In case you havent noticed, I really blow my stack when I hear/read that we have no closers and that other teams do. Then of course people love to go into list of great closers.
I know its B.S. and that 1) we close out games just fine and 2) other teams great closers arent so great. I just know it.
But I needed a rough and ready group of stats, so that I could be corrected. I found a pretty good site - 82games.com/gamewinningshots.htm
It only goes up to 09 but we get a pretty good sample.
So without any further ado here are the list of closers that we have to have to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Well I would love to have Ray Allen for that last second shot, wouldnt you? But at 15 for 39 for a .385 pct, that isnt a very good choice. Knockdown FT shooter only makes 4 out of 6 with 1 assist and 2 turnovers. Stinks, no?
His team mate Paul Pierce would be much better, no? Well, no, not really. At 11 for 32 this all time closer only connects on .344 of his shots. He does a good job of going to the line, making 15 of 17 FTs and dishing out 9 assists though he undoes some of that with 3 turnovers.
How about that tremendous offensive player, in his prime years, Tracy McGrady? Wouldnt he be great as a closer? Well he has hit for 9 FGs. Unfortunately he's had 32 attempts for a % of .281. He has drawn enough fouls to take 8 FTs and making all 8. Then he added an unremarkable 3 assists and 1 turnover.
On Miami, hey we all know that LBJ is not a very good clutch player but Wade, well, there we really have a Jerry West like talent who is unstoppable on that last shot. Surely Wade would show us what a closer does, right? Well, no, not really. Wade hits on 11 for 40 for a pretty crappy % of .275. He has gotten to the line pretty often making 13 but he has missed 4 times. He also has a pretty ordinary 3 assists and 2 turnovers. Not that good overall.
Why not move to the cream of the crop? How about last years hero, Dirk Nowitzki? Well, at 12 for 37 for a .324 success rate, Dirk doesnt look to be that all world. He has drawn some fouls hitting 13 but he's also missed 5 shots in that last 10 seconds for a pretty average FT rate. The 1 assist doesnt impress especially when you factor in 3 turnovers.
So maybe we have to move up a notch to the player I consider the greatest PF of all time. Tim Duncan has 9 FGs but in 23 attempts he only sports a .391. His 6 for 7 at the line is OK and, just like Timmee, he would have more assists (3) than turnovers (1). But really nothing special.
How about going to a former fave here in Denver. How about Melo? Well Melo does impress by making 13 out of 27 for a .481. But really thats only a little above his lifetime % and above the league wide %. He's also only made 7 out of 11 FTs with 1 assist and 4 turnovers. It seems like its about 50% success rate, maybe less. Is that anything to lust after?
I got it. Why dont we bring in Mr Big Shot himself? Chauncey Billups we all know is a cinch in these situations. Unfortunately the ghastly 6 for 37 gives him a frightening .162 rate that is only leavened by the very good 18 for 19 at the line. No surprise he would tally more assists (6) than turnovers (2). Success rate seems to be at about 33%, nothing to really to brag about.
But if we only had the Michael Jordan of this era, the great Kobe Bryant. How could you miss? Well maybe you couldnt miss but he did, plenty of times as his 14 for 56 shows. Any math genius could see that that is a 25% FG% barely aided by the 12 FTs in 15 attempts which are somewhat messed up by the 1 assist (a shock, really) and 5 turnovers.
But still for years to come, you'll have to read and hear how small market teams without "superstars" cannot hope to compete because they, we, dont have closers. Just grin and bear it. Me, I just throw darts at the TV because, unlike Elvis, I dont own a pistol.