The game of basketball has evolved to the point where every NBA draft class now is full of guys who can knock it down from deep. Teams can find shooters at every position, as even centers step out and shoot the three these days.
The 2020 NBA draft class is no exception with so many three-point threats that choosing a list of the five best is not an easy exercise. We had to leave off several really good shooters, including Cassius Winston of Michigan State, Devin Vassell of Florida State and Tyrell Terry of Stanford. All three are lights-out from long range.
But this year's class also features some of the best three-point shooters college basketball has ever seen, plus others who put up some wild stats. With that in mind, here are the top five three-point threats likely to be drafted this year....
1. Markus Howard, PG, Marquette
- Age: 21
- Height: 5-11
- Weight: 180
- Wingspan: 5-11
- 2019/20 stats: 29 G, 33.2 mpg, 27.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.0 bpg, 42.2 FG% (7.5/14.6), 41.2 3PT% (4.2/10.1), 84.7 FT%
There are a lot of good shooters in this draft, but Howard's numbers are hard to argue with. He shot 41.2 percent on a ridiculous 10.4 attempts per game. A four-year player at Marquette, Howard was a lethal long range shooter from the day he stepped on campus. He shot 54.7 percent from three on 4.8 attempts per game as a freshman and made 42.7 percent for his college career on 7.9 attempts.
According to Basketball Reference, Howard is one of only three players in college basketball history to shoot at least 42 percent while attempting 1,000 or more threes in his career. So, he is legitimately one of the best three-point shooters to ever enter the draft. The question is how that will translate to the NBA level, as Howard is only 5-foot-11 and projected as a second round pick.
2. Aaron Nesmith, G/F, Vanderbilt
- Age: 20
- Height: 6-6
- Weight: 213
- Wingspan: 6-10
- 2019/20 stats: 14 G, 35.7 mpg, 23.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.9 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.9 bpg, 51.2 FG% (7.5/14.6), 52.2 3PT% (4.3/8.2), 82.5 FT%
Nesmith has the best three-point shooting numbers from this season, but he's No. 2 on this list because it came in a relatively small sample size. He played only 14 games and wasn't a great shooter last year as a freshman. His sophomore three-point stats, however, are jawdropping. He made 52.2 percent of his threes on 8.2. attempts. Even in half a season, and with many of those games being out of conference, those numbers are hard to ignore.
Nesmith is also a projected lottery pick by most evaluators, as he is more than a shooter. He can defend and create off the dribble and could be an instant impact player in the pros.
3. Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova
- Age: 21
- Height: 6-8
- Weight: 216
- Wingspan: 6-10
- 2019/20 stats: 31 G, 33.9 mpg, 16.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.4 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.4 bpg, 47.7 FG% (5.6/11.8), 45.1 3PT% (2.5/5.6), 76.9 FT%
Originally from Largo, MD and a graduate of Sidwell Friends HS, Bey was fourth in the NCAA this past season in percentage with a 45.1 clip on 5.6 attempts per game. Those numbers were up from his freshman year when he made 37.4 percent on 3.6 attempts.
At 6-foot-8, Bey has a quick release and is also a very good defensive player, traits that have him projected to go in the first round and possibly the backend of the lottery. Of the players on this list, he has as good a chance as any for his skills to translate quickly to the NBA level.
4. Desmond Bane, G/F, TCU
- Age: 22
- Height: 6-6
- Weight: 215
- Wingspan: 6-5
- 2019/20 stats: 32 G, 36.0 mpg, 16.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 45.2 FG% (6.2/13.6), 44.2 3PT% (2.9/6.5), 78.9 FT%
Bane played four years at Texas Christian and was a perimeter threat for the entirety of his career. He made 43.3 percent from long range while averaging 4.1 attempts. Those numbers ballooned to 44.2 percent on 6.5 attempts his senior year.
Bane has a chance to be a first round pick, but is probably more likely for the second round. Some have compared him to Malcolm Brogdon because he's a big, defensive-minded guard who can shoot and who played four years in college. Maybe he will prove to be a steal like Brogdon was.
5. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
- Age: 20
- Height: 6-5
- Weight: 175
- Wingspan: 7-0
- 2019/20 stats: 22 G, 36.7 mpg, 15.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 6.5 apg, 2.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 50.4 FG% (5.6/11.1), 41.9 3PT% (2.4/5.6), 82.2 FT%
Haliburton is the best overall prospect on this list with most mock drafts having him go in the top-10 and many in the top-5. He is the arguably most versatile player in this draft class with the ability to shoot, pass, rebound and defend. And when it comes to his three-point shooting, the numbers are impressive by any measure. He shot at a high clip (41.9%) and volume (5.6 3PA) and produced a large sample size, also hitting on 43.4 percent of his threes as a freshman last season.
Haliburton is going to be a high draft pick and could become a very good NBA player, but there are question marks with his shooting due to his low release point. It seems possible he will need a mechanical tweak in the NBA, or else it may be blocked consistently.