Steve Nash is the best shooter of all time


I know what you’re thinking at first glance, what kind of homer Suns blog is this?

But I give you Professor John Hollinger of ESPN Insider, who devised a rating system to rank players by adding up their two-point, three-point and free-throw percentages.

He calls this “Combined Shooting Rating.” By this measure Nash is the greatest shooter of all-time, and it’s not even close. Nash grades out with a 1.849 CSR by shooting 51.5 percent on twos, 43.1 percent on threes and 90.3 percent from the line for his career.

Nash’s 1.849 is so impressive that it beats out the No. 2 guy on this list (ironically Suns GM Steve Kerr, who wasn’t a bad shooter in his day either) by 0.37. Five more players are bunched up behind Kerr in another 0.37 deviation.

This isn’t even factoring in how players get their shots. Unlike Kerr, who was a spot shooter who collected open shots when superstars like Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan drew double teams, Nash is the ultimate creator. He gets most of his threes pulling up off the dribble instead of spotting up and waiting for an open shot.

When you look at the rest of the list you see guys like Kerr, Reggie Miller, Jeff Hornacek, Chris Mullin and Peja Stojakovic, dead-eye shooters who couldn’t run an offense if their season depended on it. Nash, meanwhile, is on the top 10 of the NBA’s all-time assists list and has run the NBA’s most efficient offense for eight consecutive years and counting (soon to be nine). It’s amazing that a player could be running away with this title when shooting isn’t even the first thing you think of when it comes to his offensive game.

Nash is also one of only seven players to ever shoot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 90 percent from the line in a season, and Larry Bird (twice) is the only other player to do it more than once. Nash is set to do it for a fourth time this year if he maintains his percentages the rest of the way, and it would be five in a row if you round up his 89.9 percent performance from the free-throw line in 2006-07.

If he keeps this up, Nash will own four of the top seven true shooting percentages in all-time 50-40-90 seasons, with Kerr’s stellar 1995-96 leading the way in the category and Nash’s 2007-08 second.

For all his career greatness, with Nash having hit just 1-of-10 three-pointers in March, that leads to one obvious conclusion: Nash’s back must have really been killing the NBA’s all-time best shooter last week.