On Inside the NBA on Tuesday night, Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith made waves by insinuating that Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard, arguably the hottest player on the planet right now, is a better shooter from super deep than former two-time league MVP Stephen Curry.
His exact words – as a highlight of Lillard draining a shot from 35 feet out against the L.A. Lakers played in the forefront – were: “I don’t think you can shoot as deep as him, Steph. I’ve got to see it when you get back.”
Smith seemed to be teasing the Golden State Warriors guard more than anything, but that didn’t stop Curry from playfully replying on Twitter:
That got us to thinking: Who is truly the better shooter from super deep? Curry or Lillard?
Well, thankfully, because the NBA tracks stats for literally everything now, we’re able to answer that question, and it’s Lillard, though the results are somewhat close.
According to Basketball-Reference, for his career, Lillard has attempted 327 shots from at least 30 feet away from the basket, making 108 of them, good for a 33.7 percent success rate. In 2019-20 alone, however, that number sores up to an absurd 41.4 percent success rate on 133 such attempts, which is just absolutely preposterous.
Curry, meanwhile, has attempted 332 shots from that distance for his career and made 85 of them, for an accuracy rate of 25.6 percent.
Curry and Lillard rank first and second respectively all-time in shot attempts from that deep, which makes sense considering the two dynamic shooters are the ones who popularized the deep three-pointer and have paved the way for younger players like Trae Young to pick up the mantle for the next generation of sharpshooters.
Speaking of Young, for his young career, he’s actually been more accurate than Lillard or Curry from at least 30 feet out, making 35.6 percent of his 174 attempts from that range.
Regardless, if we had to choose one player to take and make a shot from way beyond the arc today, it’d be Lillard, and the decision would be an easy one.
The numbers back that up, too.
Alberto de Roa contributed research to this report.