From his days playing college ball at Davidson to starring in the NBA Finals, Steph Curry has constantly shown his ability to make amazing shots. Whether it’s in practice or games, Curry has wowed fans with his shotmaking from every part of the court — not just in the frontcourt, either. Curry has made his fair share of half-court shots.
Successful half-court shot attempts are rare and unpredictable but always exciting to watch. Let’s look at the history of the half-court shot in the NBA and examine why one half-court shot record Curry owns might be the best in history.
The dimensions of an NBA basketball court
An NBA court is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide. The free-throw line is 15 inches from the basket while the three-point line is 23 feet, nine inches from the basket. The half-court line is 46 inches from either basket — directly halfway between both buckets.
The distance of the half-court line from the basket means players rarely attempt shots from beyond it. For one, it’s not worth any more points than a standard three-pointer. It’s also much more difficult. Half-court shots are typically reserved for end-of-game (or end-of-quarter) scenarios when the team with the ball has a limited amount of time to shoot.
What makes the half-court shot exciting is the desperation of the team attempting it. It’s a shot with unfavorable odds.
The odds of making a half-court shot
Every week during the college basketball season, ESPN’s College Gameday visits a college campus and hosts their program live from the court. Typically, many students attend, and a few even get a chance to win big money.
In partnership with State Farm Insurance, ESPN gives a student a chance to hit a half-court shot for a large cash prize. Two UVA students hit the shot in back to back years, 2015 and 2016, despite an ESPN report that the odds of hitting a half-court shot are 1 in 100.
At the NBA level, half-court shorts are common but not often successful. Baron Davis hit the longest shot in NBA history, reports All About Basketball, an 89-foot heave on February 17, 2001. While it wasn’t in a game, Vince Carter set a Guinness World Record for the longest shot hit while sitting down at 86 feet.
Many players avoid taking longer-than-half-court shots due to what it might do to their shooting percentage. Kevin Durant said as much to Yahoo Sports: “It depends on what I’m shooting from the field. First quarter if I’m 4-for-4, I let it go. Third quarter if I’m like 10-for-16, or 10-for-17, I might let it go. But if I’m like 8-for-19, I’m going to go ahead and dribble one more second.”
Why Steph Curry’s half-court shot record may be the best in history
Curry owns the record for most half-court shots hit in a career with five, including one in the playoffs. He hit his last half-court shot in March 2019. Until that point, he’d tied with Zach Randolph for the career record with four.
The reason why Curry’s record is so impressive? Half-court shots are extremely low-percentage shots. Players attempt them almost every game as a quarter or half expires and they rarely go in. Even Curry himself isn’t very successful at most of them. For example, during the 2016-17 season, his shooting percentage from beyond the half-court line was .067. This means he takes a lot of them no matter what it does to his statistics.
The bottom line? Curry’s record stands out because few players will challenge it. He’ll likely remain the half-court shot king for some time.
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