NBA 2008-09 stats: 50.3 FG%, 93.3 FT%, 43.9 3PT%
Nash's shot isn't as picturesque as Ray Allen's, but he gets the nod here because of accuracy and variety. Nash is the only player ever to shoot over 50 percent from the field, 40 percent on 3-pointers and 90 percent from the line for three straight seasons. And it's not like he just takes open shots. He contorts his body to find shooting angles, steps back or lunges forward to create space and flips in all kinds of creative layups with either hand in addition to burying deep threes. In short, he's mastered the skill of shooting the basketball, much as he's mastered the art of passing. That's why, despite his everyman physique, he's a two-time MVP and a genius on offense. (Don't ask about his defense.) It's also why, until he starts to miss — don't hold your breath — Steve Nash is the best shooter in the NBA.
Kevork Djansezian -
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 shooters 9900204 Ray Allen, SG, Boston Celtics Ray+Allen%2C+SG%2C+Boston+Celtics NBA 2008-09 stats: 48.0 FG%, 95.2 FT%, 40.9 3PT%
Ray Allen's jumper is like a work of art — the symmetry, the form, the technical mastery — but the real beauty is that it looks the same each time. Same spring off the floor, same quick release, same flawless follow-through. Not always the same result, obviously, but no one's been more consistent and prolific over the past decade than Allen, who is second (to Reggie Miller) on the NBA career 3-pointers list and fifth in free-throw percentage. While he's slowed down slightly at 34, his stroke hasn't suffered a bit. He made 72 straight foul shots last season, breaking Larry Bird's Celtics record, and his 199 treys were second most in the league.
Brian Babineau -
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 shooters 9900212 Kobe Bryant, SG, Los Angeles Lakers Kobe+Bryant%2C+SG%2C+Los+Angeles+Lakers NBA 2008-09 stats: 46.7 FG%, 85.6 FT%, 35.1 3PT%
Forget the percentages. Kobe's never played the percentages. His career marksmanship (45.5 FG%, 34.1 3PT%) isn't impressive, but let's face it: Kobe makes shots most players wouldn't dream of taking. Shots against double teams, 3-pointers with a hand in his face, turnaround fadeaways from the baseline, absurdly acrobatic layups. Question his shot selection if you wish, but don't doubt his ability to hit any shot from anywhere inside halfcourt. If you factor in degree of difficulty, Kobe may well be the best shooter in the NBA. After all, every time he takes a shot — no matter how ridiculous — don't you think it's going in?
Stan Honda -
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 shooters 9900214 Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Dallas Mavericks Dirk+Nowitzki%2C+PF%2C+Dallas+Mavericks NBA 2008-09 stats: 47.9 FG%, 89.0 FT%, 35.9 3PT%
It's not enough to say that Dirk is the best perimeter shooter in NBA history who's also 7 feet tall. Take the qualifier out, and he still ranks among the best shooters ever to play the game. Sure, his height helps him get off shots, but his extraordinary touch is the main reason he's averaged nearly 23 points per game over an 11-year career, made eight All-Star teams and won the 2007 MVP award. While his 3-point percentage has dipped the past two years, his midrange game has remained deadly and he's still automatic from the stripe. No matter what shot he takes, you have to love the huge arc that causes the ball to splash through the net like an Acapulco cliff diver.
Garrett Ellwood -
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 shooters 9900216 Ben Gordon, SG, Detroit Pistons Ben+Gordon%2C+SG%2C+Detroit+Pistons NBA 2008-09 stats: 45.5 FG%, 86.4 FT%, 41.0 3PT%
Just look at the form. Whether Gordon is alone behind the 3-point line, pulling up after a crossover or fading backward to make space, he somehow always manages to square his body to the basket, release the ball with the same high arc and snap his wrists for the follow-through. Perfection. His shooting percentage is remarkably high given his lack of size (he's a 6-foot-2 shooting guard) and the number of tough shots he takes. Despite his defensive shortcomings, he signed a five-year deal with the Pistons for more than $50 million. Overpaid? Maybe. But shooters like this aren't a dime a dozen.
Brian Babineau -
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 shooters 9900218 Kevin Durant, SF, Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin+Durant%2C+SF%2C+Oklahoma+City+Thunder NBA 2008-09 stats: 47.6 FG%, 86.3 FT%, 42.2 3PT%
"Spindly" is probably the best way to describe Durant's frame before he reaches legal drinking age next month, so it's fair to say he didn't overpower anyone on his way to the basket last season. Yet he averaged 25.3 points (sixth in the league) thanks mainly to a silky touch and repertoire of shots that few of his elders can match. With a quick trigger and high release (he's 6-foot-9 with long arms), Durant can shoot over smaller defenders with ease, while big men are uncomfortable chasing him around the 3-point arc. As he improves his already solid pull-up game and gains strength, the best way to describe Durant may soon be "scoring champ."
Larry W. Smith -
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 shooters 9899114 Yao Ming, C, Houston Rockets Yao+Ming%2C+C%2C+Houston+Rockets NBA 2008-09 stats: 54.8 FG%, 86.6 FT%, 100.0 3PT% (1-1)
With his career in jeopardy following foot surgery, now's a good time to appreciate what made Yao Ming special. It wasn't simply his size; several other NBA players have been 7-foot-6. It's that he was the first guy that tall with the shooting skills to match. Yao's form is impeccable, making him deadly from 18 feet and in. He even took technical foul shots for the Rockets. Throw in the accuracy of his hooks and turnarounds, and you have the rare giant who thrived with finesse rather than force.
Sam Forencich -
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 shooters 9899116 Jose Calderon, PG, Toronto Raptors Jose+Calderon%2C+PG%2C+Toronto+Raptors NBA 2008-09 stats: 49.7 FG%, 98.1 FT%, 40.6 3PT%
No, that's not a misprint. Calderon really did make 151 of 154 free throws last season, an NBA record for accuracy, including 87 straight to start the season — the second-longest streak in league history. A below-average athlete and defender for an NBA point guard, the Spaniard survives by being fundamentally sound. He doesn't turn the ball over, and he doesn't miss open shots.
Bill Baptist -
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 shooters 9900222 Pau Gasol, PF, Los Angeles Lakers Pau+Gasol%2C+PF%2C+Los+Angeles+Lakers NBA 2008-09 stats: 56.7 FG%, 78.1 FT%, 50.0 3PT% (1-2)
OK, he's a lousy 3-point shooter (career 23.4%) and merely average from the foul line (career 73.8%), but Gasol's touch around the basket is softer than cashmere. Short-range flips, righty and lefty hooks, driving layups ... when Gasol catches the ball in the paint, he keeps it high and usually delivers. With a decent midrange game and nearly ambidextrous, the 7-footer showed off his full arsenal during L.A.'s championship run, making 58 percent of his shots in the playoffs.
Gabriel Bouys -
NBA 73 43 NBA's top 10 shooters 9899118 Mo Williams, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers Mo+Williams%2C+PG%2C+Cleveland+Cavaliers NBA 2008-09 stats: 46.7 FG%, 91.2 FT%, 43.6 3PT%
A bad series against the Orlando Magic in the East finals took some of the luster off Williams' first season with the Cavs, but his marksmanship played a huge role in Cleveland's franchise-record, 66-win regular season. Brought aboard to make defenses pay for swarming LeBron, he filled that role to perfection, burying 182 3-pointers (third in the league) and making his first All-Star team (as an injury replacement). He also showed an ability to create his own shot, meaning LeBron didn't have to initiate everything offensively. If Mo becomes more money in the playoffs, he can move up this list.
Ronald Martinez -
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