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Can Dirk Have a Historic Shooting Season?

The 50-40-90 line is frequently used to look for good shooters. The requirement is that a player needs to shoot 50% from the field, 40% from three, and 90% from the line to qualify. Of course, my biggest problem here is using Field Goal Percentage (FG%) as a criteria. An amazing three point shooter has every incentive to shoot more from beyond the arc, and this hurts their FG%, at least if their goal is 50%. So I have a more preferred method: over a full NBA season, can a player:

  • Shoot at least 10 shots a game?
  • Hit 40% of their threes?
  • Have an effective field goal percentage of 55%?
  • Shoot 90% from the free throw line?

Such players are indeed daggers in the NBA. Can it be done? Of course! Thanks to Basketball-Reference's Player Season Finder, I found 15 such instances. (Technically it happened 16 times, but I cut Raja Bell because he only played 6 games)

Player Season EFG% 3P% FT% PPG
Larry Bird 1987 Celtics 55.5% 40% 91% 28.1
Larry Bird 1988 Celtics 55.6% 41.4% 91.6% 29.9
Mark Price 1989 Cavaliers 57.2% 44.1% 90.1% 18.9
Reggie Miller 1994 Pacers 56.2% 42.1% 90.8% 19.9
Reggie Miller 2002 Pacers 55.2% 40.6% 91.1% 16.5
Peja Stojakovic 2004 Kings 56.6% 43.3% 92.7% 24.2
Steve Nash 2006 Suns 58.3% 43.9% 92.1% 18.8
Peja Stojakovic 2008 Hornets 55.2% 44.1% 92.9% 16.4
Steve Nash 2008 Suns 59.7% 47% 90.6% 16.9
Steve Nash 2009 Suns 56.6% 43.9% 93.3% 15.7
Ray Allen 2009 Celtics 57.5% 40.9% 95.2% 18.2
Steve Nash 2010 Suns 57% 42.6% 93.8% 16.5
Stephen Curry 2011 Warriors 55.1% 44.2% 93.4% 18.6
Ray Allen 2012 Celtics 56.6% 45.3% 91.5% 14.2

This season, Dirk Nowitzki sits very close to joining this list. He currently sits at 54.7% Effective Field Goal shooting, 40.3% from three, and 91.6% from the line. In fact, this is one of Dirk's greatest shooting seasons in years! Interestingly, three players on the list – Miller, Nash, and Allen – had one of these seasons as a 35+ year old player. Dirk will be 36 years old in June.

Will Dirk join his old pal Nash on this list? Check back with us once the regular season is over!

nice work Dre. crazy to think that Nash is as good a shooter as Ray Allen in addition to being an elite playmaker and passer.
'08 Nash was insane. But I give the tip to '88 Bird for doing close to it but with a much higher volume. Everyone always complained that Nash should have taken more shots during those peak years, but he was too busy making his teammates grossly overpaid.
'89 Price needed to shoot more too!
Bird '87 and '88 and Durant '13 had insane USG% to go along with their great shooting. That's pretty impressive. Nash's USG% was OK - he probably could have taken more shots, but the guy on that team who had the highest USG% (Amare) was maybe even more efficient than Nash. And Marion and Hill were also mighty efficient. So I don't think that Nash's amazing shooting really went to waste.

The guy who really needed to shoot more was Reggie Miller '02. He was EIGHTH on the team in USG%, and everyone else (except Brad Miller) was horribly inefficient. Jamaal Tinsley had a higher USG% than Miller and shot 38%!

Who got filtered out just because of the 90% FT shooting criteria? That seems to be the most stringent of your filters, but also the least interesting. I mean, above 80% (if not a good deal lower), free throw effectiveness is all about getting to the line, not FT%.

This is my principal gripe with most Fantasy basketball systems, that they way overvalue FT%. I mean, Lebron James's fantasy value in a lot of systems is hurt by his FT performance because he shoots under, sometimes well under, 80%. But he's always at the line. I would trade Lebron's career worst FT performance for Nash's career best any day.
> ...Who got filtered out just because of the 90% FT...

I think the 50-40-90 stuff is mostly for fun.

If you want to have something that makes sense from a value perspective, something like TS over a season would make more sense, and there are some other names at the top of that list - Tyson Chandler, Artis Gilmore, Charles Barkley, and Adrian Dantley feature prominently. (The best of the 50-40-90 seasons in terms of TS seems to be Nash '06.)

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