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OKC Thunder: Buzzer beater or buzzer cheater — is this NBA ploy selfish or smart?

Taking the half-court heave has its pros and cons. A miss can hurt a player’s shooting percentage, while a made shot makes a player look like a hero.
by Anthony Slater Published: March 23, 2014

“And I’m gonna keep taking them,” Butler said.

But others are likely to keep passing them up.

Buzzer beater or buzzer cheater? Depends on the player.

Quoteboard on the topic 

Shane Battier to USA Today last year: “If you're a true shooter, those shots add up. It’s not worth it. Even though statistically speaking, it’s a positive…The heave is a plus-play. But unfortunately we're not judged on the plus-plays. We're judged on (shooting) percentages. I think they should take the heave out of the stat book. It's common sense.”

Raptors coach Dwane Casey: “That's an old trick. That's a vet move. Guys don't want to hurt their shooting percentages. It's nothing new.”

Reggie Jackson: “Why not take it? I don't know why so many people play the percentage game. You can't make a shot if you don't take it before the half ends or the quarter. I just try to give my team a chance to put more points on the board.”

Russell Westbrook with a simple philosophy: “If you got enough time, then shoot it. If you don’t want to shoot it, then pass it to somebody that will.”

A look at the league-wide stats

This season, NBA teams are a combined 17-of-422 (4 percent) on halfcourt heaves. By team, here’s a closer look, in descending order from most to least taken: 

Jazz: 0-of-22

Knicks: 1-of-21

Bulls: 3-of-20

Cavs: 1-of-20

Pelicans: 0-of-20

Warriors: 0-of-19

Pistons: 0-of-19

Bobcats: 1-of-17

Pacers: 0-of-17

Nuggets: 0-of-17

Mavericks: 0-of-16

Thunder: 0-of-16

Nets: 0-of-15

Sixers: 2-of-14

Magic: 0-of-14

Suns: 0-of-14

Wolves: 0-of-14

Grizzlies: 1-of-13

Celtics: 0-of-13

Wizards: 1-of-12

Hawks: 1-of-11

Kings: 1-of-11

Blazers: 0-of-11

Rockets: 1-of-11

Clippers: 1-of-10

Spurs: 0-of-10

Raptors: 2-of-9

Bucks: 0-of-7

Lakers: 0-of-5

Heat: 0-of-4

A look at the Thunder's stats

Since moving to Oklahoma City, the Thunder has never been more willing to fire up the inefficient heave. Already this season, the Thunder has shot 16, two more than any of the past five years.

Overall, the franchise is 2-of-77 since relocation, with both makes coming from former back-up point guard Eric Maynor. But OKC’s current roster is a combined 1-of-136 in their careers. Here’s a closer look at the stats:

-Caron Butler; 0-of-5 this season; 1-of-57 in his career

-Derek Fisher; 0-of-0 this season; 0-of-22 in his career

-Reggie Jackson; 0-of-9 this season; 0-of-17 in his career

-Russell Westbrook; 0-of-1 this season; 0-of-11 in his career

-Thabo Sefolosha; 0-of-0 this season; 0-of-8 in his career

-Kendrick Perkins; 0-of-1 this season; 0-of-8 in his career

-Kevin Durant; 0-of-1 this season; 0-of-5 in his career

-Nick Collison; 0-of-0 this season; 0-of-4 in his career

-Jeremy Lamb; 0-of-2 this season; 0-of-2 in his career

-Perry Jones; 0-of-1 this season; 0-of-1 in his career

-Serge Ibaka; 0-of-0 this season; 0-of-1 in his career

*Note: Hasheem Thabeet, Steven Adams and Andre Roberson have never attempted one