Putting Kyle Korver's Shooting Success in Historical Context
Kyle Korver can flat out shoot a basketball through a hoop.
And this year, he's doing it better than anyone else in the NBA is.
If Korver hasn't fully planted his flag in NBA history as, truly, one of the best shooters ever, then this year should do the trick.
But just how good has he been? And where does he stack up in NBA history?
Korver in 2014-15
As of December 19, Korver is shooting an absurd 54.1% from beyond the three-point arc, ranking second only to Courtney Lee's 55.6%. Korver, though, is attempting 2.4 more attempts from deep than Lee is: 5.3 to 2.9.
Of the 27 players with at least 5.0 three-point attempts per game, only Korver (54.1%) shooting at least 44.0% from deep. (So is Kevin Martin (48.1%), but he has played in only nine games this year). Oh, and only seven of those 28 players are better than 40.0%.
Korver is so far ahead of guys with that level of volume that it's hard to comprehend.
For example -- not that Kobe Bryant is a lethal three-point shooter by any mean -- but for context's sake, Bryant has attempted 135 three-pointers (5.4 per game) and is shooting 27.4% on those attempts, making 37 of them. Korver has made roughly double -- 72 of 133 -- on basically the same number of attempts (5.3 per game).
Korver's volume and efficiency is unmatched this year by high-volume studs and three-point specialists alike, but what about all time?
What about the players with at least 5.0 three-point attempts per game in years prior? Where does Korver's season fall?
At the top, of course.
If you include Korver's 2014-15 season, then only eight instances in NBA history exist in which a player plays in double-digit games, maintains a three-point percentage at or better than 45.0%, and attempts at least 5.0 attempts per game. So, Korver is in some pretty elite company right now.
But, really, he isn't just a member of the club -- he owns it.
Of those eight such occurrences, no player has done it multiple times except for Korver, who has already done it twice (his first two years in Atlanta, 2012-13 and 2013-14), and unless he regresses at a catastrophic pace, he will do it three times, meaning only five other players have accomplished in a season what he has done three times.
Korver's 47.2% season last year was second-best of the eight (tied with Steve Novak's 2011-12 campaign). This means that not only does Korver have two of the best seasons, percentage-wise, on a significant volume of attempts ever but also that, this year, he is extraordinarily above his and Novak's percentage.
I'm not saying that Korver is the hands-down, best shooter ever or anything, but he does have the highest career percentage (42.9%) of the veritable who's who of shooters with at least 1,500 makes and 3,000 attempts from beyond the arc. He narrowly edges Steve Nash (42.8%), and they are the only two of the 23 qualified guys to maintain at least 41.0% from deep.
After some sub-40.0% three-point-shooting seasons (in 2007-08 and 2008-09) and some higher usage years (his only sub-15.0% usage years have been in Atlanta), Korver has had some of the best shooting every during his stead as a Hawk, doing what he does best.
Wrapping It Up
As a result of his shooting, Korver ranks 12th in the entire league in nERD with a score of 9.8. That means that the with the way Korver is playing, an NBA team could expect to win 9.8 more games with Korver as a starter than with a league-average player. His numberFire efficiency score, which indicates point-differential compared to a league average player as a starter, is 3.2. That's ninth among all guards in the league who average at least 10.0 minutes per game.
Korver's fantasy value, which really indicates overall contribution in the context of position scarcity, is 16th among guards, so he really isn't just a shooter, either. In fact, of the 38 players who have played at least 10 games and whose per-36 averages meet or exceed 14.0 points, 3.0 assists, and 4.0 rebounds, Korver ranks 10th in win shares per 48 minutes.
Korver's shooting and peripheral play has been absolutely phenomenal this year, and even though the Hawks have been flying under the radar, they are certainly a team to watch in the Eastern Conference.
Undoubtedly, Korver has a lot of say in that.