Why is this?
I think it's due to three factors:
- The three point shot wasn't introduced until the 1979-80 season, and until recently, it wasn't heavily utilized except for those few years in the mid-90s when they shortened the arc. Consider the 84/85 season (picked at random). The league leader in 3PT FG shots was Darrell Griffith with 257 attempts. Compare that to 2005/06 season, where Ray Allen shot 653 3 PTs!
Another example - Larry Bird, who was in the top 10 3 PT FG shooter for six seasons, still has less than half as many 3 PTs as someone like Shane Battier, who was not considered a high volume 3 PT shooter for his time.
- Those players in the 80s and 90s who were exceptional 3 PT shooters were more likely to be specialists rather than superstars. Players like MJ and Magic didn't take many 3s (especially compared to the superstars of today). The 3 PT sharpshooters like Kerr, Dell Curry, Dan Majerle and Peja were considered specialists. This has obviously changed, especially with Steph Curry.
- The number of 3 PT field goals has exploded in the past decade or so, meaning these players who are racking up 3 PT FGs aren't yet eligible for the HoF. This includes both recently retired players on the list who are definitely HoF bound (Kobe, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, etc.) as well as active players who are definitely HoF bound (LeBron, Curry, Paul Pierce, Manu, etc.)
The graph below shows the most 3 PT FGs made by a player per season. As the trendline indicates, the number of made threes has been inching upward over the past 20 years and really has taken off over the past few.
(Note: For the lockout shortened seasons in 1999 and 2011, I normalized the 3PTs made per an 82-game schedule.)