The conclusion of ESPN’s The Last Dance aired on Sunday night and with it, a crush of Michael Jordan-based statistics, stories, and information flooded the internet. Nearly lost in the shuffle, simply because we all know how clutch Michael Jordan is, was this fascinating stat set comparing Jordan to other well known MVP winners:
MJ was 9-18 on potential game-tying or go-ahead FG in the final :24 of the 4th or OT in his playoff career.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 18, 2020
Players to win an NBA MVP over the last 20 seasons have shot 29% in those situations in their playoff careers and none of the 9 players with at least 10 FG shoot above 40% pic.twitter.com/Z3Hq9WZxjg
Jordan, of course, is an outlier’s outlier. Given the volume of shots in game-tying or game-winning situations in playoff games, no one comes close to touching Jordan’s insane shooting percentage.
But one guy we’re all very familiar with stands with Lebron James in the clear second best tier: Dirk Nowitzki. The Big German shot 39% (actually 38.4% on 5 of 13, but hey 39 sounds nice!) in game-tying or game-winning situations during playoff games. It’s one thing to know Dirk is clutch, it’s another to see just how much more clutch he’s been in huge situations compared to his contemporaries. There are a variety of other top 25 all-time players on this list and other than Lebron being close, Dirk laps the competition in this very specific (but really awesome) statistical ranking.
We’re not going to mention how sad James Harden and Russell Westbrook are in this ranking because that would be rude. Oh darn, look at that, I just mentioned it. Do better, Bodie and the Beard, this is winning time we’re talking about here!
While we’re talking good Dirk Nowitzki moments, here’s a Dallas Mavericks video of all his game winners, ever. It’s always good to relive these moments.