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
Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /

Who were the Portland Trail Blazers’ best “hero shot” makers?

The final category in our sample involves the absolute most trusted scorers in Portland Trail Blazers modern history. In serving as the chasm between star and pseudo-star, you’ll find here that only the best Portland Trail Blazers have really made “hero shots.”

But first, let’s define a “hero shot.” In a 2019 study, Seth Partnow of The Athletic defined this as a shot to tie or take the lead with under 30 seconds to go. Superstars who took these shots only found net on 29.8 percent of them, so don’t be so dismissive when you see some of these players treading the 30 percent line. NBA.com is our engine here: 1-to-3 point game, 30 seconds left. Here were the results in the regular season.

— Damian Lillard — 41-of-119 FG — 34.4 percent
— Brandon Roy — 27-of-58 FG — 46.5 percent
— Damon Stoudamire — 19-of-54 FG — 35.1 percent
— LaMarcus Aldridge — 16-of-47 FG — 34.0 percent
— Rasheed Wallace — 16-of-50 FG — 32.0 percent
— CJ McCollum — 15-of-39 FG — 38.4 percent
— Travis Outlaw — 12-of-17 FG — 70.5 percent
— Zach Randolph — 9-of-23 FG — 39.1 percent
— Bonzi Wells — 5-of-10 FG — 50 percent
— Arvydas Sabonis — 5-of-15 FG — 33.3 percent

Players that didn’t make the 30 percent cut-off:
— Derek Anderson — 6-of-23 FG — 26.3 percent
— Kenny Anderson — 5-of-22 FG — 22.7 percent
— Scottie Pippen — 4-of-19 FG — 21.0 percent
— Isaiah Rider — 2-of-15 FG — 13.3 percent

(1) A few seasons to appreciate: 2003-04 Damon Stoudamire and Brandon Roy each cut the line, going 8-of-16 on “hero ball” shots. Also, whew Travis Outlaw. If someone sees him in public, please blow on him. He went a sizzling hot 7-of-7 in 2007-08.

(2) There’s also a discrepancy between Wallace’s standing here, and in Partnow’s article. NBA.com doesn’t have a barometer that sets it effectively to “to tie or take the lead.” Wallace, perhaps hit a lot of shots to cut the lead to one, but wasn’t quite as fortunate when it came to the actual take-the-lead bucket.

And then, the Playoffs.

It doesn’t necessarily require its own slide; the players who even hit one “hero shot” in the Playoffs could form its own secret society. Lillard led the way, going 4-of-15, and McCollum was right behind at 2-of-4, and Rider at 2-of-2. Here are the only other players to hit one: Aldridge, Sabonis, Pippen, and Mo Williams.