Portland Trail Blazers: The best (and worst) clutch scorers in the analytics era

Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

Who were the Portland Trail Blazers’ most clutch Playoff scorers?

Let’s take the knob and ratchet it up a bit. Any star can step up and produce in the regular season, but everyone knows it isn’t true nut-cutting time until the season’s on the line. This list will be much smaller, given the longstanding tradition of coaches cutting the rotation in the Playoffs, and forcing the ball to their star. Think about it: do you really want Raymond Felton and Greg Oden taking the shots that define a series for you? Commentary aside, here’s a look.

Tier I:

— Damian Lillard — 21-of-53 FG, 8-of-21 3P, 29-of-30 FT (84 minutes)
— CJ McCollum — 15-of-36 FG, 5-of-11 3P, 2-of-4 FT (59 minutes)

Tier II:

— Rasheed Wallace — 9-of-21 FG, 2-of-6 3P, 2-of-7 FT (57 minutes)
— LaMarcus Aldridge — 7-of-19 FG, 0-of-1 3P, 7-of-12 FT (40 minutes)
— Isaiah Rider — 6-of-7 FG, 0-of-0 3P, 14-of-16 FT (21 minutes)
— Nicolas Batum — 5-of-13 FG, 3-of-10 3P, 2-of-4 FT (35 minutes)
— Brandon Roy — 4-of-5 FG, 2-of-3 3P, 2-of-4 FT (12 minutes)
— Moe Harkless — 4-of-7 FG, 1-of-3 3P, 2-of-3 FT (26 minutes)
— Rodney Hood — 3-of-3 FG, 1-of-1 3P, 1-of-1 FT (10 minutes)
— Brian Grant — 3-of-5 FG, 0-of-0 3P, 4-of-4 FT (27 minutes)

(1) You can create the tiers as you please; I simply attempted to do so using field-goal makes, while also showing respect to efficiency, too. As expected, Damian Lillard leads the way here. Don’t be dismissive to the 21-of-53; on a true shooting calculator, that equates to an impressive 59.7 percent. He and C.J. McCollum have shared nearly every minute since they’ve taken Portland’s driver seat together.

(2) It was really intriguing to see how this played out for Wallace and Aldridge, two supremely talented forwards who’ve somewhat unfairly drawn a reputation for shying away in pressure moments. Both were … respectable in this setting, but you certainly needed a capable co-Batman to step in and help. Aldridge, for example, was a cold-blooded 61-of-127 in San Antonio, to go with 5-of-12 from deep. Those percentages — 48.0 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from 3 — are top-of-the-line.

(3) 1998-99 Isaiah Rider must be recognized. He went a Jordan-esque 4-of-5 from the field, and 9-of-10 from the charity stripe during that postseason run. 17 points in 12 minutes of clutch play. And on the opposite side of that spectrum, shoutout to Detlef Schrempf, who managed to accrue a -18 plus-minus in just five minutes. A great player, though.

Tier III, IV, and V:

— Arvydas Sabonis — 3-of-9 FG, 0-of-1 3P, 8-of-8 FT (24 minutes)
— Scottie Pippen — 3-of-10 FG, 1-of-4 3P, 10-of-12 FT (28 minutes)
— Clifford Robinson — 2-of-3 FG, 0-of-0 3P, 0-of-0 FT (3 minutes)
— Zach Randolph — 1-of-1 FG, 0-of-0 3P, 2-of-2 FT (3 minutes)

— Al-Farouq Aminu — 1-of-6 FG, 0-of-4 3P, 1-of-2 FT (38 minutes)
— Damon Stoudamire — 1-of-6 FG, 1-of-4 3P, 5-of-6 FT (30 minutes)
— Wesley Matthews — 1-of-9 FG, 0-of-5 3P, 3-of-4 FT (25 minutes)

— Jusuf Nurkic — 0-of-1 FG, 0-of-0 3P, 0-of-0 FT (3 minutes)
— Steve Smith — 0-of-4 FG, 0-of-1 3P, 1-of-2 FT (24 minutes)
— Bonzi Wells — 0-of-5 FG, 0-of-2 3P, 1-of-2 FT (9 minutes)

(1) No Wesley Matthews slander will be tolerated, just know that. He certainly didn’t make clutch shots during Portland’s postseason runs, but he played lockdown defense on James Harden, and played as important a role as anyone in getting the Portland Trail Blazers to the second round.