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An eSports Series: The NBA 3-point equivalent— The Sniper

NBA player Steph Curry could very well be the greatest shooter of all time, especially at 3-point range. One of the many examples below:

Aside from the skill it takes to make a three-point shot under pressure, we understand the factors that created this amazing moment:

  • More or less a Buzzer beater shot

  • This was in overtime

  • The score was tied

  • Golden State had a time out left, they didn’t use it

  • Look how far away from the 3-point line he was when he shot

  • Game winning shot

And if that wasn’t enough, let’s get into details:

  • He was just past the NBA half court line, which is a little less than 47 feet away from the basket

  • A regulation sized basketball rim in the NBA is 18 inches in diameter

  • The ball did not hit the backboard

The 3-point shot is a remarkable test of accuracy made up of mechanics while under immense pressure from other external factors. Accuracy occurs in other sports as well: Golf, Archery, Billiards, Bowling, and more. In eSports, First Person Shooters (FPS) games are no different.

But how is accuracy portrayed in FPS games and what is the equivalent of a crazy Steph Curry 3 point shot?


Scoring in FPS games come from kills: If you get a lot of kills, you’ll most likely win. In the NBA, you score points by making shots and there are many ways to do so, but at the end of the day “it’s a make or miss league”. Kills (FPS) are the same as Points (NBA)

In terms of the basic 3-point shot in basketball in a game situation, arguably the “easiest” from a pure shooting perspective (not including screens, running around, etc.) is when someone is wide open and is passed the ball: an “uncontested 3”

The shot by Klay Thompson is an amazing example.

The equivalent? A shot from a Sniper Rifle while standing still:

The Sniper Rifle maximizes the value of a kill (vs a rifle where it takes multiple shots to kill someone if it’s not a headshot), but is a difficult gun to handle due to the required quick reaction time and accuracy while scoped in. If you miss, there is a high chance you may be instantly killed after you shoot since you have to reload after every shot. Even those who play FPS games (like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Fortnite, CS:GO, etc.) casually will understand this concept.

The similarities between a Sniper Rifle and a 3-point shot are clear: it is also a difficult shot to make (there is a lower average percentage rate of makes vs a 2-point shot), maximizes the point value in basketball, and you must adjust your “normal” form. If you miss, you come up with 0 points: a “high risk, high reward” shot

With the basics out of the way, let’s find some 3 point-Sniper shot equivalents:

The Quick Reaction shot:

Steph Curry immediately catches the ball and shoots. It looks like he may be slightly out of position when shooting as well.

Same thing with JR Smith to a degree. He catches a pass from Lebron and immediately shoots. This type of catch-and-shoot play occurs countless times, especially when a team needs to make a quick play with less than a second on the shot clock. A high reaction is needed to catch and immediately shoot.

When playing Valorant, the Pro player TenZ was slowly holding an angle with the Sniper but notices his opponent pop up to his left briefly. TenZ adjusts and quickly “flicks” to the left and kills them. This requires an insane amount of concentration, reaction speed, and accuracy. Sound familiar?

Pro Player Wardell showcases his reaction time in a different manner. In a split second, the opponent jumps and Wardell times it just right to get a kill, but since the Sniper Rifle is a powerful gun, it does collateral damage to the other enemy player and kills them. Essentially both enemies lined up perfectly for Wardell to kill two enemies with one bullet.

In this clip, TenZ gets shot from the back. He probably should of died since his back was completely turned, but TenZ reacts and adjusts immediately to get a headshot. This all happens in about two seconds.

The long distance shot:

In the modern age, we know this as “Steph Curry range” or “Damian Lillard range”:

It’s “Dame Time”—that range is unprecedented.

What’s the equivalent? We turn to World Champion Fornite Pro, Bugha

You can see that when Bugha zooms in, a player is to the left. But for his sniper shot to hit, he needs to account for both distance and movement (he’s moving on a vehicle), which he did. The result was a knock (or incapacitated) from 176 game meters away, which is far. Not only is this similar to Lillard’s shot, but Bugha also had to account for moving at the same time on top of the distance. That’s nuts

Sniper kills are extremely satisfying due to the difficulty of yielding this gun- accuracy, reaction time, quick adjustments, long range, all of which is similar to a 3-pointer. The variations are endless, but the core concept stays consistent in the basketball and eSports. So next time you see someone snipe, you’ll be able to appreciate how crazy the shot may be. In meantime, get hyped with some crazy plays from Wardell.


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