NBA

Ranking The Players With The Best Stepback Shots

Every generation of NBA players normalizes a new type of move or skill in the game of basketball. The talented players in the league see the move’s value and its effectiveness and try to add it to their arsenal, on their way to reach the goal of being an unstoppable athlete.

The step-back shot was pioneered and made viral by Steph Curry. He started using it to his advantage in the 2014-2015 and his 2015-2016 MVP seasons by creating distance between him and the defender, taking a step back to the outside of the three-point line to allow him to make an easier, less-contested shot.

Since then, many players saw the potential of this move and decided to learn and master it to have more weapons in their offensive arsenal. James Harden made it into his signature move, using it to its full potential.

This article ranks the top-5 players who are most known for their ability to make this shot and are widely known as the players who use this move in the most effective manner possible. This ranking is mainly based on the eye-test as well as the number of connections made with the player when the step-back shot is mentioned.

5. Kemba Walker

Kemba Walker has shown throughout his career that he is a premier offensive talent and is not afraid to try new moves that would help him score the basketball. Walker has become a prominent user of the step-back move.

Kemba Walker (8) celebrating after making a shot against his former team, the Charlotte Hornets (Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)
https://youtu.be/G6eMBvSiOq0
Kemba Walker hit a game-winning ankle-breaking step-back game-winner in March Madness quarterfinals

Scoring in a small 6-foot frame would be difficult for many. Still, Walker makes it look easy, and this shot is a big reason why he can score seemingly at will. This move is particularly extra effective for Walker as his long step backwards helps create a lot of space between him and the defender, making it easier for him to score.

4. Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard has shown throughout his career, just like Kemba Walker, that he can score in a variety of ways, using the step-back move to its full advantage. Lillard has used this move particularly well when on his scoring rampage earlier this year.

https://youtu.be/a-M3x-eZpV8
Damian Lillard knocking out the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs with a step-back jump-shot

His ability to knock down difficult shots while taking a step-back shot has him over Kemba as he hits those shots at higher rates than him.

3. Steph Curry

Steph Curry is seen as the pioneer of the shot who made it go viral over his run in his 2015-2016 unanimous MVP season. He used to leave defenders in the dust and create an opportunity for him to take an uncontested three-pointer.

https://youtu.be/3jub_zd6uFM
Curry (30) splashing a step-back three on the Detroit Pistons

Curry is an extremely creative player who uses many different methods to score, and so he portrayed its usefulness to the world. He is, no doubt, the third-best player in the NBA who uses the step-back and has it in their offensive arsenal.

2. Luka Doncic

The offensive, sophomore phenom, Luka Doncic, took every advantage this move provided and used it en route to averaging a near 30.0 points per game season. His mastery of this superb skill has put a notch above everyone else.

Luka Doncic showing James Harden that he has a better step-back three jump-shot
https://youtu.be/QpE9LwnEiRs
Luka Doncic showing James Harden that he has a better step-back three jump-shot

Doncic uses the move to his full potential. Being less athletic than most other players, Luka uses numerous moves to get to the basket and get his shot off which includes the use of the step-back jumper. Easily the second-best player in the game that uses this shot to its maximum potential.

1. James Harden

Harden has to be the most-known player in the league that uses the shot and rightfully so. The league leader in scoring has made this shot his signature move and even took things one step further last season, adding another step in the step-back, causing controversy over whether the double step-back move was a travel.

https://youtu.be/gSDJ-HffHrU
James Harden step-back compilation

He is known to break ankles at an astounding rate by using just this single move and is seen by most as the player who uses this move the most with the most effectiveness. Harden should look to continue using the move as it’s working for him. Nevertheless, it’s the most crucial move in his arsenal, and he, most likely, won’t stop using it anytime soon.

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