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Determining who is the Spurs’ best Shooter of all time

There’s players who can shoot, and then there’s players who can Shoot.

Houston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs - Game Five Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Steph Curry just broke Ray Allen’s NBA record for most career three-pointers. Curry is a Shooter. Allen is a Shooter. A Shooter is different than a shooter.

Shooters give a team’s fanbase much happiness. One of a fan’s greatest joys in life is seeing his team’s Shooter rising up to shoot from distance. The fan knows that in a few seconds the ball will drop through the net. Like the Shooter himself, the fan imagines himself back-pedaling to defense even before the ball splashes through.

When a Shooter comes into the game, the opposing coach alerts his team, points at the Shooter and says one word: “Shooter”. In a city league or pick-up game, the other team does the same thing when assigning match-ups and tells whoever is covering the Shooter, “do NOT leave him open”. The Shooter’s movement off the ball allows his teammates to get open. And when a Shooter comes off a screen, if the defender covering the screener does not help out the Shooter’s primary defender, the defender — and the rest of his team — becomes very upset.

One of a Shooter’s greatest joys in life is hearing the other team’s players yelling at each other, with a rising crescendo with each made shot, after the Shooter has lit them up with a barrage of three-pointers. “I told you not to let him get open!” Even better is when that barrage of shots leads the other team into an angry time-out.

My son Pablo played in a city league in Manhattan Beach a few years back. The other team was comprised of local professional volleyball players, plus ex-USC quarterback Matt Leinert and Luke Walton, who had just retired as a player from the NBA. Walton’s team started out in a zone — and Pablo lit them up with four consecutive three pointers. Future NBA coach Luke Walton called the angry time-out so that they could switch to a man-to-man defense, with Walton covering the Shooter. It’s one of Pablo’s best memories — and mine, as I chose that night to watch Pablo’s city league game.

In my prime, I was a Shooter. Oddly, I was not a Shooter in college, and only become one after coaching college basketball for eight years. Proof that if you want to get better at something, teach someone else to do it.

In the Before Times, I attended a party where all the guys were wearing suits and ties. (Remember those?) At the bar, I ran into an athletic-looking young guy, and we exchanged that, “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” look. We talked a bit, and then his eyes went wide. He said: “Now I remember where I know you from. I played against you in that Thursday night league. You’re the Shooter.” As with the story about Pablo, one of my best memories.

All this thinking about Shooters caused me to wonder about each NBA team’s best career Shooter. Some teams are easy. For the Warriors, it’s Curry. The Suns, Steve Nash at the moment, perhaps Devin Booker someday. The Pacers is Reggie Miller. Some are more difficult. For the Celtics, does the longevity of Larry Bird or the few years of Ray Allen win out? The Bulls – Steve Kerr, B. J. Armstrong . . . or Zack Levine?

Or, the purpose of this piece: the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs have had four players lead the league in three-point percentage: Mike Dunleavy, Steve Smith, Bruce Bowen, and Matt Bonner. Only Bonner possibly qualifies in my mind as a capital S Shooter. Indeed, when Dunleavy led the league in 1982-83, he made only 67 threes in 79 games, at just under 35%. On the current team, Bryn Forbes and Doug McDermott are Shooters.

But who is the best Spurs’ Shooter of all time? Let us know what you think by voting below.

Poll

Who is the Spurs’ best Shooter of all time?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Marco Belinelli
    (46 votes)
  • 2%
    Davis Bertans
    (27 votes)
  • 6%
    Matt Bonner
    (85 votes)
  • 2%
    Bruce Bowen
    (31 votes)
  • 4%
    Sean Elliott
    (56 votes)
  • 1%
    Michael Finley
    (15 votes)
  • 0%
    Bryn Forbes
    (10 votes)
  • 22%
    Manu Ginobili
    (292 votes)
  • 17%
    Danny Green
    (223 votes)
  • 6%
    Robert Horry
    (84 votes)
  • 25%
    Patty Mills
    (329 votes)
  • 1%
    Chuck Person
    (18 votes)
  • 0%
    Steve Smith
    (9 votes)
  • 4%
    Other
    (53 votes)
1278 votes total Vote Now