Being a chucker in the NBA is not an easy job to fulfill. At any basketball court, whether it’s an outdoor court or the local Y, chuckers can be found anywhere that ball is being played. These are the kinds of players who would rather take a contested mid-range shot instead of passing the ball to their open teammate. These are the guys that dribble in one spot or side-to-side for a few seconds before pulling up for a contested jumper or driving the lane for chuck up.
There needs to be a clear distinction, however, between chuckers and scorers in the league. Great scorers in the league can create their own shot and still hit them. These are the guys in the classes of Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and Michael Jordan. Each of them are able to create their shot and shoot over multiple defenders with the fans believing that they’ll hit each of those shots. These players are also able to contribute to multiple facets of the game, such as rebounding and setting up their teammates for assists.
Chuckers, on the other hand, are only in the NBA for the sole purpose of scoring. Coaches rarely ask known chuckers to become rebounding machines or to move the ball. It’s fully engrained in the DNA of a chucker to go into the game to score. Scoring comes from crossovers and a 3, long two-point shots that are contested and mindlessly driving the lane into the trees defending the paint. Although they are not efficient players on NBA team, chuckers make the league entertaining and become a loveable show for the home town fans.
10. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo barely makes this list, but does because of his poor shot selection most of the time. Although fans love to see Carmelo go 1-on-1 with the opponent, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t use his mismatches well and often settles for his shots. Don’t take this the wrong way though, Melo’s one-on-one skills can be barely matched in the league, but he settles.
Melo’s shot charts have shown his insistence on relying on 3s and mid-range jumpers much more than in the past when he often took defenders down low. As the Knicks primary scoring option, Melo is given the ball and told to go isolation on offense, often leading to a contested jumper. Shame that the Knicks couldn’t make it into the playoffs this year because watching Melo chuck it in the playoffs is even more thrilling (or painful).
9. Alan Anderson
I expect most reactions to be “who is Alan Anderson”? With a name as generic as Joe Johnson, Alan Anderson cracks the top 10 at number 9 because of his insistence on shooting the ball no matter what. As a marginal starter for the Nets, Anderson has come on to a team full of veterans ready to launch the ball whenever he sees the floor.
As he shoots 40% from the field this year, he averages just 7.2 points per game while hitting about 1.1 treys a game. His game could be well defined as a spot up shooter, specializing from beyond the arc. However, Anderson insists on trying to drive the lane to no avail and pulling up for long 2s, a no-no in today’s NBA.
8. Rudy Gay
It’s true that since the trade to the Sacramento Kings, Rudy Gay has become a much better team player and is more focused on the team’s success (even though they’re still among the worst in the league). But for once, this isn’t Rudy’s fault. It must hurt Raptors fans to see such a productive Gay right after a trade from a team that made him the number 1 option.
While with the Raptors, Gay was given the green light to shoot every possession and it certainly seemed that way. His shooting percentages were so low that, to hide his own disappointing stats, Rudy banned box scores from being in the locker room. Although he’s shooting 46% with the Kings, he will always be remembered for his atrocious shot selection and his 39% field goal percentage with the Raps.
7. Brandon Knight
It’s hard to tell if this is just the case of a big fish in a small pond, or if Brandon Knight is truly worth of being called a chucker in the league. Knight easily leads the Bucks in point per game this year, and has been the only player on the team to get consistent minutes from coach Larry Drew this year.
Knight’s shot selection has been questionable at best this year, as he often pulls up for 3s and goes into the paint to no avail. As the primary point guard for the team, Knight sits just below 5 assists a game. That alone is a clear sign that Knight is, and seems to always want to be, a shoot first guard.
6. Dion Waiters
Waiters is often criticized for not living up to his potential and for being the center of grievances in the locker room in Cleveland. Despite this, Waiters still presents one of the best offensive games of young players in the league. It’s hard to doubt the guy, as he was the main player to step up this year when Kyrie was injured.
Who can forget the shooting matchup between Waiters and Tim Hardaway Jr. at this year’s Rising Stars Challenge. Now, as Waiters tries to find a place on his own team, he’ll do so killing the shot clock and chucking up shots with a few seconds left hoping that they drop.
5. Josh Smith
Josh Smith seems to believe that he’s capable of shooting 3s, although he hits only 26.4% of his attempts from beyond the arc. He also seems to think he can hit mid-range jumpers, but he’s barely at league average on that shot either.
The former Dunk Champ had great potential coming out of high school and gave Atlanta fans something to go crazy over. Now, as he starts as the Pistons small forward (no wonder Joe Dumars resigned), Smith plagues the team with poor shooting and lack of defense awareness.
4. Jordan Crawford
It’s hard to doubt that Crawford was much more entertaining on the Celtics and Wizards when he was given the green light to let every shot launch. Now, as a member of the Warriors, Crawford is much more tamed and controlled than ever before.
Crawford was known before coming in to the league as the high school student that dunked over LeBron in his own summer camp. Now Crawford barely sees LeBron on the floor as he’s the 3rd string point guard on the Warriors, and it comes with good reason. As he attempts an extremely high amount of 3s from the wings, he sits well below the league average on both sides.
3. Brandon Jennings
This point guard literally has the worst shooting percentage in the NBA, of players who qualify for the stat. This means that Jennings gets playing time and plenty of looks at shots, but he just cannot shoot. His shot chart does not have a single part on the floor where he is above league average, which is a rare feat for a player to have.
As Jennings criticized his former big men on the Bucks last summer, Pistons fans were excited to believe that Jennings could become a passing point guard to control the team and its overhaul of big men. This hasn’t been the case at all as Jennings continues to show why no teams wanted to sign him last summer. Despite his skill and natural talent, Jennings has shown that his shot selection and low IQ makes him a liability on any team.
2. Nick Young
LA Laker, Nick Young, sits as the runner up to the biggest chucker in the league. How does one accomplish this feat? He drives baseline for a 360 layup that goes off the top of the backboard. He attempts a three point shot from the top of the arc, and turns around and raises his arms before the shot drops only to realize that it went in and out.
Nick Young has been known as one of the league’s biggest chuckers, and in a year of disappointment for the Lakers, he has lived up to his reputation. With his massive shoe selection and wild hair, Nick Young is one of the rare bright spots for the Lakers this year merely because of his entertainment value. He’s the true definition of a chucker as he can’t play good defense, pass the ball, or rebound to save a life. But what can he do? Pull up for 3 and show off his fancy dribbling.
1. J.R. Smith
I don’t think there was any doubt in anyone’s mind that J.R. Smith would be the biggest chucker in the league. As a player who plays with his emotions, J.R. Smith has had games this year when he attempted 0 field goal attempts, and then would follow it up with a pure chucking performance.
Recently, Smith has had games where he had 12, 16, and 22 3-point attempts. These weren’t just spot up jumpers, as fans hope, but many were contested jumpers and pull backs where he waited for the defender to get to him. His handles, his emotional play, and his 3s make him, by far, the biggest chucker in the league.