The Cleveland Cavaliers have been playing excellent team basketball in the past couple of months. They’ve been blowing out opponents or executing down the stretch in close games to get those victories. With the playoffs here, the Cavs could be in line to play some close games. So if they do, which Cavalier should take the last shot? We have the top five players who should take the last shot based on their clutch shooting percentages in the final five minutes of games within five points during the regular season.
Note: Neither James Jones nor Mike Miller were included as they did not play enough games to qualify:
6. Iman Shumpert
Iman Shumpert has only played in eight close games with the Cavs, and he’s 5-3 in those games. Shump is also 2-2 in those situations, including one three-pointer, making him a solid sixth option for the Cavs in case they need a basket.
Shumpert’s Shot Chart, Per NBA.com/Stats:
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5. Tristan Thompson
Thompson has played in 28 games that were within five points in the final five minutes. His Cavs are 18-10 in those games, while he’s made 6-out-of-10 field goals while also grabbing 20 rebounds, including 12 offensive, in those final minutes of a close game. Thompson also has a plus/minus of +34 in that time, clearly having a positive impact on his team. Obviously, he can’t shoot the long jumpers, but he’s a solid go-to option in the pick-and-roll as well as inside.
Thompson’s Shot Chart, Per NBA.com/Stats:
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4. J.R. Smith
J.R. Smith has played in 13 close games for the Cavs, and the Cavs have gone 8-5 in those games. In the regular season, Smith mad 3-of-5 field goals, including 2-of-4 from dowtown. These stats are a little misleading, as the Cavs haven’t been in many close games with Smith at all, but percentages show that he can comes through in the clutch.
Smith’s Shot Chart, Per NBA.com/Stats:
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3. Kevin Love
Despite sitting a couple of fourth quarters this season, Love has appeared in 25 games that were within five points in the final five minutes. His Cavs are 14-11 in those games, and he’s shot 7-20 during the season (35%), including 3-13 from three-point land. Love has also corralled 15 rebounds and has a plus/minus of +22 in those situations, doing more good than bad when on the floor.
Love’s Shot Chart, Per NBA.com/Stats:
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2. Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving played in 28 close games that fit our clutch criteria, and the Cavs went 18-10 in those games. Irving shot 17-47 during the season, including 4-14 from downtown. Irving has a plus/minus of +27, and who can forget his big threes against San Antonio and Portland on his career scoring nights. Kyrie is clearly the top two option for the Cavs when they want to get a basket, but he didn’t get the number one spot, as his 36.2% shooting percentage was triumphed by the Cavs number one go-to guy.
Irving’s Shot Chart, Per NBA.com/Stats:
Click “Next” to see the number one last shot option for the Cavs
1. LeBron James
LeBron James is the Cavs player who should be taking the last shot late in games. James shot 26-59 (44.1%) in close, five minute situations, including 8-22 from three-point land. James also has 16 rebounds and 14 assists, making him an overall impact player late in games. James also accumulated a plus/minus of +54 during those 25 games, in which Cleveland won 17 and lost eight.
James’ Shot Chart, Per NBA.com/Stats: