By Max Feldman
There is no doubt that shooting is at a premium in the modern NBA. Floor spacers are a key to the success of every Superstar. Isolation talent and P&R prowess allow shooters to thrive off of help defense, thus allowing isolation and P&R centric players to thrive individually given more spacing. The 2020 NBA Draft has a number of shooting options ranging from pure shooters to ball dominant playmakers with room for shooting growth. This list is a projection of the 12 best shooters at the next level and can act as a guideline for teams searching for outside threats.
1. Aaron Nesmith
52% from 3, 4.3-8.3 3pt attempts per game, 83% ft, 3.7-4.5 FTa per game
Nesmith is the cream of crop when it comes to shooting the rock in this field. He’s incredibly efficient coming off of screens as a spot up shooter, using a flexible yet consistent high release to stroke it from anywhere around the arc. The 6-6 wing has the ideal physical build to slot in as an off ball shooter who will space the floor with or without the ball in his hands. His range does not extend as far as others on this list, but in terms of consistency, fluidity, field of work and archetype, Nesmith’s shooting has been one of the easiest traits to project of any player. Simply put, Nesmith makes shots than he misses and is the premium shooting option.
NBA Shooting Comparison – Tim Hardaway Jr
2. Saddiq Bey
45% from 3, 2.5-5.6 3pt attempts per game, 77% ft, 2.3-2.9 FTa per game
All Jay Wright products play the game fundamentally and Bey has improved thoroughly while at Villanova. The prototypical 3 and D wing with size, IQ and toughness, Bey has plenty of Robert Covington in his game. From deep, Bey has a steady base with a smooth, somewhat slower release using the corners as his hot spot. Bey does a great job using his feel and IQ to find space off ball. He produced over 16 points per game this season with Nova, but projects as a secondary offensive option filling a much needed role on both ends for nearly every team.
NBA Shooting Comparison – Robert Covington
3. Immanuel Quickley
43% from 3, 2.1-4.8 3pt attempts per game, 92% ft, 4.8-5.2 FTa per game
Quickley is the SEC POY and in my book, the runaway Most Improved Player in all of college basketball. His numbers from deep increased 9% on double the amount of volume from his Freshman campaign. Quickley has great elevation on his jumper on a very ‘quick’ release. He has microwave scoring abilities and his sky high free throw percentage as well as a natural touch in his floater game show a strong likelihood of translation to the NBA. Quickley will make his money off ball by spacing the floor and maintaining consistency.
NBA Shooting Comparison – Landry Shamet
4. Desmond bane
45% from 3, 2.9-6.5 3pt attempts per game, 79% ft, 1.4-1.8 FTa per game
Check out the recent article on the full Desmond Bane run down, as shooting is just one of the major strengths in his skillset. As the list rolls on, Bane is the most versatile shooter in terms of all-around scoring. Bane’s ability to get to his spots while also getting off a smooth, extremely balanced jump shot makes him a post-lottery steal as a versatile shot maker. Bane had a high usage rate with the Horned Frogs but his analytics did not suffer, continuing to show effectiveness and efficiency. Bane is a safe, two-way option with a higher ceiling than most assume considering his draft age.
NBA Shooting Comparison – Eric Gordon
5. Markus howard
42% from 3, 4.2-10.1 3pt attempts per game, 85% ft, 7.3-8.6 FTa per game
Howard has been the premium shot maker at the collegiate level for years now and looks to use his limitless range, flare and ball-handling to solidify himself early on in his NBA career. Howard has averaged over 20 points per game in three of his four collegiate seasons by using his quickness, finishing ability and overflowing confidence to terrorize the Big East and the entire nation. The shooting ability from range is his trademark, but the most underrated ability of his is to finish around the rim with creativity and body control allowing his deep game to open up as a consistent triple threat with the ball in his hands. In terms of shot makers, shot creators and shotmaking lead guards, Howard will be a premium option at the top of the second round with his limited size.
NBA Shooting Comparison – Patty Mills
6. Isaiah Joe
34% from 3, 3.6-10.6 3pt attempts per game, 89% ft, 3.1-3.5 FTa per game
Joe is an interesting case, as his percentage is not as spectacular as other shooters on the list. The list is a projection of the best shooters at the next level, rather than a power ranking of shooters in the field, meaning that Joe has more potential to come into a role in my eyes. The 6-5 guard had mass deep shooting volume for the Razorbacks and allowed Mason Jones to thrive scoring around the rim because of his spacing. Similar to Quickley, Joe has great elevation on his jumper with extended range. He’s a spot hunter and does his work off ball by running off screens, pull ups around hand offs and has an advanced off the dribble game. The 20 year old shot 41% in his first collegiate season but a larger volume caused a decrease in efficiency. In terms of pure shooters, Joe is an incredibly underrated option in my eyes and will use his smooth shot-making ability to anchor down an NBA career.
NBA Shooting Comparison – Furkan Korkmaz
7. Jahmi’us Ramsey
43% from 3, 2.2-5.2 3pt attempts per game, 64% ft, 1.9-2.9 FTa per game
My fandom for Ramsey has not been kept a secret and while I do see him as an all-around offensive weapon, he did surprise me with his long range ability from the jump. In just one season under Chris Beard, Ramsey filled the void left by Jarrett Culver by scoring in a variety of ways with glaring confidence. Ramsey is the first Freshman to be listed and is just 18 years old which sparks even more excitement on my end. Ramsey is the 8th ranked player on the FOG Big Board, but signs point towards him being picked post lottery in the early 20’s meaning his early role could very well be as a floor spacer, hard nosed perimeter defender and scoring boost off of the bench. The free throw numbers are a concern of some, but with higher volume and less of a two way load on him, the number is likely to rise.
NBA Shooting Comparison – Josh Richardson
8. Payton Pritchard
41% from 3, 2.8-6.8 3pt attempts per game, 82% ft, 3.7-4.5 FTa per game
Alongside Markus Howard, Pritchard is a premier extended range shooter. While Pritchard grew into a National Player of the Year nominee over four years by developing his game, the one facet that only required repetition and a bit of refining was his shooting. It was evident that Pritchard’s deep range was extended year after year, and by his Senior campaign Pritchard made a living pulling up using one hesitation dribble to catch defenders on their heels and catching fire from deep. The Oregon native has an extremely technical jumper with 100% consistency regardless of the spot. While being limited by his upside and draft age, Pritchard is FOG’s top option among the logjam of scoring point guards in the early second round.
NBA Shooting Comparison – Seth Curry
9. Devin Vassell
41% from 3, 1.5-3.5 3pt attempts per game, 74% ft, 1.6-2.2 FTa per game
Vassell was limited to a degree by playing in the balanced scoring attack of Leonard Hamilton and the Seminoles. Yet, outside of Nesmith on this list, I am the highest on Vassell as an overall prospect. He had a strong season from deep using a high release on a wide base on solid elevation to stretch the floor on a very athletic team. Wiry, long arms with advanced handle for his size made the mid-range his stomping grounds as a pull up shooter. Long-term he is not just a deep shooter on the offensive end, but will make his money early by finding consistency with his jumper and being a versatile defender. His ability to shot on spot ups and off the dribble are reminiscent to the early development of Huerter, and similar to the Hawks off-guard, I look for Vassell to develop an underrated playmaking ability by banking off an advanced IQ for his age.
NBA Shooting Comparison – Kevin Huerter
10. Tyrell Terry
41% from 3, 2.0-4.9 3pt attempts per game, 89% ft, 3.2-3.5 FTa per game
Tyrell Terry is next in line of the Stephen Curry generation, following Trae Young, as a lead guard who thrives with the ball in his hands and consistently uses range as his weapon. Terry is another Freshman who has a fair amount of development ahead of him, but his ability to handle the ball, change his pace and play the “flamethrower” role are all signs for optimism. His young age is shown plenty throughout the film as a decision maker and defender, but his shooting, quickness and ball handling are the standout traits that make Terry a likely candidate for a back-end first round selection.
NBA Shooting Comparison – Aaron Holiday
11. Tyrese Haliburton
42% from 3, 2.3-5.6 3pt attempts per game, 82% ft, 1.7-2.0 FTa per game
Haliburton does his work in transition, and while his rebounding ability doubles down and allows his passing attack to open up by catching opponents off-guard, his unorthodox shooting stroke found consistency in Aimes. Similar to Lonzo Ball at the same age, Haliburton struggles on pull up jumpers. He has a low release with low elevation but combats the limitations with deep range and his triple threat ability. In contrast to other on this list, Haliburton will not fill a shooters role or do his work off ball, but I do think he does cash in long term with his shooting ability because of his flawless touch and proven development. Haliburton’s three point shot might take some time similar to Ball, but I expect him to catch his rhythm earlier than the former UCLA guard allowing his playmaking, vision and IQ shine in due time.
NBA Shooting Comparison – Lonzo Ball (2019-2020)
12. LaMelo Ball
25% from 3, 1.7-6.7 3pt attempts per game, 72% ft, 2.8-3.9 FTa per game
Including Ball on this list might give many a headache simply due to his numbers from deep as a professional basketball player. Somewhat similar to the idea of Haliburton, I am extremely confident in LaMelo’s touch from all three levels and beyond. Ball oozes with confidence, specifically from deep three point range, and has from a young age. While I do not think the confidence will go anywhere, it does required refinery at the next level. His form has been viewed as unorthodox for years, but he and his coaches have done a great job of elevating his release as well as his verticality on jumpers. Shot selection is vital for the numbers to rise and it will largely depend on the volume that he will carries given his eventual landing spot. His three point percentages and efficiency might never be as high as Nesmith, Bey or Quickley but Ball has and will continue to develop the ability to shoot from the three point arc and well beyond. Similar to Murray, Ball is not a one-trick pony offensively but consistency shooting will be a catalyst for elevating the rest of his offensive attack.
NBA Shooting Comparison – Jamal Murray