Dec 6, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks shooting guard Kyle Korver (26) attempts a three over Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Alonzo Gee (33) in the first quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Korver and the 40-50-90 club

Statistically speaking, Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver is one of the most consistent long-range shooters in NBA history. Earlier this year, Korver broke a 19-year-old record set by former Boston Celtics guard Dana Barros. Barros went 98 consecutive games with at least one three pointer made. Korver surpassed that mark in the beginning of December and the streak is still active and currently stands at 107 games.

Korver has been consistent, but he has also been extremely accurate, shooting 46% from beyond the three-point arc in his first two seasons with the Hawks. Korver also holds the mark for best three-point percentage in a single season at 53% in 2009-2010, but it is quite possible that Korver is on the verge of accomplishing his most impressive feat yet.

The 40-50-90 club is one of the most exclusive clubs in all of sports. The accomplishment has been one of the toughest to come across since the addition of the three-point line in the 1979-1980 season. Only six players have accomplished the feat; Larry Bird, Mark Price, Reggie Miller, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Durant, with Bird doing it twice and Nash reaching the plateau a staggering four times.

Although the achievement is extremely difficult, the equation is not. In order to become a member of the club, a player must shoot over 50% on two-point field goals, shoot better than 40% on three-point attempts, and shoot above 90% from the free throw line.

Does Korver have a chance?

Let’s start with Korver’s specialty, the three-pointer. Korver has the 2nd-best three-point percentage in the league among those who qualify, shooting an astounding 47%. Staying above the 40% mark should not be an issue for Korver this season, and at the moment, he has made 97 of his attempted 197 three-point attempts. Korver could go into a massive slump, missing his next 35 three point shot attempts in a row and his three-point percentage would still be at 40 percent on the season. Rest assured, Korver will shoot over 40 percent from beyond the arc for the fifth consecutive season unless absolute disaster strikes.

Carrying on, Korver is currently shooting 52.4% (55 for 105) from 2-point range. Korver has only surpassed 50% from 2-point range one other time in his career, when he shot 51% in the 2007-2008 season. While 52.4% would be a career high for Korver from inside the arc, it doesn’t seem to be out of question with how he has shooting been in 2013-2014.

Free throw percentage is the final piece, and Korver’s free throw percentage is currently at 91.2% (31-34). Korver is a career 87.6% shooter from the free throw line and he also led the league in free throw percentage back in 2006-2007, when he shot 91.6%. However, Korver has only shot above 90% from the charity-stripe one other time in his career in 2007-2008 when he shot 91.5%, and this one could be the most perilous.

While we got the pure numbers out of the way, through 38 games (Korver has appeared in 33 of them), he is shooting better than 40-50-90. In many ways, this is Korver’s best season as a pro and the numbers he has put up through half of the season would illustrate that Korver is on the fast track to be the 7th member of the 40-50-90 club. However, there is one thing that has a chance of derailing Korver’s journey back into the record books: volume.

In order to be among the league leaders and in the 40-50-90 club, you must qualify for those categories by shooting a certain amount of times on the season. The NBA league minimum in order to qualify for each category is as follows: 300 field goals made (Korver is half way there at 149), 55 three-point field goals made (Korver has already made a remarkable 94), and lastly, 125 made free throws (Korver has only made 31 free throws through the teams first 38 games).

This technicality kept Jose Calderon out of the “official” club in the 2007-2008 season when he shot 52–43–91, but Calderon made 109 free throws, falling just 16 made free throws short of the mark. Korver is on a blistering pace in every category, and somehow, he continues to get more efficient with age.

However, getting to the free throw line has never been a huge part of Korver’s arsenal. Korver hasn’t had a 100 free-throw attempt season in the past five years and has only done it four times in an 11-year career. Kyle is on pace right now to make about 70 free throws this season, keeping him about 50 made free throws short of the mark.

Here are a couple of “creative” solutions to get Korver trips to the free throw line:

A schedule change: Change the Hawks remaining 44 game schedule and play solely against the Sacramento Kings. Demarcus Cousins is leading the league in technical fouls with 10, which would allow Korver to up his free throw total after every one.

A change in shoes: Korver has a shoe deal with Nike and has almost exclusively worn Kobe Bryant’s shoe model this season, but I propose that he switches to wearing Kevin Durant’s line of shoes. Durant is leading the league getting to the line 10 times per game, 379 total times this season, and perhaps this would influence even NBA-caliber referees.

The FOURVER takeover: Korver had five 4-point-plays in his first 10 seasons in the league, however in the 2013-2014 campaign alone, Korver has matched his career total of five four-point-plays. With only about 100 more, he will be ready to knocking on the door of the made free throw plateau.

In all seriousness, 10 of Korver’s free throw attempts have been in the last three games, and Korver hasn’t missed a free throw in over a month. The sharpshooter has seen a very slight uptick in shots attempted in the recent past, and there could be a reason. For reference, he is averaging 9.2 shots per game since Al Horford went down with a season ending injury and was averaging 8.7 field goal attempts per game prior to that. With that said, maybe Korver continues his rapid free throw pace that he has set over the past three games, or perhaps his attempts from all over the court continue with more of the offense headed his way without Horford. Aside from that, though, it appears that he will fall just short of the elusive 40-50-90 club.

Either way, Korver continues to do things that not only help the Hawks win games, but he keeps finding a way into the record books. When it’s all said and done, Korver has the opportunity to be considered one of the most effective and efficient shooters the NBA has ever seen.

Tags: Atlanta Hawks Kyle Korver

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