On Tuesday, Ricky O'Donnell wrote a great, well-researched piece for the main SB Nation page showing that Buddy Hield is the best college shooter since Stephen Curry. In the piece, Ricky looks at, among other things, Buddy Hield's three-point percentage charted against his made threes and Hield's true shooting percentage compared to some great shooters in college basketball history. The charts show, pretty conclusively, that Hield is one of the best three-point shooting volume scorers in recent NCAA history.
My issue, though, is that Ricky compares Hield to Stephen Curry, J.J. Redick, and Jimmer Fredette, listing these three as "college basketball's most dominant three-point-shooting, volume-scoring guards."
WHERE IS SALIM STOUDAMIRE?
1) Salim Stoudamire made nearly as many threes as Hield, Curry, Redick, or Fredette while shooting a much higher percentage.
Hield shoots a ridiculous 46.4% from three and has made nearly 130 three-pointers this season. No one in college basketball has both made as many threes as Hield has this year while maintaining such a high percentage.
(This is Ricky's chart. I used my high school design class background to sloppily add Stoudamire's 2004-05 season to said chart.)
Yeah, Salim didn't make quite as many threes in his senior season as Hield has this year. And this chart technically shows all the leaders in three-pointers made each season, which isn't necessarily going to capture the most efficient players.
But Salim made a boatload of threes on ridiculous percentages. He made 120 three-pointers his senior season, which was fourth in the country, while still leading the country in three-point percentage (shooting 50.4%). That's unheard of.
Salim's 50.4% mark is the sixth best three-point percentage ever (among those with enough attempts to qualify), and only one player ahead of him - Troy Hudson - had more than 100 made threes in that season. Only three players in history have ever had 100+ threes made in a season while shooting 50%+ from three. Salim is one of those players. Buddy has (so far this season) made 16 more threes than Salim did as a senior, but took 58 more attempts to do it. He'd have to make his next 21 threes to match Salim's 50.4% mark.
Redick, Curry, and Fredette? None of them ever shot above 45% from three in a season. All three were volume shooters, to be sure, but that volume significantly impacted their percentages. The opposite was true for Salim - his three-point percentage actually increased his senior season despite the fact that he took 50 more attempts as a senior than he did as a junior. It isn't supposed to work that way - a player's efficiency is supposed to go down as he takes more shots. Salim was such a great shooter than he broke statistics.
2) Salim's true shooting percentage puts him ahead of all of these supposed legends.
Hield's true shooting percentage is ridiculously high this season. It is better than Steph Curry's best season (64%), J.J. Redick's best season (63%), and Jimmer Fredette's best season (61.5%).
It's not better than Salim Stoudamire's best season, though.
(Again, Ricky's chart, edited poorly by me. I crossed out J.J. Redick mostly out of spite, as he was widely recognized as the best shooter in the country despite the fact that Salim was better. I also misspelled Redick's name as I edited this chart, and I am not going to change it, because I still do not like J.J. Redick.)
Salim's true shooting percentage his senior season was a ridiculous 68.9%, which blows away everyone on that list, including Hield. That's because Salim was not only a great three-pointer shooter, but great from two (above 50%) and from the free throw line (above 90%). In fact, since 1994, only six players have shot 50% from the field, 40% from three, and 90% from the free throw line in a single season (with a non-trivial amount of playing time). Stoudamire is one of those players. Guys who have shot 50% from the field, 50% from three, and 90% from the free throw line in a single season? Only two people have done that, and Salim is one of them.
The argument against Salim is that he wasn't a volume scorer to the same extent that Hield, Curry, Redick, or Fredette were. But while he wasn't a volume scorer to the same extent as those guys, he still was a volume scorer, managing to finish third in the conference in points per game. And the list of guys as efficient as Salim who still managed to score 18+ points per game is pretty short. Salim never scored 20+ a game, sure, but he was still a volume scorer.
Salim Stoudamire was a better shooter, in college, than Buddy Hield. He was a better shooter than Jimmer Fredette or Stephen Curry. And he was definitely a better shooter than J.J. Redick. Yet when people list the great shooters in college basketball history, those players all get mentioned, and Salim doesn't. That's wrong.
Salim Stoudamire is the best shooter in college basketball history, and he deserves more respect.