Top 5 Guys I Want to Take Final Shot in NBA Playoffs
Simple. I don’t want to hear about statistics, which can be massaged to mean whatever the speaker wants them to say, but at the end of the day, I know what my eyes, gut, heart and mind say when it comes to true CLUTCHNESS (which includes not only making the shot, but first being willing to take it in the first place). With that in mind, these are my Top 5 in this regard, and a few honorable mentions:
MY TOP FIVE CLUTCH PLAYOFF SHOOTERS WITH THE GAME ON THE LINE:
1. KOBE BRYANT, Los Angeles Lakers.
Needs no explanation. As long as he’s still in the NBA, this will always be the case when it comes to my lists.
2. DIRK NOWITZKI, Dallas Mavericks.
Dirk has the unique set of skill, size and ability to create unforeseen amounts of space with the little leg kick that he does and the fallback — Dick Barnett style — coupled with a high-arching shot that basically makes defenders have to resort to hoping he simply misses, because the shot cannot be blocked. (Hubie Brown 2nd Person Voice) And if you foul him on that shot, he’s 90% at the line. If you are defending him, you just want to get your hand up and pray to the heavens that he misses, okay Mike?!?! arghahgahhahahaha.
3. CARMELO ANTHONY, New York Knicks.
Anthony scores easier and in the most varied ways — consistently — than anyone in the NBA. And he is not scared to shoot it, whether it is driving to the basket, isolating at the elbow extended, a one or two dribble and quick pull-up, or just flat out pulling up from three. No one does it easier and against any defender, than Anthony.
4. KEVIN DURANT, Oklahoma City Thunder.
Durant has the ability to be like Anthony in this regard, but too often he settles for isolation plays at the top of the key and launches 25 footers. While defenders basically have to also hope he misses like they do when guarding Nowitzki, those are lower percentage shots, with less of a chance of being fouled. And the numbers actually bear it out with Durant, he’s 2-10 on those settled 3 pointers, when he could have driven and possibly gotten fouled (when the team was down by fewer than three on those 2-10). This is what puts him lower on this list than he should be. But he will eventually figure it out. Even as great of a shooter as he is, settling for 25 footers is not the way. The fact he is willing to take the shot, however, keeps him here.
5. PAUL PIERCE, Boston Celtics.
Unlike the rest of the guys on this list, I hate Pierce. His slow-motion push-off, whiplash flop, step-back fallaway shot is annoying as can be. And either he gets a foul call by throwing himself into the defender (or to the ground) or creates enough space to get off the shot (and make it quite frequently, I might add), which makes it virtually unguardable if you do not deny him the ball. Boston knows this. Boston’s opponents know this. However, every time they need a shot, Pierce isolates and gets this look. Amazing ability by a guy who is as slow as molasses in making moves from the elbow extended.
Steve Novak, New York Knicks
Ray Allen, Boston Celtics
Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks
Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls