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21 NBA executives answer who is the clutchest player in the league

NBA executives shared their answers on who is the clutchest player in the NBA
Kevin Durant and LeBron James are one of the leading scorers in the NBA this season

Kevin Durant and LeBron James are one of the leading scorers in the NBA this season

Reggie Miller's picture is printed right beside the Basketball Directory's word for 'clutch.' A completely made-up word with very little to no concise methods of measuring it, and we fans gravitate to it like it's the defining factor of greatness.

We all remember Reggie Miller's trash-talking duel with Spike Lee (25 points in the fourth quarter at MSG), but his game 7 2-10 second half and two last-minute mistakes are left in the past. His game in the 95 playoffs with 8 points in 8.9 seconds was followed by a no-show in game 7. We forget the terrible memories and remember the good ones - even today. Damian Lillard's clutchness pushed him into the NBA 75 club over more accomplished guys like Tony Parker and Dwight Howard.

So let's take these opinions with a grain of salt…

NBA executives poll: Who are the top clutch players today?

The following quotes come from anonymous executives for why they picked the player for their top 5 brackets.

1. Kevin Durant

50.48 percent of the maximum amount possible

"Kevin Durant is the best scorer in the game," one NBA executive told HoopsHype. "He can beat you in so many ways with how well he shoots with his size. It's almost impossible to get a real contest on his shot."

2. DeMar DeRozan

40 percent of the maximum amount possible

"DeRozan is a tough shot maker who can score from all over the floor," an NBA executive told HoopsHype. "His ability to score, pass, or get to the foul line is so hard to defend. You can have your best perimeter defender draped all over him, and he can still find ways to beat you. You just have to tip your cap to those types of guys."

3. Stephen Curry

32.38 percent of the maximum amount possible

"Likely recency bias from All-Star, but he [Stephen Curry] is similar to Devin Booker in that he breaks your back," an NBA executive told HoopsHype. "Reputation puts these guys on the list more so than actuality sometimes."

4. Damian Lillard

26.67 percent of the maximum amount possible

"Dame has made big shots consistently and in big moments ending two different playoff series," an NBA executive said. "He's a tough cover because of his versatility in the way he scores and deep range."

"Dame has made a ton of big shots in his career," another NBA executive said. "This year is a down year because of injury. He's never afraid of the moment."

5. LeBron James

25.71 percent of the maximum amount possible

"I think LeBron James is one of the most clutch players in the NBA," an NBA executive opined. "I think Kevin Durant is an elite offensive clutch player. LeBron is on both ends, and I think Kawhi Leonard is too."

6. Luka Doncic

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22.86 percent of the maximum amount possible

"Luka has made a couple of game-winners, but he can get any shot he wants on the floor and will make more over time," an NBA executive told HoopsHype. "He wants the ball in his hands. I took into consideration his international career too."

"Luka is an excellent ball-handler for his size along with an elite step-back move allowing him to create his own shot anytime he wants," the lone NBA executive who voted for Doncic as his top clutch player told HoopsHype. "He's also excellent at shooting contested jumpers off the dribble."

7. Chris Paul

21.90 percent of the maximum amount possible

"Chris Paul is a killer," an NBA executive told HoopsHype. "He gives his teammates and coaches such great belief. He hasn't gotten to the Finals like LeBron James every year, but every team he goes to is a playoff team, and he makes them so much better. He's an organization changer."

"He's had a couple of tough moments at big times that I think people remember, but he's also had big moments like Game 7 against the Spurs," a second NBA executive said. "He's always hitting big shots and making plays in big moments. His clutch data overall is really good, and Phoenix this year is wild. They've been amazing in the clutch."

8. Kawhi Leonard

15.24 percent of the maximum amount possible

"Kawhi Leonard has a very demonstrated history of carrying teams," an NBA executive told HoopsHype. "He's a two-time Finals MVP. What happens if you're freaking clutch. Offensively, he's carried two teams to championships. He hit that humongous shot against Philly three years ago. With San Antonio before his injury, anytime they needed a stop, he got one. When Kawhi doesn't want to be screened, you can't screen Kawhi. He'll either get through the screen, around it or catch up to the play. That's what his size, strength, and athleticism will get you."

9. Nikola Jokic

9.52 percent of the maximum amount possible

No executives commented on Joker. Yet his ranking third in clutch scoring (4.1 points) and usage rating (42.8) during clutch situations.

10. Devin Booker

8.57 percent of the maximum amount possible

"They haven't had too many close games, but Devin Booker has zero hesitancy in the big moment," an NBA executive said. "Often, his clutch shots happen that blow open a game. Maybe the game clock isn't below three seconds, but he has a knack of blowing a game open."

T10. Kyrie Irving

8.57 percent of the maximum amount possible

No comments, but despite Kyrie's headaches, he will always be remembered as the kid who the big shot in the '16 NBA Finals.

Other votes

Jimmy Butler (7.62 percent of the maximum amount possible)

  • Klay Thompson (6.67)
  • Khris Middleton (5.71)
  • Joel Embiid (4.76)
  • Jayson Tatum (3.81)
  • Ja Morant (2.86)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (1.9)
  • Kyle Kuzma (1.9)
  • Zach LaVine (1.9)
  • Jrue Holiday (0.95)

I'm not going to claim to know more than an NBA executive but for Giannis to be that low after just winning an NBA championship speaks to how silly this magnifying glass is…

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