With the game on the line and just a second left on the shotclock, a team usually has their main man to take the last shot.
A guy with ice-cold veins to sink in the most crucial shot of the game. A player that thrives on these kinds of situations that all of the pressure is on their back.
LeBron James has always been criticized for his notoriously bad clutch performances. Meaning that even the greatest sometimes screws up at these crucial moments. Fatigue is a big factor that we usually don’t include in the equation. We all know that this guy is a workhorse and that (maybe) is the reason why his 4th quarter shots are not falling.
Now we all know that being clutch is not that easy, let’s take a look at the list of the players that masters that craft of sinking down game-winning shots.
Best Clutch Players in NBA History
Starting off our list is a player that is known for his “bag of tricks” and his late-game heroics. The greatest Celtic of the new millenium. “The Truth”, Paul Pierce.
Career Average: 19 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.5 apg
There is no doubt that Paul Pierce is one of the most clutch players ever.
He can sink his shot no matter how difficult it is. He can drive past his defenders and sink a layup or he can pull up a 15 foot jumper. I doesn’t really matter.
Just give him the ball and let him do the work.
His last iconic game winner was in 2015 against the Atlanta Hawks. With 5 seconds left and with the game on the line, he managed to score against 2 defenders with a tough, contested bank shot.
Lucky? Maybe. Clutch? Absolutely.
- NBA champion (2008)
- NBA Finals MVP (2008)
- 10× NBA All-Star (2002–2006, 2008–2012)
- All-NBA Second Team (2009)
- 3× All-NBA Third Team (2002, 2003, 2008)
- NBA All-Rookie First Team (1999)
- NBA Three-Point Shootout champion (2010)
Our next guy on the list is known for his deadly three point accuracy and sweet, sweet stroke when shooting the ball.
Career Average: 18.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.4 apg
For those who just recently watched the NBA in the 2010’s, you might not witnessed the great clutch performance of this man.
But his most iconic shot was in the NBA finals against the San Antonio Spurs. A chain of unfortunate events happened that prevented Tracy McGrady from obtaining his first and only championship ring.
What do you expect from the reigning Three Point King? Swish.
He played on various ball clubs; the late Seattle Supersonics, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks. He never failed to deliver on each of those teams.
This guy can bail out his team even with just a second remaining on the clock. A great addition to any team.
Don’t rejoice too much when you’re up by two and you got Ray Allen as your opponent.
Your team will get a cold-blooded three courtesy of the best shooter the league has ever seen.
- 2× NBA champion (2008, 2013)
- 10× NBA All-Star (2000–2002, 2004–2009, 2011)
- All-NBA Second Team (2005)
- All-NBA Third Team (2001)
- NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1997)
- NBA Sportsmanship Award (2003)
- NBA Three-Point Shootout champion (2001)
On number 3, the greatest Laker shooting guard ever. Trying to outscore this guy is near to impossible.
Career Average: 25.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.7 apg
Have you watched Kyrie Irving’s game winner in the Game 7 of the NBA Finals?
He said that he applied the “Mamba Mentality” when he sent the Golden State Warriors’ fans weeping on their way back home.
Kobe Bryant is one of the most deadliest scorers ever. Period.
Some may say that he’s a ballhog or he gets too many touches with the ball that’s why he scored that much.
Maybe. He’s leading the NBA for the most shots missed in a career. But that doesn’t take away the fact that he belongs to the pantheon of the greatest players in NBA history.
Who will shoot the ball if not Kobe? Rick Fox? Tyronne Lue? Come on.
He also has his fair share of game winning shots and late-game heroics.
Kobe’s most famous clutch shot (probably) is against Steve Nash’s Phoenix Suns in the 1st round of the playoffs.
His long list of buzzbeaters earned him the recognition of being one of the best closers in the league.
- 5× NBA champion (2000–2002, 2009, 2010)
- 2× NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010)
- NBA Most Valuable Player (2008)
- 18× NBA All-Star (1998, 2000–2016)
- 4× NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011)
- 11× All-NBA First Team (2002–2004, 2006–2013)
- 2× All-NBA Second Team (2000, 2001)
- 2× All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2005)
- 9× NBA All-Defensive First Team (2000, 2003, 2004, 2006–2011)
- 3× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2001, 2002, 2012)
- 2× NBA scoring champion (2006, 2007)
- NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion (1997)
Our second-best clutch player is known for his classic feud with Spike Lee. The Knick-killer in full effect.
Career Average: 18.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg
Killer instinct. That’s what Reggie Miller brings to the table each time he suits up for the game.
He’s the original Three Point King of the 90’s and a member of the 50-40-90 club.
Reggie’s iconic performance against the New York Knicks is the true definition of the word “Clutch”.
He even scored off a game winner against the GOAT, Michael Jordan.
That’s how deadly this man is.
His last game against their rivals, the Detroit Pistons is a classic one. Coach Larry Brown even called a 20 second timeout just to give Reggie a round of applause.
Dear 2kSports Team, please include Reggie and his 2000’s Indiana Pacers team. We are DYING to play it.
- 5× NBA All-Star (1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000)
- 3× All-NBA Third Team (1995, 1996, 1998)
- 50–40–90 club (1994)
- J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (2004)
- USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (2002)
- No. 31 retired by Indiana Pacers
Before we go down to the number one spot, here are some honorable mentions.
- Larry Bird
- Jerry West
- Robert Horry
- Steve Kerr
- Stephen Curry
- Steve Nash
- Allen Iverson
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Vince Carter
- Dwyane Wade
- Sam Jones
You probably had this one right from the start.
Career Average: 30.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 5.3 apg
Arguably, the best player ever, Michael Jordan is known for his signature buzzer beaters and game-winning shots.
His most iconic shot and one of the most controversial ones is the one against the Utah Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals.
He stripped Karl Malone, slowed down the offense, broke the ankles (or pushed off) of Bryon Russell and scores off a terrific jumper.
The list goes on and on. A career with 25 game winners ain’t that bad.
When the game was on the line, MJ was there to rescue them. Simple as that.
No one in the world can do it the same way that Jordan did.
- 6× NBA champion (1991–1993, 1996–1998)
- 6× NBA Finals MVP (1991–1993, 1996–1998)
- 5× NBA Most Valuable Player (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998)
- 14× NBA All-Star (1985–1993, 1996–1998, 2002, 2003)
- 3× NBA All-Star Game MVP (1988, 1996, 1998)
- 10× All-NBA First Team (1987–1993, 1996–1998)
- All-NBA Second Team (1985)
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1988)
- 9× NBA All-Defensive First Team (1988–1993, 1996–1998)
- NBA Rookie of the Year (1985)
- NBA All-Rookie First Team (1985)
- 10× NBA scoring champion (1987–1993, 1996–1998)
- 3× NBA steals leader (1988, 1990, 1993)
- 2× NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion (1987, 1988)
Did we miss out anything? Write your comments below. Don’t forget to like and share. I’ll see you again next time.