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James Harden missing the most threes ever will be held against him


Even great players who are adored for winning are still not given a free pass for missing a boatload of shots. We say Shaq was unstoppable unless he was at the charity stripe. The same Achillies heel was true in Chamberlain’s game. Hell, Kobe Bryant was revered for his ferocity but at the same time called out for his selfishness. The best metric of this is his name at the most missed shots ever google search. But while all those players are All-Time Top Teners, what would give James Harden an exemption of scrutiny for now holding the torch of most missed threes in NBA history?

Shooters shoot

Missing most shots in a particular category is only noticed and analyzed once a player is retired. That’s because it gives all the NBA analytical nerds free reign to publish their leading statistics when summarising their career. But considering James Harden is only 32, this list will not look pretty come that day. 

Most Missed Threes In NBA History List

  1. James Harden: 4,466 M3’s, 916 GP
  2. Ray Allen: 4,456 M3’s, 1300 GP
  3. Jamal Crawford: 4,158 M3’s, 1327 GP
  4. Stephen Curry: 4,020 M3’s, 802 GP
  5. Reggie Miller: 3,926 M3’s, 1389 GP
  6. LeBron James: 3,921 M3’s, 1342 GP
  7. Vince Carter: 3,878 M3’s, 1541 GP
  8. Jason Terry: 3,728 M3’s, 1310 GP
  9. Kobe Bryant: 3,719 M3’s, 1,346 GP
  10. Jason Kidd: 3,713 M3’s, 1391 GP

* M3 = Missed Threes
* GP = Games Played

For more context, this is where Harden stands on the three-pointers made list.

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Most Three’s in NBA History List 

  1. Stephen Curry: 3,028 3PM, 43% 
  2. Ray Allen: 2,973 3PM, 40%
  3. Reggie Miller: 2,560 3PM, 39.5%
  4. James Harden: 2,537 3PM, 36.2%
  5. Kyle Korver: 2,450 3PM, 42.5%
  6. Vince Carter: 2,290 3PM, 37.1%
  7. Jason Terry: 2,282 3PM, 38%
  8. Jamal Crawford: 2,221 3PM, 34.8%
  9. Paul Pierce: 2,143 3PM, 36.8%

* % = Three-Point Percentage 

It doesn’t need to be explained the level of significance a championship ring would bring to Harden’s roller-coaster career. Without it, without even an appearance post his medium-sized beard Thunder days - his career will be summarised from Damian Lillard’s 25-foot bomb, his Rockets team missing 27 straight threes, failing on a Brooklyn superteam, and much more. Kind of like how Karl Malone is mainly known for getting the ball stripped in those closing seconds of the ’98 Finals. Well, at least that’s what he’s most known for on the court…

Body of work

Maybe it’s unfair how much validation we give a player’s career for achieving one championship season while disregarding all semblance of context. But if the fundamental aim of the sport is to win a championship, why wouldn’t fans throw the most weight on that achievement? Of course, Harden will be remembered for consistently being one of the best iso scorers in the league, but so was the ringless George Gervin.

There’s nothing wrong with the IceMan; he just happened to play in the same conference as Earvin Johnson. People of that generation will rave about his unstoppable finger role and follow it up with him being a liability on defense. But the comparison remains relevant. 

Don’t get me wrong, James Harden is already greater than Gervin, in my belief, but is that really the company you want to be placed with? The missed three-pointers are just a segue into the ultimate metric that stands through time; championship success. Without it, this growing statistic of clanks, especially as the three-point era grows, will not be looked upon as fondly as Shaq’s free throw troubles or Kobe’s selfish proclivities. 

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