In this blog, we will take a look at the matchup between two of the best shooting guards in NBA history: Larry Bird and Ray Allen. Both players had exceptional careers, but who was the better shooter? We’ll compare their stats and try to come to a conclusion.
Larry Bird vs Ray Allen
The Higher Percentage
Ray Allen wins in terms of accuracy. His lifetime average of 39.8 percent beats Bird’s 37.6 percent.
In terms of their finest season, Allen’s 45.6 percent this season is also better than Bird’s career-best season. Bird’s 42.7 percent from a distance in 1984-1985 was a career-high.
It’s a small difference, but Allen is the better shooter.
Winner: Ray Allen
Again, it’s a numbers game, but this time there’s no contest. Allen has a Bird beat when it comes to the most produced.
Despite the fact that Bird did not shoot as many three-pointers as Allen, Allen has the greater percentage.
Allen has the most three-pointers in NBA history with 2564. Bird has roughly a quarter of the total number of threes in his career, with a total of 649.
Winner: Ray Allen
Playoff Three-Point Numbers
Ray Allen made 57 three-pointers in the NBA playoffs last year, more than double the number of games the Celtics played in reaching the NBA Finals.
He has 253 three-pointers in his career and 40.2 percent from beyond the arc in the postseason. Bird, on the other hand, has 80 three-pointers in the playoffs while shooting a slightly lower 32.1 percent from a distance.
It’s difficult to dismiss one of the most clutch three-point shooters this game has ever seen, but Allen is the worthy victor in this category once again. He had proven it statistically, making three-pointer after three-pointer when the Celtics needed it the most during their postseason campaigns.
How about his record eight three-pointers in last year’s NBA Finals against the Lakers, which is the most ever made by any player in an NBA Finals game?
Winner: Ray Allen
Three-Point Contest Itself
Larry Bird is not only the better three-point shooter of the two, but he may be the finest three-point shooter of all time.
Bird won the first three shootouts, including his first in Dallas in 1986. He followed that up with victories in Seattle in 1988 and Chicago in 1989. Bird and Chicago’s Craig Hodges are the only two players to win the contest three times, and both did so in three consecutive seasons.
When it came to shooting 30 basketballs in 60 seconds, there was possibly no one better than Larry Legend.
Allen has one win to his name, a shootout victory as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2001.
Overall, it’s clear that Bird was the more feared and dominant of the two in the three-point contest.
Winner: Larry Bird
|Larry Bird||Career||Ray Allen|
|8,591||Field Goals Made||8,567|
|17,334||Field Goals Attempted||18,955|
|49.6%||Field Goal Percentage||45.2%|
|24.3||Points Per Game||18.9|
|38.4||Minutes Per Game||35.6|
|6.3||Assists Per Game||3.4|
|10.0||Rebounds Per Game||4.1|
|22.8||Points Per 36 Minutes||19.0|
|9.4||Rebounds Per 36 Minutes||4.1|
|6.0||Assists Per 36 Minutes||3.4|
Larry Bird appeared in 897 games and played 34,443 minutes during his career. Bird has appeared in 870 games, averaging 24.3 points per game and totaling 21,791 points. Throughout his career, he averaged 22.8 points per 36 minutes while also grabbing 9.4 rebounds and dishing out 6.0 assists. Bird earned a 49.6% shot percentage by making 8,591 of 17,334 tries.
He converted 649 of his 1,727 downtown baskets for a 3pt rate of 37.6%. He had a percentage of 50.9% by burying 7,942 of his 15,607 2pt shot attempts.
Bird converted 3,960 of his 4,471 free throw attempts for an 88.6% rate. He had a 51.4% effective field goal percentage and was responsible for 2,279 personal fouls and 2,816 turnovers. Bird has a total of 8,974 rebounds in his pro basketball career, with 7,217 defensive and 1,757 offensive rebounds. He has 1,556 steals, 755 blocks, and 5,695 assists. Bird averaged 6.8 assists and 9.6 rebounds per game.
Ray Allen played in 1,300 games and logged 46,344 minutes. Allen has scored 24,505 points in his NBA career, averaging 18.9 points per game, and started 1,149 games. He had 3.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 19.0 points per 36 minutes.
Allen had a 45.2% shooting percentage and made 8,567 baskets out of 18,955 attempts. With 7,429 attempts from long range in his career, he had a 40.0% success percentage, hitting 2,973 of them. He had a 48.5% 2pt shooting percentage, converting 5,594 of 11,526 shots.
Allen converted 4,398 of his 4,920 free throw attempts for an 89.4% free throw percentage. While he had a 53.0% effective FG rate, he also had 2,709 turnovers and 2,858 fouls. In his NBA career, he grabbed 5,272 total rebounds, 4,042 on defense and 1,230 on offense. Allen recorded a total of 4,361 dimes in addition to 1,451 steals and 244 blocks. He averaged 2.8 boards and 2.0 assists per game.
|Larry Bird – 1991-92||Most Recent Season||Ray Allen – 2013-14|
|353||Field Goals Made||240|
|758||Field Goals Attempted||543|
|46.6%||Field Goal Percentage||44.2%|
|150||Free Throws Made||105|
|162||Free Throws Attempted||116|
|92.6%||Free Throw Percentage||90.5%|
|6.6||Assists Per 36 Minutes||2.7|
Larry Bird started 45 games and logged 1,662 minutes. In 45 games, he scored 908 points and averaged 20.2 points per game. Bird averaged 19.7 points, 9.4 boards, and 6.6 assists per 36 minutes. The bird had a field goal percentage of 46.6% after making 353 of 758 shots attempted. Bird converted 52 of 128 long-range triples for a 3pt percentage of 40.6%.
He made 301 of 630 shots from inside the arc, for a 2pt% of 47.8%. The bird had a 92.6% free throw conversion rate, making 150 of 162 tries. Larry Bird ended his final season with a 50.0% effective FG rate, 125 turnovers, and 82 violations. Bird had 434 total rebounds last season, 46 of which were offensive and 388 of which were defensive. Bird had 306 assists, 42 steals, and 33 rejections in his final year. Bird averaged 9.64 rebounds and 6.80 assists per game.
Ray Allen played 1,936 minutes of basketball last season, starting nine games. He scored 701 points in 73 games and averaged 9.6 points per game. Allen averaged 13.0 points, 3.8 boards, and 2.7 assists per 36 minutes. Allen made 240 of 543 tries for a 44.2% field goal percentage. Allen shot 37.5% from long range, making 116 of his 309 attempts.
He had a two-point percentage of 53.0% after making 124 of 234 attempts. Allen sunk 105 of his 116 free throw attempts at a rate of 90.5%. Ray Allen had 115 personal fouls in his past season, as well as 84 turnovers and a 54.9% effective field goal percentage. When it comes to rebounds, Allen has 23 offensive and 182 defensives, totaling 205. Allen had 8 rejections, 143 assists, and 54 steals. Allen averaged 2.0 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game.
Honors and Awards
|Ray Allen||Larry Bird|
|All-NBA First Team||0||9|
|Rookie of The Year||0||1|
Who was a better shooter, Larry Bird or Magic Johnson?
In fact, Johnson did lead the league in steals two years in a row. His nemesis and friend off the court, Larry Bird, was a much better shooter and defender than Magic ever was. In addition, Bird bested Magic quite convincingly in almost every single major statistical category with the exception of assist
Who was better, Bird or Barkley?
“I do things better than Larry Bird!”: When Charles Barkley revealed his controversial verdict on if he was better than Celtics legend. Charles Barkley believes that he was better than Larry Bird because he did a lot more things on the court.
In short, Larry Bird and Ray Allen are two of the best basketball players of all time. They both have impressive skills and accomplishments. However, when comparing them head-to-head, Larry Bird comes out on top. He was a better scorer, rebounder, and passer than Ray Allen. He also was a better defender and played in a tougher era.