The 3-point field goal has been in the NBA since 1979, but it wasn’t until the Golden State Warriors Dynasty’s success in the 2010s that the league became a three-point dominant league.
It wasn’t always like this. The average number of three-pointers made per game in the 1999-2000 season was only about 13.7. Just in the last 20 years, the number of three-pointers attempted has increased by more than a third, to 35.2 per game in the 2021-22 NBA season.
However, NBA players who had not developed an outside perimeter game yet have had pretty successful careers. Here are the NBA players who have never attempted a three-point shot in more than 500 games.
1: A. Zaza Pachulia, the centre (1098 games, 0-31 3PA/M),
The Zaza Rule of NBA All-Star Voting and a few dirty actions during his time with the Warriors, when he won two NBA titles, have made Zaza a household name in recent years. He also played for the Atlanta Hawks for eight years.
He never learned how to shoot from beyond the arc despite playing for six different clubs over the course of his 16-year career. Even after more than a thousand games, he only took 31 shots and missed them all. Despite this, he was able to play for so long because of the contribution he made on the court.
2: Power Forward: Michael Cage (140 games, 0-25 3PA/M)
Aside from Cage, there are many other players who have played more than 1,000 games in their career. Pachulia’s style of play is playing in close to the basket. He was able to stay in the NBA for 15 years because of his defence and rebounding. But even though he didn’t have a long-range shot, his career scoring average was still 7.3 points.
3: Power forward JJ Hickson (534 games, 0-21 3PA/M)
From 2009 to 2011, Hickson started all 82 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers as LeBron James’ primary backup in Ohio. He primarily played power forward and centre at that time. In his twelve-year career, he played in more than 500 games and attempted 21 three-point attempts a game.
4: Power Forward Wayman Tisdale (840 games, 0-21 3PA/M)
Tisdale played in the NBA at a time when the league was dominated by big men and high-flying guards. Most of his shots were from near to the rim, back to the basket, or in the mid-range when he was playing.
He was able to flourish in the NBA without developing an outside game because of his era-appropriate gameplay. In his 12-year career, he averaged 15.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists a game.
5: Power Forward Chris Wilcox (628 games, 0-18 3PA/M).
For most of his career, Wilcox averaged 12.6 points per game in the starting lineup for the Seattle Supersonics and Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA. However, he never attempted a three-pointer in his whole 11-year career.
6: A.J. Armen Gilliam, Power Forward (929)
Gilliam never made a three-pointer in 929 NBA games. On the other hand, in spite of playing more frequently at the rim, during each of his 13 seasons in the NBA he averaged at least 10 points per game.
7: Iavaroni, Marc (531 games, 0-17 3PA/M), Power Forward
A seven-year NBA career with three different teams during the 1980s was all Iavaroni could muster. When you’re only given so many chances to make an impression as a role player, every shot counts. He would only attempt seven three-pointers, all of which he missed.
8: This is the eighth position Pat Cummings has played in the NBA (683 games, with an average of 0-16 3PA/M).
Cummings spent 12 seasons in the NBA, averaging more than 12 points per game with the Dallas Mavericks and the New York Knicks. Because he played in the early years of the three-point arc, it was rarely used, particularly by big men who primarily played in the paint.
9: Power Forward Earl Cureton (74 games, 0-16 3PA/M)
A basketball nomad, Cureton played in the NBA for 12 years, then in Europe for two years, then in South America for another two years. The most of his career was spent in the lane, where he excelled at defence and rebounding.
10: Five-time NBA All-Star Bobby Jones, Power Forward (537 games, 16 3PA/M)
Basketball Hall of Famer Bobby Jones never made a three pointer in his whole career. It’s also worth noting that he was a member of the league at the time of the three-point line’s debut.
11: Joakim Noah, Center (672 games, 0-16 3PA/M) is the 11th player.
When he played for the Chicago Bulls alongside Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah was also selected to the All-Star team, All-Defense, and Defensive Player of the Year. The three-point revolution, on the other hand, was witnessed by Noah, who played in the modern NBA, unlike Jones.
The NBA is a dynamic league where excellence is always being re-defined. With the recent rule changes and the rise of excellent three-point shooters who can construct their own opportunities, it is nearly difficult to win the NBA championship without making a 3-pointer.