In one of if not the most anticipated matchups in the NBA this season, between the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets, James Harden passed up Reggie Miller on the 3 pointers made list. He had tied with Miller’s record in the previous game and despite his atrocious shooting in this game, Harden managed to break Miller’s record.
The three greatest shooters of all time are considered to be Steph Curry, Ray Allen, and Reggie Miller. While Harden is still not considered a top 5 shooter he can definitely make a case for being a top 5 shooter. A major reason that Harden is not in that conversation is that, under Mike D’Antoni in Houston, Harden averaged from 9.3 to 12.4 3 pointers a game in the span of 4 years and has never in his career shot over 40% from 3 point range.
The inefficiency in his shooting is what hurts Harden’s case for being a top 5 shooter and the fact that he put as many 3 point shots as he did. While Steph has put up a similar volume of 3 point shots, he has shot above 40% of his 3 pointers every season except the 2019-2020 season when he was injured within the first 5 games of the season.
Similarly, Klay Thompson is also ranked higher than Harden because of his efficiency despite having made fewer 3 pointers than Harden. In fact, Harden has the lowest 3 point shooting percentage among the top 5 3 point shooters and 2nd lowest among the top 10 shooters ever. Despite his poor efficiency, it cannot be denied that Harden is a great player and shooter and has established himself in the record books as one of the best shooters ever.
This season Harden has taken much fewer 3 pointers compared to his days in Houston. While efficiency remains low, he could end up breaking Ray Allen’s record as well with the way the game is played today.