The jump ball is probably one of the most overlooked parts of a basketball game. Not only does it determine which team starts off the contest with possession, it can also be crucial in determining a winner at the end of games as well if there’s a scrum for the ball and the ball is locked up between the two teams late in a game.
Some of the most iconic moments in NBA history have been preceded with a jump ball. For example, just look back at the 2006 Playoff series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, where Kobe Bryant drained the elbow jumper to give the Lakers the win after teammate Luke Walton won the jump ball over Steve Nash.
That’s why it’s so important to have a player on your team who can consistently win jump balls for your team, to give you that slight competitive edge in an overlooked facet of basketball. The folks over at FanSided have compiled a list of jump ball statistics dating back to the year 1998, making it quite easy to see which centers are the best performers during tip-off situations, and you may be surprised with the results.
10. Samuel Dalembert – 533 Jump Balls Won
9. Pau Gasol – 546 Jump Balls Won
8. Tyson Chandler – 570 Jump Balls Won
7. Zydrunas Ilgauskas – 604 Jump Balls Won
6. Marcus Camby – 606 Jump Balls Won
5. Kevin Garnett – 615 Jump Balls Won
4. Ben Wallace – 650 Jump Balls Won
3. Dwight Howard – 693 Jump Balls Won
2. Tim Duncan – 748 Jump Balls Won
1. Shaquille O’Neal – 815 Jump Balls Won