There are a lot of great 3-point shooters in the NBA today, arguably more than ever before given the emphasis placed on floor-spacing in the modern game as well as the frequency that 3s are taken as a result. The player considered as the greatest shooter of all time, Steph Curry, tends to lead the league in most 3-point categories each season and has broken multiple NBA records in recent years. However, injury issues sidelined the Golden State Warriors star for all but five games in 2019-20, and his extended absence left the door open for another player to be the league’s top 3-point shooter — at least for a single season.
When discussing this season’s best long-range shooter, a few names come to mind. Houston Rockets All-Star James Harden led the league in 3s made (271) this season, including 3s per game (4.4). He’s also first in 3-point attempts per game (12.6) and total 3s attempted (769). Harden, who clearly employs a quantity over quality approach to long-distance shooting, shot 35 percent from 3-point range on the season.
The Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and Buddy Hield of the Kings both boast long-distance numbers on the season that are almost identical — Lillard made 3.9 3s a game, Hield made 3.8 and both shot 39 percent from deep. Both are lethal, high-volume shooters for their respective squads. Same for the Wizards’ Davis Bertans, who hit 200 3-pointers at a 42 percent clip. When it comes to the eye test, Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young also stands out, as he’s probably the closest Curry clone in the league in terms of his ability to stretch his range to an absurd extent. Then there’s Bucks veteran guard George Hill, who connected on a league-leading 48 percent of his attempts from long range, but only made 73 on the season (1.4 makes per game).
However, when it comes to the best long-range shooter this season, both accuracy and quantity have to be considered. With those factors as the key criteria, one player emerges as the premier pick: Heat guard Duncan Robinson. He is far from a household name, but has quickly emerged as an elite marksman. After appearing in just 15 games with one start as a rookie, the second year-guard stepped into a starting role in Miami this season and immediately established himself as a lethal floor-spacer. In the 65 games he played this season, Robinson has connected on 243 3-pointers, which is third-best in the NBA behind only Harden (271) and Hield (244).
While Harden and Hield have taken the most 3s this season, Robinson sits just sixth on the attempts list. His 44.8 percent conversion rate from deep is good for fourth league-wide, yet he’s made substantially more than the three players ahead of him percentage-wise (George Hill, Seth Curry, and JJ Redick). Furthermore, Robinson is also the only player in the league in the top five in both total 3-pointers made and 3-point percentage. In other words, Robinson is shooting a lot of 3-pointers, and he’s making a lot of them.
At this point in his career, Robinson’s game on the offensive end of the floor is almost completely predicated on the long ball. Out of the 13.3 points he’s averaging on the season, 11.1 of them come from long range. While he’s made 243 3-pointers on the campaign, he’s made only a total of 70 2-pointers, meaning he’s made over three times more 3s than 2s on the season. But while he may be one-dimensional, he’s very good at what he does. When it comes to long-range shooting, Robinson doesn’t have a weakness, as he is equally devastating from every area.
His shot chart from deep on the season, per NBA.com, is as green as a football field:
As you can see above, Robinson is shooting above league average from all of the main 3-point areas: the corners, wings and top of the key. And just as he is equally adept at shooting from all over the court, he is also able to knock down 3-pointers in a plethora of ways. While some shooters are strictly spot-up or catch-and-shoot guys, Robinson can do it all.
Catch and shoot? Check.
Spot up? Check.
In addition to getting opportunities off the ball, Robinson also gets a lot of his looks in direction actions. He’s a threat coming off down screens, and also as the screener in pick-and-roll scenarios. He’s also a serious weapon in dribble hand-off action. In fact, getting Robinson looks in this manner is a pivotal play for the Heat.
While Robinson is only fifth on the Heat in scoring, his offensive impact is much greater than that as he generates countless opportunities for his teammates by keeping defenses honest and forcing them to guard him tightly past the 3-point line. All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, specifically, benefit from Robinson’s presence in a major way as defenses don’t want to double off Robinson, which provides them both with more room to operate.
Like most players, Robinson shot a bit better from deep at home this season than he did on the road, as he shot 50 percent from 3-point range in Miami, compared to 40 percent elsewhere. Both of those numbers are well above the league average, and as such it seems safe to say that Robinson’s accuracy will carry over to Orlando when the NBA season is ultimately resumed there at the end of July. Robinson has also shot 47 percent from deep on the season after a day of rest — something that he will have consistently during the playoffs.
Robinson is a constant threat that Miami’s postseason opponents will consistently have to keep an extra eye on. As a shooter capable from hitting from everywhere on the court — in a multitude of ways — Robinson is an ideal role player in today’s NBA. As such, he figures to play a major role in the Heat’s success as a team moving forward.