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NBA GMs would take Kevin Durant over Kobe Bryant for last shot

Oct 22, 2013, 1:22 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

It’s a great barstool debate: Who do you want taking the final shot with the game on the line?

General Managers around the NBA say Kevin Durant.

For many years that question was one Kobe Bryant owned in the annual NBA.com GM survey, but for the second straight GMs picked the scoring machine out of Oklahoma City over him. This year 39.3 percent of GMs went with Durant, 32.1 percent with Kobe, while Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James each got 7.1 percent of the vote. (Ray Allen, Manu Ginobili, Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Paul each also got a vote… pray that the GM who would still give Ginobili the ball at the end of the game is not the one from your team.)

What do the stats say?

In the final 10 seconds of a game where their team was +/- three points, Durant was 0-of-5 last season but he did get to the free throw line for nine shots (hitting 8), while Kobe was 3-of-9 from the field and got to the stripe eight times (hitting 7). To throw the other guys in there, LeBron James was 4-of-10 from the field with four free throw attempts, while Carmelo was 0-of-4 with just two trips to the line.

The guy I would give the ball to? Joe Johnson of the Nets — 4-of-4 from the field plus he got to the line 8 times. He’s been clutch. But that Durant guy is still a good call.

  1. hildezero - Oct 22, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    My call would be on Steve Nash, but I would also take KD over Kobe. No doubt.

  2. bucrightoff - Oct 22, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Kobe’s FG% in these situations is not very good. His fans and Laker fans will point out he makes game ending shots a lot, what they won’t point out is how many times he takes the shot. Making it 100 times is nice…needing 400 shots to get to 100 is not.

    • musician0785 - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      and laker haters forget to point put that those numbers are a bit skewed, because brynat has been in the league so long his attempts are 3x the number of the next person behind him…..let’s see what melo and joe johnson’s numbers look like once they have like 100 attempts

      • bucrightoff - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        You realize FG% has nothing to do with number of attempts right?

      • musician0785 - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:11 PM

        so the guy who shoots 1-2 and the guy who shoots 25-50, they’re the same? is that what you’re implying?

      • musician0785 - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:12 PM

        how could attempts have nothing to do with percentage when the formula for percentage is makes/attempts……ever take math b4?

      • bucrightoff - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        So the guy who goes 100 for 400 is better than the guy who goes 40 for 100? No, attempts don’t matter at all. Is attempts a part of the formula? Yes. But number of attempts does not affect FG%. A 50% shooter is a 50% shooter whether hes 50 for 100 or 500 for 1000.

    • bougin89 - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      Interested in where you got your info. There are a lot of different breakdowns of situations and what not. I don’t know how you can say sample size doesn’t matter though. Usually Kobe shoots a little under 30%. Lebron James, for example, is in the low 30%. And in “crunch” time(5 point game in 4th quarter and OT) he’s much better than what you’re implying.

      This is NOT coming from a Kobe fan either. Far from it actually.

    • musician0785 - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      actually the guy who shoots 40 for 100 is better than the guy who shoots 100 for 400, because that 40/100 is 40% and 100/400 is 25%……..math major, get off of sports sites and go study

      • bucrightoff - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:47 PM

        To begin, the irony of calling out someone’s math skills without putting together basic english sentences is beyond hilarious.

        Second of all, you said attempts matter to FG%. They do not. Whether you shoot 100 attempts or 1,000 attempts, you can be a 50% shooter. The number of attempts does not affect the percentage. Or what your saying is Kobe’s number would be higher with fewer attempts, which has to also mean he’s gotten substantially worse at end of game situations, which is the only way his attempts can go up but his percentage down (i.e. if Kobe was a 40% shooter at end of game with only 100 attempts but is now a 27% shooter with 400 attempts, thats because he’s gotten worse, not because he’s shooting more)

        But why am I arguing with Laker fans? The only number you need to remember is 16 so you can recite it every time you need to comfort yourself at the fact your team is going nowhere anytime soon. But 16 rings….

      • doomshades - Oct 22, 2013 at 10:56 PM

        Number of attempts does not matter in FG% per se. However, this article is about who GM’s want taking the last shot in a game, and more attempts mean more experience handling clutch situations and better capability of handling defenders in clutch. If you were a GM, would you give the last shot to a player who made 6 of 10 clutch shots in a season, or another who made 20 out of 40?

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 23, 2013 at 1:20 AM

        So what you’re saying is that because of all the evidence, Kobe isn’t nearly as good in the clutch as these other guys.

      • musician0785 - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:11 AM

        let me take this slow for you morons…….the more shots one player takes the more likely they are to miss, which is why going 1 for 2 isnt as impressive as going 25-50 even though the percentage is the same, and secondly NOBODY mentioned anything about 16 rings or anything like that…your insecurities are showing……bottom line is this, last year, kobe made more of theose shots than durant, and when he got fouled he converted more of those free throws than lebron…deal with it

      • musician0785 - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:15 AM

        oh yea and i forgot to mention that before last year, he had nobody to pass to, teams could easily double kobe at the end of the game, because who is he gonna pass it to? Steve blake? MWP? hell no…..meanwhile lebron has dwade, bosh, or ray allen to open up the floor, so its not as cut and dry as “he’s gotten substantially worse at end of game situations” but then again you’re a heat fan, which means you just got here like 3 years ago

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:55 AM

        Musician…… Let’s assume player X is a static shooter or the sample size is humongous. Taking more shots doesn’t increase the LIKELINESS that he misses, just the quantity of misses.

  3. kingwithringz - Oct 22, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    How quickly we forget about great athletes and their accomplishments in this sport. So disrespectful.

  4. adamsjohn714 - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Wouldn’t you also take Durant over Kobe for any other shot in the game? He’s just a lot better at shooting the basketball.

    • asimonetti88 - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      At this point, it’s hard to take anyone other than LeBron over Durant in any situation. I’m a Lakers fan and all, but Durant is the second best player in the NBA.

      • mikerome64 - Oct 23, 2013 at 11:22 PM

        The second best player in the league looked awful against Memphis in the playoffs last year.

      • asimonetti88 - Oct 24, 2013 at 12:18 AM

        29 PPG, 10 RPG, 6.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.2 BPG. If that’s awful I’ll take at least 5 awful players on my team please.

  5. scalfor3 - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    love that Kurt put Kobe in the headline, knowing the Kobe nut huggers will come running to comment. well played, sir.

    anyone else think Kyrie deserves to be in this conversation?

  6. isujames - Oct 22, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    @ ^ Get off his sack then.

  7. antistratfordian - Oct 22, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    This is all about perception (nothing wrong with that). The GMs liked Durant over Kobe last year too (nothing wrong with that). In the 90’s the GMs selected Reggie Miller over Michael Jordan at one point (nothing wrong with that?).

    BUT in the closing seconds of a playoff game I would take LeBron over both Kobe and Durant. KD and Kobe do get it done in the regular season – in the playoffs things change for them a little bit.

    PLAYOFFS CAREER – UNDER 10 SECONDS – GAME WINNING SHOTS: 
     
    LeBron: 5/10 – 50% 
    Jordan: 6/13 – 46% 
    Melo: 1/4 – 25% 
    Kobe: 3/14 – 21% 
    Durant: 1/5 – 20%

    Note 1: The last time Kobe made any kind of game winner in the playoffs was six years ago (2008).
    Note 2: The last time Kobe made a game winner under 10 seconds was eight years ago (2006).
    Note 3: Kobe has never made a game winner under 10 seconds past the 2nd round.
    Note 4: Game Winner reputation appears to be largely based on the regular season.

    Source for LeBron, Melo, Bryant, Durant: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/plus/shot_finder.cgi
    Source for Jordan: http://chasing23.com/michael-jordan-game-winning-shots
    Additional source for LeBron and Bryant: http://chasing23.com/kobe-bryant-vs-lebron-james-game-winning-shots/

    • gettinbuckets513 - Oct 22, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      Love the research, Kobe stans always talk about his toughness in late game situations but I’ve been watching him since he entered the league. He’s never afraid to take the shot but he almost always misses especially in the playoffs. #ucanfoolsomepeoplesumetime #numbersdontlie

    • musician0785 - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:16 AM

      its funny that NOW you know how to link sources for articles

      • antistratfordian - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:22 AM

        Normally when you just quote someone, you are not expected to provide links to every quote. When you’re dealing with stats though – especially of the nature that I provided – people want to know where you got your numbers from.

        So I’m not going to put links to every quote I post, that’s ridiculous. I will put links for potentially controversial statistics though – to clear the source issue up right from the start.

      • musician0785 - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:26 AM

        Just because someone puts quotes around something, it doesnt make it true. Excuse me for wanting to make sure that the point someone is trying to make is legitimate, and not just pulled from thin air…..every time i quote something i link the article….its not that hard….a simple copy and paste

      • antistratfordian - Oct 24, 2013 at 2:41 AM

        I told you already, bruh – that is what google is for. It takes you 5 seconds, max. It will be there.

        Plus, I’m trustworthy. I’m not going to post anything that I don’t believe to be absolutely true – and I am always ready to prove veracity with sources if it comes to blows.

        For that 1994-1996 date thing (I think that was with you?) – there are places that say 1994, but there are others that say 1996. I didn’t just pull 1996 out of thin air, I read that. If I was wrong, it was because that was wrong. But I didn’t just conjure it out of nothing.

    • excelsior07 - Oct 29, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      None of this means anything unless each guy has been in the league the same amount of time under the same circumstances – of course you take Durant now. Call me when he is 30 and then we can compare stats.

      • antistratfordian - Nov 4, 2013 at 1:12 AM

        You can take Durant now if you want – I would not take Durant now. I’d take LeBron for any shot in any situation.

  8. broadstbully - Oct 22, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    I factor the very-polarizing “killer instinct” into this equation, and there’s no doubt Kobe wins, there. It’s natural to doubt whether or not your shot is going to fall; it’s damn-near supernatural to remove that doubt, especially 100+ times over. But this debate is pointless. Using FG%, without regard to situation, is incomplete. Sample size isn’t as black & white as it seems, either. When you put it all together, I think Joe Johnson still wins. All time, I’m taking Jordan. Or Horry.

    • adamsjohn714 - Oct 23, 2013 at 1:25 AM

      Killer instinct is nonsense. So is championship DNA and will to win. The only thing that matters is whether you can put the ball through the hoop.

    • antistratfordian - Oct 25, 2013 at 1:13 AM

      Sorry, but “killer instinct” on its own is literally worthless if it doesn’t produce results. With that thinking you can argue that Brandon Jennings has the most vicious killer instinct in the league – it’s just that he always misses!

      In any case, LeBron is right when he says there are different ways to hunt. He and Kobe both have lethal killer instincts, but they are different, and LeBron is more capable of consistently getting the result he wants.

  9. antistratfordian - Oct 22, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    This is all about perception (nothing wrong with that). The GMs liked Durant over Kobe last year too (nothing wrong with that). In the 90′s the GMs selected Reggie Miller over Michael Jordan at one point (nothing wrong with that?).

    BUT in the closing seconds of a playoff game I would take LeBron over both Kobe and Durant. KD and Kobe do get it done in the regular season – in the playoffs things change for them a little bit.

    PLAYOFFS CAREER – UNDER 10 SECONDS – GAME WINNING SHOTS:

    LeBron: 5/10 – 50%
    Jordan: 6/13 – 46%
    Melo: 1/4 – 25%
    Kobe: 3/14 – 21%
    Durant: 1/5 – 20%

    Note 1: The last time Kobe made any kind of game winner in the playoffs was six years ago (2008).
    Note 2: The last time Kobe made a game winner under 10 seconds was eight years ago (2006).
    Note 3: Kobe has never made a game winner under 10 seconds past the 2nd round.
    Note 4: Game Winner reputation appears to be largely based on the regular season.

    Source for LeBron, Melo, Bryant, Durant: basketball-reference.com/play-index/plus/shot_finder.cgi
    Source for Jordan: chasing23.com/michael-jordan-game-winning-shots
    Additional source for LeBron and Bryant: chasing23.com/kobe-bryant-vs-lebron-james-game-winning-shots/

    • antistratfordian - Oct 22, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      Sorry about the double post – I didn’t think the first one went through. I guess I must be more patient next time.

    • bougin89 - Oct 23, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      Excellent info. I believe at least two(Wizards and Pacers) of Lebron’s 5 makes were when he got to the rim and finished a layup. Another would be a fantastic catch and shoot against the Magic to beat the clock. The key to Lebron’s clutch play is to get him moving with or without the ball. I don’t know why on earth Spoelstra would ever let him stand at the top of the key, dribble it out, and take an isolation jumper. He struggles making those shots(everyone does) but he is excellent if he is moving off the ball and getting to the lane either finishing or making an assist. Even if the ball is in his hands at least let him run a pick n roll to get him into a basketball play, he looks so much more comfortable doing that.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 25, 2013 at 1:02 AM

        “I don’t know why on earth Spoelstra would ever let him stand at the top of the key, dribble it out, and take an isolation jumper.”

        Disagree. That’s how LeBron ended the Bulls season in 2011 and how he ended the Spurs season in 2013. Those shots came at around 29 seconds, so they won’t qualify for the inside 24 seconds game winner rule (which isn’t really a rule, just a standard practice) – but they had the same effect.

        In fact, LeBron’s iso jumper – the one you say he shouldn’t take – is the shot that made Scottie Pippen say:

        “…I may go as far to say LeBron James is probably the greatest player to ever play the game.”

        and

        “…when the game is on the line and you need a shot to be made, he’s going to make that play. I’ve never seen a player that can dominate a game the way LeBron James can.”

      • bougin89 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        Dude, I threw you a bone there and you still have to argue. I was referring to the information you provided. I guess I’ll say for buzzer beaters, Lebron James does not have an efficient iso jumper(nobody really does).

      • antistratfordian - Oct 25, 2013 at 4:33 PM

        Save your bones. I don’t need them. ;)

        LeBron has 6 proper game winners from iso jumpers. They came at 0.9 seconds, 0.5 seconds, 0.0 seconds, 0.1 seconds, 10.5 seconds and 20.7 seconds. That’s more than most, but less than a few.

        I would say an iso LeBron jumper these days is a pretty good bet if he’s not double teamed and especially if the defense is sagging off to prevent a drive.

      • bougin89 - Oct 29, 2013 at 9:41 AM

        He’s more effective/efficient not taking an iso jumper in a game winning shot situation.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 29, 2013 at 3:33 PM

        The thing to appreciate here is that you can’t just bully your way into the lane every single time. In LeBron’s first year with Miami he tried that method for his game winning attempts and he didn’t make any – I remember specifically him against the Bulls and the Knicks getting blocked. They were fully expecting him to attack the rim in those situations.

        So you have to pick your spots – against the Pacers in game 1 it was smart because he knew the personnel that was out there and they ran a play to keep the lane open. Against the Spurs in game 7 it was smart because he came around a screen and, again, Leonard went under it so LeBron was wide open for the jumper. That’s as good and as efficient a shot as you can ask for.

      • bougin89 - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:31 AM

        Or maybe teams should put a player of Boris Diaw’s caliber on Lebron and give him 6 feet to shoot.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 2:58 PM

        Yeah, they should… if they want to lose a Game 7 in the Finals.

      • bougin89 - Oct 30, 2013 at 3:14 PM

        The strategy was working. They just didn’t get a defensive rebound in game 6.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:03 PM

        It was always fools gold because LeBron is a good jump shooter – but they didn’t really have any other choice.

        And Game 6 wasn’t just about one rebound. The Spurs could’ve tried preventing LeBron from scoring 16 points in the 4th quarter (almost single-handedly matching the Spurs 20). Miami went out and willed that win – that’s why they also got the rebounds at the end – they wanted victory more and they physically took it from the Spurs, starting with LeBron.

      • bougin89 - Oct 30, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        Or if it’s for a buzzer beater, why not have Rajon Rondo guard him if Lebron is going to ISO since we’re also talking about the 2012 ECF.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        Good luck with that.

      • bougin89 - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:54 PM

        Why do you bring up luck? It already happened. Lebron bricked it.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:12 PM

        Well let’s see the Celtics try it again and see what happens. Oh wait, they did try it again…

        #rekt

  10. ProBasketballPundit - Oct 22, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    What would Popovich do? The answer is he would run his offense with screens on both sides of the court and quick decisions. I hate to see a team get bogged down in iso-ball in crunch time. If you’re playing a team with a great 1-on-1 stopper like LeBron there’s no chance you’re making an isolation jumper to win the game. Perfect example is last season when the Heat played in Houston. The Rockets had a chance to tie the game on the last possession so they gave the ball to Harden and let him go isolation against LeBron; he dribbled out the clock but only got a long fade away bomb over James perfect timed jump.

    • bougin89 - Oct 23, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      This! Just like when Lebron stands on top dribbles it out and takes a long jumper. He is not good in those situations at all but when he’s moving off the ball(like on an inbounds play) or in a pick n roll type setting he is fantastic in the clutch both at getting to the rim or making an assist.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Oct 25, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        Yes, tragically, the Heat are terrible at game winning shots. Well, they did improve last season with the addition of Ray Allen. But they really should run their normal offense.

  11. fnf417 - Oct 22, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    I would take KD over Bryant or lebron but would take Bryant over lebron if it came down to choosing between them two

  12. realninerfan22 - Oct 23, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Hell with a stat, I’ll taje wade over any of those cats.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D3i5SKGgh4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

  13. mintberrycrunch1 - Oct 23, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    I would take Robert Horry in dress shoes and slacks.

  14. teedraper - Nov 3, 2013 at 9:44 AM

    Joe Johnson? Bc you’re an IDIOT!

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