Can Kobe Bryant be the Best Shooter in the NBA?

Recently an article written by NBA editor John Galinsky posed a very interesting question, who is the best shooter in the NBA today?  Being the best shooter does not just mean being good from long range or a high shooting percentage, but someone that people are more surprised when they miss an amazing shot compared to when they make it.  These are players who thrive under pressure and love the big shot.  So after Galinsky compiled his list we will seek to put together our own.

Galinsky’s list contains ten shooters but for our smaller, yet still important enterprise we will compile a list of just five.  In the words of the Academy Award winning Joker, and here we go.

Injured or not, Yao is still a top notch shooter
Injured or not, Yao is still a top notch shooter

5. Yao Ming

Yes, I know he is injured.  No, I am not a complete idiot for choosing an injured player in my list of top five shooters, well at least I like to

believe that I’m not.  Look at this way, no man of his size has ever been even half as productive a shooter as Yao.  He shoots a high percentage from the paint, the stripe, and the baseline.  His shot may look a little quirky but 55% from the field and nearly 87% from the free throw line are nothing to scoff at.  Also remember that the man is as tall as a building, but at 7’6″ Yao has the smooth touch of a shooting guard fresh out of Villanova.

4. Dirk Nowitzki

This spot I completely agree with Galinsky.  Dirk brings a versatility to the NBA unlike anyone else in the history of the league.  Sound like the same argument that I made for Yao? Well kind of but with a few tweaks here and there.  Dirk is over seven feet tall but has tremendous three point range.  While he may not shoot with the same percentage from downtown as Ray Allen he still has a higher percentage than any other 7 foot player from three point range.  Nowitzki also has a deadly mid-range game, a skill that has been lost in recent years in the NBA.  With his size and shooting touch Nowitzki definitely belongs in the top tier of NBA sharp shooters.

Bryant is still the best closer in the game
Bryant is still the best closer in the game

3. Kobe Bryant

Another spot where I mirrored Galinsky.  I tried to make an excuse to sneak him into the top two but unfortunately Lakers Nation there just is not enough ammunition to get him above the top two.  He is the best player in the league today but belongs in the number three spot.  There is no doubt that he is the greatest clutch shooter since Jordan and his wide array of acrobatic shots never cease to amaze.  He is fearless on the court, there are shots Bryant makes consistently that most other players would never dream of shooting.  There is no doubt that Bryant will go down in history as one of the best shooters of all time, especially during crunch time.

2. Steve Nash

A very tough choice for top spot.  I could take the easy way out and do 1A and 1B but I hate it when people use that excuse, and of course I would not expect you fine people to have to sit through something I cannot stand myself.  Nash is brilliant, from his back to back Most Valuable Player awards to his nearly flawless free throw percentage, Nash established himself as one of the greatest shooters of all time.  While that may seem like a stretch, it is one that I feel is fair.  In addition to his fantastic shooting ability Nash is an offensive mastermind.  Other than Chris Paul, Nash moves the ball around the court better than anybody else.  The ability to make opposing defenses fear the pass only strengthens Nash’s ability to shoot.

1. Ray Allen

By a hair.  That is all I can say.  I know he’s a Celtic and that to most of you this may seem like blasphemy, the truth hurts.  Allen is the purest shooter the NBA has seen in a long time.  His jump shot should be on display at the Louvre, perfect form that is always in perfect rhythm.  By the time Allen retires he may very well be considered the best three point shooter in league history.  However, his sniping ability is not reason enough to put him in the top slot.  He is dynamite from the line and all positions on the floor, not purely behind the arc.  Throw in the fact that he performs in the clutch and has performed at the highest level of competition, and while Paul Pierce brought home the Finals MVP trophy in 2008, Lakers fans especially know that the Celtics would not have raised their seventeenth banner without the help of Ray Allen.

So once again Lakers Nation I leave it up to you.  Who is the best shooter that plays today? Am I right or did Galinsky get it correct the first time?  Once again, the debate rages on.