LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. I said it, and I’ll probably stick to it for the next five years. But I don’t want him taking the last shot if the game’s on the line. I know he’s hit game winners in the past, most notably his game winner against the Magic in game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals. However, he’s been in a slump when it comes to taking that last shot for the win in the past couple of seasons. If anything, he’d rather past the ball to an open player than take the shot himself. While some may call that making the right play, others will call that being afraid to take the shot. Well I’ll tell you one thing, these players are definitely not afraid to take the last second shot.
Just Missed the Cut
Manu Ginobili may go down as one to the most underrated players in NBA history. I guess that’s what happens when you play besides arguably the greatest Power Forward in NBA history, Mr. Tim Duncan. The guy is relentless and fearless. He’s not afraid to take it to the hole no matter who gets in his way. If he stays healthy this season, I see the Spurs as the favorites in the West.
10. Kevin Love
I know what your saying. How can Kevin Love be on this list, he’s only hit one game winner in his NBA career. Well for starters, he’s on my fantasy team. But putting fantasy basketball favoritism aside, he’s also made the Timberwolves relevant again, and I believe this won’t be that last time we’ll see this all-star power forward for Minnesota hit a game winner. This guy is capable of hitting a shot from anywhere. He’s averaging over 4 offensive rebounds a game, and he’s leading his team in three pointers made. Kevin Love is a matchup nightmare.
9. Dirk Nowitzki
Speaking of matchup nightmares, it doesn’t get any scarier than Dirk. If I made this list a few years ago, Dirk would not be on it. That’s what one great playoff run can do. More specifically, one NBA finals run where he had two game clinching baskets against the Heat. Also, lets not forget about his go to shot. When he pulls out that step back fade away, it’s unguardable. I mean literally unguardable. He’s seven feet, and can shoot like he’s Larry Bird. If a big guy guards him, he’s fast enough to drive past him for an easy layup. If smaller guy guards him, Dirk will just post him up, turn and hit an easy fade away. When he’s on, no one can guard him.
8. Chauncey Billups
If your given the nickname “Mr. Big Shot”, then you should automatically be placed on this list. Luckily for Mr. Billups, he’s more than earn that nickname. Whether it’s half-court playoff shots or hitting a game winner on the reigning Champs, no shot is impossible for “Mr. Big Shot.” It’s just too bad he suffered a torn achilles this season with the Clippers. The Clippers were 15-6 with him, but as of March 7th, they’re 8-9. That’s how important he was to the team. Without him, I doubt we’ll see them in the Western Conference Finals.
7. Derek Fisher
He will never be up there with the greatest Lakers of all time, but there’s no denying that if Derek Fisher has the ball in his hands and he needs to make a last second shot, it will almost always go in. Remember this is the guy who hit a game winner with .4 seconds left. That isn’t catch and shoot, that’s catch and throw it up and pray to the basketball gods that it goes in. But luck has nothing to do with the other numerous game winners he’s hit, most recently the January 16th game against the Mavericks this season.
6. Carmelo Anthony
While he’s struggling as of late (Trust Me, he’s on my fantasy team), there’s no doubt that Melo is capable of hitting game winning shot. He had five in the 2005-06 season alone and he hasn’t stopped since then, whether if it’s with the Nuggets or with current team, the New York Knicks. Hopefully, he’ll become 2005-06 Melo because right now I need him. His career low 40% shooting is killing me right now.
5. Dwayne Wade
LeBron James is the best player on his team, but he’s not the closer. That title belongs to Dwayne Wade. He’s done it in college, leading a then unknown Marquette team to the Final Four, and he transferred that clutch gene to the NBA, hitting a game winner in his first Playoff game against the Hornets. However, my favorite Dwayne Wade game winner will have to be the double overtime win against the Bulls where the Bulls HAD the last shot. Wade stole it, hit the game winning three and ran up to the fans yelling “THIS IS MY HOUSE.” It was then and it still is.
4. Ray Allen
Best pure stroke in the game today. Period. End of sentence. If I needed one guy to hit a three pointer, it may as well be the guy who has the record for the most made three pointers all time. It takes less than a second for him to get his shot off. By the time the defender even realizes he has the ball it’s too late. Game Over. Thanks for playing. No one prepares more than him as he’s notoriously known for warming up hours before the game even starts and that preparation has to nothing but good results.
3. Kevin Durant
The Durantula is the best offensive player in the league. The man is a point machine. He’s won back to back scoring titles, and is in competition to get his third straight, trailing Kobe Bryant by less than a point. I’m sorry Russell Westbrook, but if you have the ball with less than five seconds left in the game, please don’t act like your Derrick Rose. Pass it to the best shooter in the game. Vince Carter learned that when he left 1.4 seconds on the clock after then hitting a game leading three pointer. Durant proceeded to hit a thirty foot fade away to win the game.
2. Kobe Bryant
Wait, he’s not number one how can this be? He’s made the most game winning shots of all the players on this list, but he’s also missed the most game winning shots of all the players on this list. Well, if there’s one thing you can say about the Black Mamba, it’s that he’s never afraid to take the last shot. He wants it. No, he DEMANDS it. And to this day, fifteen years in the league, he still has the same desire. The guy tore a ligament in his shooting wrist in the preseason and hasn’t missed one game this season. He has the biggest killer instinct since Michael Jordan. He wants to tear out your heart and have you watch him stomp it on the basketball court and he’ll do it with a scowl on his face.
1. Paul Pierce
The Truth shall set you free. That’s what happens when Paul Pierce has the ball with little time on the clock and the game is on the line. It goes in the basket. The greatest part about it is that’s it’s always the same shot. He’s goes to his right, steps back and money. Every time. The fact that his defender knows this and still can’t do anything about it just proves how clutch this guy is. My absolute favorite Paul Pierce game winning shot was against the Knicks last season in the Garden. I don’t know what was better the shot, or Nate Robinson attempting to jump on Pierce, Pierce completely ignoring him, and Nate crashing to the floor. He will not go down as the greatest Celtic of all time (Guys name Russell and Bird come in mind), but hopefully the title of Best Game Winning Shooter will suffice.
What do you think of the list? Who would you want taking the last shot? Let us know in the comments!