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Winning a championship has not made life on the basketball court any easier for the Miami Heat's Mario Chalmers. Still the proverbial little brother of his more notable teammates, it is not unusual to see Chalmers get an earful from Dwyane Wade or LeBron James during timeouts when the Heat are struggling.
But Chalmers' spirit remains undeterred. He told Fox Sports this week that he considers himself to be one of the ten best point guards in the NBA.
"I'd say top 10," Chalmers said when asked about his place in the league. "I'm not in the lower part (of the top 10), I'm in the middle part. I just have confidence in myself. I think I can compete with the best of them."
Bold words for a man scoring 7.7 points per game with 3.4 assists per game. According to BasketballReference.com, Chalmers is not even in the top 30 in Player Efficiency Rating, an advanced stat that encompasses a players' entire performance (Chalmers has a PER of 11.8 this season, top point guard Chris Paul's PER is 26.1).
Chalmers' PER is heavily constrained by the way the Heat use him, it is telling that non-point guards Wade and James both have more assists per game than Chalmers (albeit with many more minutes per game).
Not that Chalmers cares if anyone agrees with him. "That's how I feel no matter what people say or what people think," he said.
"He's got 'Mister Clutch' tattooed on him, so he's one confident guy," James told Fox Sports. "He's always been a confident guy, and that's why we love him."
Indeed, Chalmers has a history of making big shots in the clutch, something which fuels his confidence. In college at the University of Kansas, he hit a game-tying three-pointer as time expired in the NCAA championship game, which Kansas went on to win in overtime.
In the 2011 NBA Finals, Chalmers hit another game-tying three in the final minute of Game 2 against the Dallas Mavericks (a game which Miami would go on to lose). Last month against Sacramento, Chalmers tied a team record by hitting 10 three-pointers.
No one doubts Chalmers' ability to rise to the moment, which is why Heat fans support him even while cursing him during his sometimes-frequent lapses in play.