If you are a big man in today’s NBA, a 3-point shooting stroke is no longer a cool extra - it should be a part of the standard package. If not, then you will find yourself at the end of the bench. Among the best 3-point shooting bigs in the NBA, Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns has the smoothest stroke of them all. So much so that he declared himself to be the greatest. And he actually has a case to be heralded as the 3-point shooting big man GOAT.
“I’m the greatest big man shooter of all time. That’s a fact. You can see the stats. I ain’t got to play like no one else. Everyone trying to find themselves to be the second version of me when I’m the first version. I don’t got to be the second version of someone else. I’m already an original. I don’t have to be a duplicate of someone else.”
Karl-Anthony Towns, The Athletic
Stats back-up Towns’ claims. Not counting the ongoing 2021-22 NBA season, KAT has knocked down a total of 629 3-pointers on 39.4 % in his first six years in the NBA. In that same period in his career, Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki had 667 makes from deep on 37.2 % shooting. The Big German tallied 1982 3-pointers on 38.0 % shooting for his entire career.
To further test out Towns’ argument. We checked out other 3-point shooting bigs and their numbers in their first six years in the NBA. Here’s what we found:
Antoine Walker: 724/2160 (33.5 %)
Kevin Love: 440/1215 (36.2 %)
Rasheed Wallace: 117/397 (29.5 %)
Chris Bosh: 42/146 (28.8 %)
To be fair with the likes of Love and Wallace, they were able to boost their 3-point shooting later on. As of writing, Love has a total of 1329 3-pointers on 37.1 %. For his part, Wallace picked up his shooting during his tenure in Detroit. He ended his career with 1086 3-pointers on 33.6 %.
Getting back to Towns, the young man sure does his research before saying anything. It wasn’t just oozing self-confidence or lack of respect to his elders that made him utter such a bold declaration. He’s really on pace to be the most lethal of them all.
If he manages to remain healthy and knockdown 75-150 3-pointers per season for the rest of his career, he may overtake Nowitzki as the most proficient shooting big man of all time. But the greatest?
So far, KAT has drained his shots in regular-season games few people watched. Dirk dropped his in playoff series, leading the Mavs to one of the most improbable NBA titles in recent history. Stats are great for quantity, but let’s not forget the quality as well.