Clutch NBA players with the most scores: Who are the 10 best clutch players in the basketball league?

Clutch NBA players with the most scores: Who are the 10 best clutch players in the basketball league?

Kenneth Mwenda
April 18, 2023 at 3:11 PM

It is always fascinating to find out how people describe the best clutch players with the most scores in the NBA. They represent the pinnacle of excellence and are guardians of greatness. Basketball games would not be as exciting without them.

Most clutch NBA players: Who are the 10 most clutch players in the basketball league?
Tre Mann of the Oklahoma City Thunder grabs a rebound during the first quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Paycom Center on April 09, 2023, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Photo: Ian Maule
Source: Getty Images

In the NBA, a shot that results in a victory is referred to as a clutch shot. Ray Allen's 3-pointer in the '13 NBA Finals is one of the best illustrations of a clutch shot, but there have been many noteworthy clutch shots since then.

Top 10 of the best clutch NBA players of all time in 2023

We can all agree that some athletes are able to perform better when under pressure. These athletes are more likely to succeed in these late-game situations because they are calmer, cooler, and more confident. In the final 60 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime, certain players attempt the game-winning shot to give their team the lead or tie the score. These top-10s are the best you would want in those situations.

10. Reggie Miller

Most clutch NBA players
Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers warms up before a game against the Chicago Bulls during the 1998 NBA Playoffs on May 25, 1998. Photo: Fernando Medina
Source: Getty Images

Reggie did not need to look at the target to shoot the ball. He was renowned for his accurate three-point shooting, particularly under pressure and, most notably, against the New York Knicks, for which he gained the moniker "Knick Killer." When he retired, he held the record for the most 3-point field goals made in a career.

9. Jerry West

Top 10 most clutch NBA players of all time
Los Angeles Lakers Jerry West (L) in action vs Chicago Bulls in Inglewood, CA on 12/29/1970. Photo: Walter Iooss Jr.
Source: Getty Images

Some claim that being "clutch" entails more than just making buzzer-beaters; it also involves rallying your team in crunch time and guiding them to victory. Jerry West excelled at both of these tasks, if not more so than any other star in history.

West performed at the top of the list despite not using a 3-point shot. He would have used clutch shots to win many more games than he already did if they had been available back then. He could have won the 1970 NBA Finals, but his 64-foot buzzer-beater was worth only two and only forced overtime, which the Lakers lost.

8. Steph Curry

Most clutch NBA players today
Stephen Curry, #30 of the Golden State Warriors, grabs the rebound during the game against the Orlando Magic on November 2, 2022, at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Fernando Medina
Source: Getty Images

Curry is one of the best shooters of all time, and this manifests in every game. He was the sole performer who was reliable throughout the Warriors dynasty. Steph Curry ranks as one of 40 individuals (minimum: 25 games played) to connect on at least 40 per cent of his 3-pointers in the postseason. His handle, range and shooter mindset make him the ideal option in the 3-ball era, and he is still one of the most clutch NBA players today.

7. Kevin Durant

ESPN's most clutch NBA players
Kevin Durant, #7 of the Brooklyn Nets, grabs the loose ball as Jrue Holiday, #21 of the Milwaukee Bucks, defends during a game at Barclays Center on June 19, 2021, in New York City. Photo: Elsa
Source: Getty Images

Durant is one of the players with the most clutch shots in NBA history. He is extremely adaptable, quick, and tall. He can take any shot he desires, including the decisive one to seal the victory. In 2017 and 2018, he led the Warriors to back-to-back NBA championships and was named Finals MVP both times.

While KD's greatest performances have been those triples, his career has been full of clutch shots. There are many late-game highlights from Durant, including ones against the Brooklyn Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Seattle SuperSonics.

6. Damian Lillard

Most clutch NBA players current
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers with the ball during a game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Arena on March 22, 2023, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo: Alex Goodlett
Source: Getty Images

Damian Lillard has solidified his reputation as one of the sport's coldest stars over the years. But since he has not yet accomplished that feat on the grandest of stages, only the game's most ardent, die-hard fans will consider him in that context. His crucial shots have all come during the regular season or in the first round of the playoffs.

Damian is one of the few basketballers who has made playoff series-winning shots, and his career is not over yet. Lillard really is not human, and his name certainly needs to be in the discussion for the NBA's Most Valuable Players.

5. Magic Johnson

Most clutch shots in NBA history
Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Portland Trailblazers circa 1990 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon. Photo: Brian Drake
Source: Getty Images

Magic took numerous last-second shots and was successful. He was the one who desired the ball in the decisive moment, being aggressive and fearless. Most notably, in the 1987 Finals, he used a hook shot against the Boston Celtics.

4. LeBron James

Most clutch NBA players this season
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during a 128-117 Lakers win over the Utah Jazz at Arena on April 09, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Harry How
Source: Getty Images

LeBron James had high hopes when he joined the NBA. He surpassed those projections and emerged as one of the all-time great basketballers. That clutch gene is in him.

Previously portrayed as a choke artist who desired no part of the last shot in tightly contested games, LeBron has transformed into one of the most clutch scorers in the NBA. Statistically, he is one of the most clutch NBA players this season.

LeBron James tied Kobe Bryant's record for the most career go-ahead shots in the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter and overtime in the past 25 seasons of NBA history on April 4th, 2023, during the Lakers' game against the Utah Jazz. With 27 seconds left in overtime, James made his 40th game-winning basket, giving the Lakers a 133–135 victory.

3. Larry Bird

Most clutch NBA players of all time
Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics shoots the ball against the Detroit Pistons circa 1986 at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Raphael
Source: Getty Images

When making a second shot, Larry Bird was an assassin. Beyond that, though, Bird had the ability to defeat your defence or pass the ball. Without a doubt, he is one of the most "clutch" players ever.

He is not referred to as Larry Legend by accident. The consummate shooter led the Celtics to three NBA Championships with his incredible shooting ability, winning two NBA Finals MVP awards in the process. His long list of game-winning defensive plays, buzzer-beaters, and standout performances is endless.

2. Kobe Bryant

Most clutch shots in NBA playoff history
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers stands on the court during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on April 20, 2010, in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Noah Graham
Source: Getty Images

Kobe had an innumerable amount of game-winners, and with those considered into what is Kobe's image, so far, not many players have even gotten close to the Black Mamba's stature today. Although his overall percentage stats may seem low, he is supported by the number of attempts. Bryant is still regarded as one of the greatest clutch players in NBA history.

1. Michael Jordan

Most clutch NBA players of all time in 2023
Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls dribbles during Game Three of the 1991 NBA Finals on June 7, 1991, at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California. Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein
Source: Getty Images

Jordan is a six-time champion and six-time NBA Finals MVP and is ranked by ESPN as the most clutch NBA player. He has eight 50+ point playoff performances, four more than any other basketballer, and holds the record for the most points scored in a single playoff game (63).

Jordan's game-winning shot in the 1982 National Championship Game marked the beginning of his 'clutchness' while still in college. There were many outstanding game-winning shots in his NBA career, but "The Shot" against the Cleveland Cavaliers is likely the most well-known. He made playoff history by becoming the first player to score the game-winning buzzer-beater.

The game-winners are fantastic, but not everyone would rank them as the most important factor. Most would focus on NBA players who stepped up in a clutch moment or playoff game.

READ ALSO: Top 15 best power forwards of all time ranked: Who tops the list?

Sports Brief has published an article about the best power forwards of all time. Although the power forward position might not be one of the flashiest in the sport's history, some of the greatest basketball players are known to play the position.

With big names like Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant gracing the list, you will be surprised that they are not the only best power forwards of all time in the NBA. Click the above link to read more!

Kenneth Mwenda photo
Kenneth Mwenda
Kenneth Mwenda is a business and sports writer with over five years of experience. At Sportsbrief, he contributes to writing biographies and listicles.
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