Through their half-century of existence, the Indiana Pacers have been home to some of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters. These players particularly stood out.
In today’s NBA, the 3-point shot has become one of the most important facets of the game. Thanks to the influx of advanced analytics, teams are shooting the 3-ball more than they ever have before.
It’s a big reason that teams like the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers have found championship success in recent years. Sure, those clubs housed superstar players, but they also had a bevy of 3-point snipers that helped them space the floor to give those stars some room to work.
The 3-pointer was bandied about in basketball games as early as the 1940’s, but it really gained prominence when the American Basketball Association (ABA) instituted it during their inaugural season in 1967-68. The shot was one of many things that the burgeoning league used to differentiate itself as the more fun alternative to the relatively stodgy NBA.
The rule left enough of a lasting impression for the NBA to institute it prior to the 1979-80 season. While it was initially treated as a novelty, the 3-pointer has contributed to some of the biggest moments in the league’s 72-year history. Fittingly, the Indiana Pacers — one of the ABA’s charter franchises — have greatly contributed to the league’s upward 3-point trend.
Of course, many of the Pacers’ all-time greatest sharpshooters came well after the 1976 NBA-ABA merger. But much like the now-defunct league, many of the Pacers best 3-point shooters have helped shape the way modern NBA offenses look. All of these men have benefitted thanks to this and 10 other franchises efforts to make the game more appealing to fans.