Is Ray Allen the best shooter in NBA history?

Ray Allen & Stephen Curry
Feb 12, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) is defended by Miami Heat guard Ray Allen (34) in the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Heat defeated the Warriors 111-110. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Ray Allen announced his retirement this week after being in the league for 20 years. The two-time MVP, Stephen Curry payed homage to the future Hall-of-Famer on his Instagram, congratulating him as well as calling him “the greatest shooter to play the game”:

And when he was asked why he felt Allen was the greatest, he credited his longevity in the game:

“To me, he’s the greatest shooter ever because of his longevity,” Curry told ESPN. “He did it year-to-year and he got up on his shot. That’s what made him different. He was a special player.”

It’s great to see Curry pay homage to a former great shooter that paved the way for a player like himself. However, this post raised a question in my head. Is Ray Allen really the greatest shooter to play the game?

Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

When you think of the best shooters ever, it’s automatic to think Reggie Miller and Ray Allen. Those are the top two shooters that have impacted the game over the years that displayed that they are more than “just shooters”. But when you look at modern day basketball, you can’t ignore guys like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Statistically, Allen holds the record for the most three’s made at 2,973. He also held the the single season record for threes made until Curry and Thompson came along. The record was 269 but Stephen Curry surpassed the number in each of the past three seasons as well as Klay Thompson who just passed it last season. 402 is now the leader for threes made but don’t be surprised if Chef Curry was to break his own record yet again.

The argument of greatest shooter is really a good one to have. In my opinion, the argument is truly between Allen, Curry, and Thompson. There’s no question that Stephen will statistically go down as the best shooter simply because he shoots it at a great rate and a great efficiency. 7.3 attempts per game on his career at .444% which is 2nd all-time right behind his coach, Steve Kerr. But when I think mechanics, I idol Klay Thompson who has the best looking shot I’ve ever seen. Every attempt he takes looks exactly the same and he has one of the quickest releases that the NBA has seen. With great elevation and immaculate form, Thompson’s shot is a work of art that you want young players learning from. And it shows when you look at the numbers of his career thus far. He’s .417 from behind the arc for his career which is in the top 15 of all-time. Although it may be premature to don Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson (who are in their 8th and 6th seasons respectively) the best shooter of all-time, I believe the argument could be made that either of these choices are fitting of that crown.


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