When someone talks about clutch play, what do you think of? The last minute, the final two minutes? Ok now which current NBA players do you think of? I am sure everyone runs to Kobe Bryant and LeBron James… or maybe you think of Dwyane Wade or Mr. Big Shot Chauncey Billups?
Well, Forbes defines clutch ability as the final five minutes of the game, and considers shooting percentage in those final minutes to determine who are the best clutch players in the NBA as well as other factors. The list includes the players that shot better than 40% and averaged more than 5 points in the last five minutes and overtime (with neither team ahead by more than five points).*
The article went on to list the top clutch players at each position for the 2007-08 season, as well as basing their rankings on how much that player earned in salary, but Interbasket thought that was really lame, so we just took their research and created a top-ten list based on their shooting percentages. Either way, the list contained some definite surprises…
What we found was that international players made up half of list, including the two top-prime time players in the NBA according to Forbe’s definition:
1. Manu Ginobili 57.4%
2. Steve Nash 50.8%
3. Amare Stoudemire 50.0%
4. Yao Ming 48.8%
5. Andre Iguodala 48.5%
6. LeBron James 47.5%
7. Al Jefferson 47.5%
8. Kobe Bryant 44.8%
9. Dirk Nowitzki 42.2%
10. Hedo Turkoglu 40.2%
Ginobili was the NBA’s most accurate shooter in the final five minutes of undecided games last year. Funny we don’t see or hear much about buzzer-beaters from the Argentinian. I think that says a lot about how he and the Spurs can close out games. Manu was followed by Canadian Steve Nash. Amare Stoudemire was third (most likely buoyed by Steve Nash’s ability to penetrate), Yao Ming was fourth, and surprisingly, Andre Iguodala was in fifth.
LeBron James was sixth on the list and Kobe Bryant was eighth. Dirk Nowitzki was #9 and Hedo Turkoglu of Turkey rounded out the list. I would have loved to see the rest of the list, I am especially curious to see where players like Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Chauncey Billups were on the list, as well as their shooting percentages.
* To determine the best clutch players for the buck, we compared player statistics to pay from last season. Our survey includes only players who averaged five or more points in the fourth quarter and hit at least 40% of their shots when it mattered most (during the last five minutes and in overtime, with neither team ahead by more than five points). These “clutch time” stats were compiled by 82games.com, an online leader in analyzing the NBA.
Links and Resources: Prime Time Bargains (Forbes)