Some players turn on their game in every sport in critical situations to save their teams or earn crucial points. The NBA calls those crucial moments the Clutch Time, defined as the last five minutes when a team leads or trails by five points or fewer. For example, the clutch is when the buzzer is about to go off, and a player has missed his last three shots only to make the last one and score. The NBA will then include that shot in its NBA clutch stats.
Generally, many people do not understand clutch stats. Some believe the statistics mean nothing because a player might have performed a specific move out of luck. Nevertheless, one must acknowledge that some players perform better in high-pressure situations.
They remain calm and composed in those last five minutes of the game because they know they will do something magical. But who has the most clutch shots in the NBA history?
Who is a clutch player in basketball?
In basketball, a clutch player is an athlete who performs a specific action when under pressure or in the clutch. The phenomenon usually occurs in the last minutes of a game to perform well or change the outcome of a game. In most cases, a clutch player performs consistently well, driving in high-pressure situations and cannot afford to make a mistake.
For example, the opposition comes whizzing down in a tie game with two minutes left. Suddenly, one player in the leading team stuffs the drive and helps his team maintain the lead. That player is clutch.
A clutch player is also an athlete who gets a clean block from behind in the last seconds of a game when an MVP candidate is about to launch a three to win the game or tie it. Ideally, it is easier to hit a shot when your team wins by double digits.
Hitting a game-winning shot at the buzzer when under pressure is a lot harder, hence the clutch. In 2017, Kevin Durant's stats in the finals showed he averaged 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1.0 steals while shooting 55.6% overall and 47.4% from deep.
Who is the most clutch player in NBA 2021?
Russell Westbrook was the most clutch player in the NBA 2021. He took 135 shots in situations where the win probability impact was low. Also, Russell took 161 clutch shots throughout the season that had a high impact on the win probability. Russell Westbrook shooting percentage in the NBA in 2021 was .439, and his career average is .438.
NBA clutch stats
The criteria used to determine the most clutch player in the NBA history consider several factors, including the number of clutch shots the player made throughout their careers and the significance of the shots and performances. Although many other factors come into play, here is a look at the top 10 clutch NBA players of all time.
1. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. He played 15 seasons in the NBA, 13 seasons with the Chicago Bulls and two seasons with the Washington Wizards.
One of Jordan's innumerable records in the NBA is the mark for the most game-winning buzzer-beaters in league history with nine. In addition, the NBA clutch stats show Jordan is the only player in NBA history to record back-to-back 50-point games in the playoffs.
2. Larry Bird
Larry Bird started his NBA career in 1979 and ended in 1992. After 13 years playing for the Boston Celtics, Larry broke many records in the NBA. Bird averaged 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists in 897 regular-season games. Furthermore, Bird was the NBA MVP in 1984, 1985, and 1986, one of three players to get the MVP three times in a row.
3. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant played as a shooting guard and spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA between 1996 and 2016. The most impressive ESPN NBA stats show that Kobe Bryant netted 23.1% of his 130 clutch points from behind the arc. Additionally, Bryant ranks third as the player with the most free throws (8,378) in NBA history.
4. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson played 13 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers throughout his career. Johnson made 325 three-pointers in 906 regular-season games. He also averaged 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 11.2 assists.
Johnson holds the top marks for most All-Star Game assists with 127 and three-point baskets with ten. Furthermore, Johnson had more clutch shots that helped his team win crucial points.
5. Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller started his NBA career in 1987 and ended it in 2005. In 18 years of pro basketball, Reggie Miller only played for the Indiana Pacers as a shooting guide. However, fans and pundits called Miller the Knicks Killer because he was one of the best clutch players in league history. From 1996 until his retirement, Miller attempted 102 shots in clutch situations and made 39.
6. Jerry West
Jerry West played professional football for the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA between 1960 and 1974. Arguably, West should be on top of NBA clutch stats because one of his nicknames was Mr Clutch.
He acquired the name because he could make a big play in most clutch situations. His most memorable play was the 1970 NBA Finals against the New York Knicks, where he made a 60-foot shot at beating the buzzer and tied the game.
7. Isiah Thomas
Robert Horry played 16 seasons in the NBA for four teams, Houston Rockets (1992–1996), Phoenix Suns (1996–1997), Los Angeles Lakers (1997–2003), and San Antonio Spurs (2003–2008). He won seven championships and became one of only four NBA players to win the championship with three different teams. Horry received the nickname Big Shot Rob because of his clutch shots at crucial game moments.
8. Robert Horry
Robert Horry played 16 seasons in the NBA for four teams, Houston Rockets (1992–1996), Phoenix Suns (1996–1997), Los Angeles Lakers (1997–2003), and San Antonio Spurs (2003–2008). He won seven championships and became one of only four NBA players with three different teams. Horry received the nickname Big Shot Rob because of his clutch shots at crucial game moments.
9. Derek Fisher
Derek Fisher played professional basketball for 18 seasons as a point guard. Before 2020, Fisher was the all-time NBA record holder in playoff games until LeBron James passed him.
Then, during the 2004 Western Conference Semi-finals, Fisher hit a buzzer-beater with 0.4 seconds left in game five. That became one of the greatest playoff moments of all time in the NBA.
10. Chauncey Billups
Chauncey Billups played 17 seasons in the NBA and became a five-time NBA All-Star. Billups acquired the nickname Mr Big Shot when he played in the NBA. Furthermore, his peers regard him as the best mid-level exception signing in NBA history. Since 1997, Chauncey Billups tops the charts with a 61.7% true shooting percentage among players who have averaged over 20 points per game in the finals.
Many people have never paid attention to NBA clutch stats. However, the statistics show how excellent a player is during the crucial last five minutes of the game. Michael Jordan comes first when ranking the 10 most clutch players in NBA history. The rest are Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Reggie Miller, Jerry West, Isiah Thomas, Robert Horry, Derek Fisher, and Chauncey Billups.
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