What do John Starks, Dan Majerle, and Vinnie Johnson have in common? They are some of the streakiest players in NBA history. The word “streak” connotes positive and negative feelings. On the one hand, it means that you can probably string together ten points in a row in a matter of 3 minutes. On the other hand, it means that you could probably miss ten consecutive jumpers in a row. Consistent is probably what you would want in a player, but the value that a streaky player brings to a team is that, they are game changers. They can either shoot you out of a game or change the tide of an entire game within a span of a few minutes.
One of the common characteristics that streaky players have in share is that they have no conscience. It is a blessing and a curse. Streaky players cannot and do not get down on themselves when they miss a shot. In fact, they do not get down on themselves when they miss ten consecutive shots in a row. The reason for this is because they have irrational confidence levels. In the back of their heads, they know that they can make ten consecutive shots in a row, despite missing ten consecutive shots in a row.
Yes, they will make head coaches pull their hair out and in some cases, cause a lot of drama in the locker room because of their style of play, but if they are able to win some games that you are supposed to lose, they’re be beloved These are the Top-15 streakiest players in the NBA today. They are the types of players that can drop 30 points on you or 3 points on you, depending on how streaky they get that night.
15 Dion Waiters – Cleveland Cavaliers
Even with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and LeBron James on the team, Dion Waiters might still think that he is the best player on the Cleveland Cavaliers roster. One of the reasons why there was so much drama with the Cavaliers is because Waiters felt like he was a starter and he wanted the ball a lot more on offense. There is no question that Waiters is talented, just watch him play in the Rookie-Sophomore game, and it is hard to guard Waiters when he is in the zone. But when he’s not, his jumper is one of the more uglier train wrecks to watch on offense.
14 Eric Gordon – New Orleans Pelicans
Eric Gordon is usually injured every season, but when he is somewhat healthy, he is still one of the more underrated guards in the league. Last season, Gordon only played in 64 games, but averaged 15.4 points per game. Gordon knows that he has limited touches per game with Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, and Ryan Anderson on his team, so when he has it going, he lets it fly in streaks because if he doesn’t, he may never get the ball in scoring position again.
13 Kevin Martin – Minnesota Timberwolves
Kevin Martin averaged 19.1 points per game as the second fiddle to Kevin Love. However, now that Love is gone, he may become the primary offensive option for this very, very young team. Martin shot 15 times per game last year, but only made 6.5 of his shots. If Martin is going to be an offensive leader on this team, he is going to have to turn his streakiness into consistency.
12 Brandon Jennings – Detroit Pistons
Brandon Jennings is one of those types of players that makes you scream “NOOOOO!!!” as he shoots it, but then after he makes it, you are clapping your hands saying “Good job!” He is one of the most loveable and infuriating players to watch in basketball, but more often than not, he is infuriating. The left-handed point guard is very talented, but sometimes he makes the game much harder than it needs to be. Once he figures out whether he should shoot or pass, he is going to be a really solid point guard.
11 Manu Ginobili – San Antonio Spurs
Manu is coming off of his 4th championship this past year. At his age, he can’t produce good numbers with the same amount of consistency like he did in the past. However, there are occasions, when Pop unleashes him in full. When he does, Manu channels his old Manu and for a glimpse, he looks like one of the best shooting guards in the NBA again.
10 Wesley Matthews – Portland Trailblazers
Wes Matthews averaged 16.4 points per game this past season. He is 3rd or 4th on offense for the Portland Trailblazers, but his teammates know that once he has it going, they need to keep feeding him the ball. Matthews bombed 6.2 three-pointers per game, so think about how many 3-pointers he was attempting when he was really trigger happy from downtown. He only made 2.5 of his 6.2 attempts from the 3-point line, but when he was feeling it on any particular night, he could light you up for over 25 points no problem.
9 Marcus Thornton – Brooklyn Nets
Marcus Thornton got no love from Jason Kidd and the Brooklyn Nets, but he is in much greener pastures with the Nets than he was with the Kings. It is hard to say how the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, Lionel Hollins, is going to use this chucker, but with Paul Pierce gone, he may have no choice. Marcus Thornton only averaged 9.8 points per game, but he only averaged 24.2 minutes per game last year. If Thornton is able to get some more consistent minutes, he could be in the conversation for 6th Man of the Year.
8 Nick Young – Los Angeles Lakers
For the first time in a very long time, Nick Young had the total green light on offense. The reason for that was because the Los Angeles Lakers were sans Kobe Byrant, and Nick Young was the next best thing to Kobe. Young has no conscience. No matter how many shots Young may have missed in the game, he still believes that he can make the next shot. His confidence in his jumper is as high as it comes. His basketball IQ might not be the best, but he can make some of the most ridiculous shots in the NBA.
7 Rudy Gay – Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay had a great showing in the World Cup this past summer. Gay was not originally on the roster, but after Paul George went down, Gay was given a roster spot and became the team’s stretch four. Gay has a ton of talent. He teases coaches and general managers with his size and talent, especially in the games where he goes toe-to-toe with anyone in the NBA. And then there are the games where he goes 5 for 22 with a little bit too much frequency. But Gay has the ability to be the best player on the court when he has it going.
6 Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder
For someone that only shot 43% in the regular season and 42% in the playoffs, it is surprising that Russell was able to average over 20 points per game. One of the reasons for this is because when Westbrook is feeling it, it is pretty much impossible to stop him. His 3-point field goal percentage is only 31% per game and in the playoffs it was only 28%. Russ is not a great shooter, but the moment he gets on a roll, he has the ability to drop 10 straight points on you.
5 Carmelo Anthony – New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony finished second in the league in scoring last year with an average of 27.4 points per game. Melo shot 21.3 times per game, but only made 9.6 of his attempts, which gave him a terrible field goal percentage of 45% per game. Of course, given what Melo had to work with, he had no choice but to chuck up shots like it was nobody’s business. But even with opposing defenses concentrating on Melo, when he got hot, he sizzled like nobody else in the NBA.
4 Isaiah Thomas – Phoenix Suns
Isaiah Thomas was selected with the 60th pick in the 2nd round, which is the last possible pick in the draft. However, the 5’9” point guard has been an underdog his entire life, and now that he is approaching his fourth year, he is finally getting the recognition that he's due. Last season, he averaged 20.3 points per game and 6.3 assists per game. He attempted over 5 three-pointers per game and is one of the most confident jump shooters in the NBA. Don’t let his size fool you.
3 Jamal Crawford – Los Angeles Clippers
Jamal Crawford is the modern day microwave. He can heat up in an instant even though he has pretty much come off of the bench his entire life. This past season, he averaged 18.6 points per game even though he played with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Basically what that means is that Crawford will always get his. And the reason for that is because he is one of the streakiest players that has ever played the game. Once he gets one shot in, it’s like he is shooting the ball into an ocean.
2 Monta Ellis – Dallas Mavericks
Monta Ellis was playing second fiddle on offense this year to Dirk Nowtizki, but there were many occasions where Monta had to take over games at the end. Monta has never been an efficient shooter. Last year, he shot 45% making 7 out of his 15.6 attempts per game. However, when Monta has it going, he is one of the hardest players to stop in the NBA.
1 J.R. Smith – New York Knicks
Last season, on April 6th, J.R. Smith attempted twenty-two 3-pointers in a single game. I repeat, twenty-two 3-pointers in a single game. And to his credit, he made 10 out of 22 of them. The three games after that he attempted nine 3-pointers twice and seven 3-pointers the game afterwards. If there is anyone in the NBA that defines what it means to be streaky and unconscious, it is J.R. Smith.