Tough Shot Maker

Remembering Our Favorite Tough Shot Makers in NBA History

Today, we debated the incredible skill and clutch performances of the NBA's toughest shot makers throughout our NBA childhood.

Basketball is a game of skill, athleticism, and precision. Throughout the history of the NBA, there have been players who have made a name for themselves as masters of hitting tough shots. These are the players who provide us what we call the “J.R Smith Experience”. The type of watching experience as a fan where you scream “oh, don’t shoot that” only to be followed up by a Mike Green “Bang” from the broadcast booth. 

These past couple of days we discuss amongst ourselves our favorite tough shot makers we got the chance to watch in the NBA growing up.

JR Smith

JR Smith, born Earl Joseph Smith III, is where we start, of course. His incredible scoring ability and penchant for making shots in the most improbable situations sparked this whole thing.

A natural talent for scoring the basketball, he quickly became a standout player in High School. 

After high school, JR made the decision to forgo his college eligibility and declare for the NBA Draft. In 2004, he was selected with the 18th overall pick by the New Orleans Hornets.

Throughout his career, Smith has played for several NBA teams, including the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Lakers.

His time with the Knicks was particularly memorable, where he won 6th Man of the Year with his exceptional and electrifying scoring ability and highlight-reel dunks.

Smith’s most notable achievement came in 2016, when he helped lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first-ever NBA championship. His scoring prowess and ability to hit crucial shots played a significant role in the Cavaliers’ historic comeback from a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. 
So many of us in The House were so happy to see him win a title because of how truly fun it was to watch him.

Despite the ups and downs of his career, Smith’s impact on the game cannot be denied. His deep range, fearless mentality, and flair for the dramatic have made him a fan favorite and a player to watch. Whether it’s a contested three-pointer with a hand in his face or a fadeaway jumper from the baseline, Smith never backs down from a challenge. His ability to create his own shot and score against tight defense is truly remarkable, making him a valuable asset to any team he played for.

Kobe Bryant

No discussion about tough shot makers can be complete without mentioning the late, great Kobe Bean. Bryant was a master of hitting difficult shots, often making them look effortless. He had an unshakable confidence and killer instinct that allowed him to rise to the occasion time and time again. Whether it was his signature fadeaway jumper or a contested three-pointer, Bryant was never afraid to take the big shot and deliver for his team.

Bryant’s ability to hit tough shots wasn’t just limited to clutch moments. Throughout his career, he consistently displayed an extraordinary level of skill and determination. His work ethic was legendary, as he would spend hours perfecting his footwork, honing his shooting technique, so you know he worked on those shots you see in those highlight videos.

0-10, 2-10, 10-10 from the field? It did not matter, everybody was still scared whenever Kobe had the ball even if whoever guarded him was an elite defender.

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony is another guy who has made a living out of hitting tough shots. With his ability to get buckets from anywhere on the court, Anthony has consistently shown a knack for making the impossible possible. His footwork and shot-making ability are second to none, and he has a wide array of moves that allow him to create space and get his shot off even against the toughest defenders. The most fun us Knick fans had watching someone score the basketball.

Steph Curry

The picture above says it all. Steph Curry has revolutionized the game with his ability to shoot from distance. What makes him truly special is his uncanny ability to shoot off the dribble, coming off screens, and shooting from absurd distances. His range and shooting accuracy are unparalleled, and that is why Steve Kerr said “Steph Curry can shoot whenever he wants”.

Jamal Crawford

CERTIFIED HOOPER. It feels like people are starting to forget Jamal Crawford was really about it. The smooth handles and ability to create his own shot. He made a career out of hitting tough shots, often with defenders draped all over him. Crawford’s ability to change pace, direction, and finish at the rim is a testament to how he had the basketball on a string. An electric player who racked up 6th Man of the Year awards.

Joe Johnson

ISO-JOE. Kind of slept on, as Joe Johnson may not always be the first name that comes to mind when thinking of tough shot makers, but he certainly deserves recognition. Johnson was a master at creating his own shot and scoring in isolation situations. Every team he played for he was a certified bucket. 

Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili was known for his crafty style of play and jerky body movements. Whether it was his trademark euro-step layup or a fadeaway jumper, Ginobili always found a way to put the ball in the basket. His unorthodox playing style and ability to finish in traffic made him a tough matchup for any defender, and he consistently delivered when the Spurs needed him most.

Nick Young

Hilarious add, but we respect his game. Nick Young, also known as “Swaggy P,” was never one to shy away from taking tough shots. He had a flair for the dramatic and loved to show off his scoring ability. Young had a knack for hitting difficult shots off the dribble, often with a hand in his face. His confidence and fearlessness on the court made him a player fans loved to watch. Even if the result was not always winning basketball.

Monta Ellis

Steph Curry’s first partner-in-crime. Monta Ellis was a scoring machine during his career. Ellis had a knack for scoring in traffic and was one of the best at finishing at the rim. Whether it was a circus shot or a mid-range jumper with a defender in his face, Ellis always found a way to put points on the board. Warriors fans were upset at first to see him go back in the day as it was a surprise to many, but the same crowd did not know was in store for them for years to come.

Damian Lillard

Lastly, we have Damian Lillard, one of the most clutch players in the NBA today. Lillard has a reputation for hitting big shots in crucial moments. Also, he’s easily the most consistent and talented shooter from deep not named Steph Curry.

His range, deep shooting ability, and fearlessness make him a nightmare for defenders, especially in late-game situations. Remember when Austin Rivers prayed to God when Lillard actually missed a shot in the 2020 NBA Bubble? One of the scariest scorers when he is hot. Damian Lillard has hit numerous game-winners throughout his career, solidifying his place as one of the toughest shot makers in NBA history. We hope to see him back in the playoffs and hitting big time shots again soon, once he gets traded from Portland.

As we remember these tough shot makers, it’s important to appreciate the skill, determination, and artistry they bring to the game. They have shown us what it means to rise to the occasion and come through when it matters most. These players have left an indelible mark on the NBA, and they will forever be remembered for getting us off the couch screaming in anger, only to rejoice with joy and relief as they have made the impossible, possible. 


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *