The NBA’s Top 5 Go-To Guys

Something hit me this morning while I watched a trailer for Hugh Jackman‘s upcoming Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots movie. (I hear Ryan Reynolds is working on a Slinky biopic for Summer 2011.)

As much as writers like using inhuman metaphors to describe elite athletes, be it cold-blooded snakes or steel-veined robots, what makes clutch performances so impressive is that these are real people stepping up their already world-class talents to another level when many would fold under a fraction of the same pressure. I saw an interview with five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson recently where he said he believes the common thread among the greatest athletes in the world is that, in pressure moments, they can forget it’s the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, or Game 7 of the World Series, or the last lap at Daytona, and go to a place where they’re simply throwing a football, hitting a baseball, or driving a car.

In basketball, the greats either block out the pressure, or embrace and thrive in it. Whatever their method, they set themselves apart from the pack by getting the job done when everybody is watching and the stakes are highest.

Who do you want your offense to run through with the game on the line in today’s NBA? Going with the framework that, with only one basketball in play, every team has one established go-to guy, here are the top five in the League:

(REMINDER: One player per team.)

Even in a down year (22.8 ppg, 42% FG), Carmelo is one of the last guys opposing defenses want to see with the ball in his hands. His most recent game-winner was on Nov. 26, when he stuck his patented pull-up J from the right wing to beat the Bulls at the buzzer. “I came to the huddle and I told everybody, regardless of the play, I’m popping out and getting it,” Carmelo said afterward. “If we lose the game, it’s on me. If we win the game, it’s on me. I accept that. … Whether (the defender) contested it or not, whether he got a hand in my face or not, once I get a good look at the rim, I don’t really think there’s nothing nobody can do.”

More than just a scorer, though, ‘Melo is underrated in his ability to make clutch plays all over the court. In Denver’s one-point win over Memphis on Dec. 5, ‘Melo made one of the biggest plays of the game on an inbounds pass in the final seconds where he surveyed the defense and hit Nene in-stride for a dunk when the Grizzlies were threatening to take the lead.

Last season, ‘Melo was fourth in the NBA in “clutch time” scoring, averaging 47.0 points per 48 minutes of clutch time (according to 82games.com, 4th quarter or overtime, 5 minutes or less on the clock, 5-point margin or less) and made 87 percent of his clutch-time free throws. Arguably the League’s most talented pure scorer, ‘Melo is also arguably its top clutch scorer.

4. DIRK NOWITZKI, Mavericks
One of the biggest NBA misconceptions of the last decade is that Dirk isn’t clutch. In a League where coaches come and go, rosters turn over every summer, and the power balance shifts constantly, you can’t have a franchise win 50-plus games every single year for 10 straight years — and going on an 11th — unless its superstar is clutch.

Ask anybody who’s had to guard Dirk, and a few words become thematic: “Unblockable” and “tough shots.” It’s not just that Dirk can shoot, it’s that his size as a 7-footer and ability to keep his same form at different angles allows him to drill those jumpers over anybody. His pull-up jumper from the foul line area is as unstoppable as any go-to move by any player in the League, and he hits it regularly in clutch moments.

Last season, Dirk was third in the NBA in clutch time scoring, where he shot 98 percent from the line and 66 percent beyond the arc. His 5.3 assists per 48 minutes of clutch time also placed him higher than noted scorers like Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Joe Johnson, Monta Ellis and Kevin Durant.

This season, Dirk has already beaten the Celtics with a fallaway game-winner on Nov. 8, scored eight in the fourth quarter to lead Dallas to a win over the Hornets on Nov. 15, and his free throws down the stretched helped seal a win over the Hawks on Nov. 20. At 32 years old he’s putting together another MVP-caliber campaign, and maybe he’ll even dead the notion once and for all that he’s not clutch.

Unless it’s possible to lose pieces of your basketball talent on a three-hour flight from Ohio to Florida, LeBron is still the best player on the Miami Heat and their No. 1 go-to guy. Of course, Dwyane Wade is no lower than No. 1A and it could easily be argued that he’s really the top dog — but if I have to pick one Miami rep, it would be LeBron. And let’s be honest: If D-Wade and Bosh had decided to sign with the Cavs, this wouldn’t even be an argument. But some people seem to believe geography somehow made D-Wade better than LeBron.

Look at it this way: Miami has been able to stay close and have a shot at winning games against Boston (twice), Orlando, Memphis and Dallas in which Wade either sat out or didn’t play well. LeBron? I’m not sure he’s had a bad game this season. On those nights where Wade was off, LeBron (24.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 7.3 apg) had to carry the offense. And on the nights when Wade has been on, LeBron was still often the top option. That makes Wade the League’s ultimate X-factor, but LeBron is the go-to guy.

That said, I did rank Wade higher than LeBron on this list last season. But that was before LeBron won his second league MVP, put up 37-12-11 in a must-win playoff road game in Chicago, put up a triple-double (27 pts, 19 rebs, 10 asts) in an elimination game against Boston, and early into this season established himself as the most viable option to lead Miami team through rough stretches with his all-around game.

One flaw in the “LeBron chose to join forces rather than compete” school of thought: Wade never stood in LeBron’s way of a championship. Neither did Bosh. If anything, LeBron stood in their way, as his Cavs were the No. 1 seed in the East back-to-back years. Wade is the one who hadn’t been past the first round of the playoffs since ’06, and Bosh was teetering on the edge of the Lottery. If anything, Wade and Bosh needed LeBron in their lives more than the other way around.

LeBron was the No. 1 clutch time scorer in the NBA last season, averaging 66.1 points per 48 minutes during clutch time. The next-highest scorer, Kobe Bryant, averaged 51.2 points per 48 minutes. Obviously LeBron is playing with more talent now in Miami and doesn’t have to do everything he did in Cleveland, but the offense still runs through him more than anyone else. He’s still his team’s most talented player, still the best scorer, and still the best playmaker.

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  • karizmatic

    Just decided to go ahead and wrap the series up huh?

  • Antouan

    I love all the writers at Dime and usually dont disagree much…..but how is Wade NOT on this list? I’d rather have Wade as my go-to guy over everyone listed 12-30…agree or disagree?

  • slickyrickyross

    This epic novel is finally over.

  • hakasan

    agree with the above sentiment…
    there’s a reason lebron went to miami… because wade is a PROVEN WINNER…
    everybody knows that the regular season don’t count…. two time regular season mvp with zero ring means jack…

    if you’re going to go by regular season achievements, please rank dirk over lebron… and seriously, how ‘clutch’ is that heat team this year?

  • Nick

    This isn’t a list of best clutch players in the league. It’s on a team by team basis. One player from each team. With Miami, he chose Lebron.

  • Marquis

    D. Rose is 13? He should be way higher man.

  • CK

    I don’t see how Carmelo can be anything other than 2 and how Wade can be lower than Lebron let alone be MISSING on this list..

  • christian

    d-will kd and carmelina in the top ten…yeah right! the only thing you can go to them for are early playoff losses….and b-roy at 11?? you can go to him to make it to the lottery, thats about it…d-will is as pure a pg as youll find but not a go to guy…bc go to guys win, thats what makes them a “good” go to guy…

  • Sallo

    Ok Christiana, you win the award for most feminine name. Your a winner!

  • jerkishbehavior.com

    The Top 5 our of this group should be:
    1. Kobe
    2. Carmelo
    3. Dirk
    4. Pierce
    5. Lebron

  • the truth

    christian, who else will be in the top ten if u take out KD D will and Melo? They’re locks, you’re either an idiot or your head is too far up Kobe’s shorts if u think those guys aren’t top 10

  • christian

    kd is solid, but d will is not a go to guy, he is a point guard…he’s supposed to be going to his teammates to make them better and thats exactly what he does…he needs a go to guy….melo is a joke, he scores a lot of points, loses in the playoffs, than repeats…hasnt done anything in his career beside score…that doesnt mean shit….he doesnt even want to be the go to guy in denver because he wants out…so i dont want my team’s go to guy be a guy who plays lackluster defense, sucks in the playoffs, and wants to be traded

  • barons_beard

    worst. list. ever

  • hooper5013

    Christian shut up…another Carmelo hater? They are a good team and its no thanks to anyone on that squad other than him. They have lost what 6 games? He is at nearly 10 rebounds also.

    Deron Williams is the best guard in the L not named Kobe he deserves to be on the list period

  • christian

    haha…im just rattling the cage, i am a carmelo hater, thank god im not a thuggets fan…

  • alleyboi6

    Before Vince went to the magic he was a top 5 clutch player..and there are even numbers to show even now he is second to Kobe in gamewinners since 2003, when LBJ,Melo,Dwade were entering the L. It is wut it is tho, VC ride for ya all day my G….

  • egypt

    Up until last year, Vince Carter was listed as more “cluctch” than kobe on 82games.com…. maybe lebron too i dont remember but ya worth noting

    and everyone mentioning wade’s omission… read the rules…

  • drew

    after kobe, it should be carmelo if you consider your go-to-guy someone that can hit any shot in any situation in any way.

  • thrillah

    LeBron just got his first game winner LAST YEAR ! It was against a defenseless Golden State team. Sure he scores in bunches in the 4th. Carmelo should definately be higher than LeBron. I would pick Wade over LeBron for Miami.

    PS. I’m a Lakers fan, but Deron Williams definately needs to be on the top 5 list.

  • Like A Bosh

    Maybe LeBron doesn’t have a ton of game-winners because he did the work earlier in the game to put his team in position where they didn’t NEED a game-winner? The Cavs won a lot of games over the years and blew out a lot of teams. Being clutch doesn’t only mean hitting buzzer-beaters.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    Eh. Kobe is actually one of the worst crunch time shooters in the League, but I’m not surprised to see him at #1. Take enough ridiculous shots, and a few will go in.

  • Rainman

    Something is wrong…or maybe my eyes just missed him on the list(happens)

    But D-Wade isnt on ur top 30 list?

  • Dan

    Where in God’s name is Ray Allen on this list?? he hits a huge shot every two weeks since he got to boston….One of the best clutch shooters of all time not in this guys top 30…nice work bud

  • Dagger

    Did someone just say Lebron hit his first game-winner last year? Laughed at that one. As of 2009, since the 2003-2004 season Kobe Bryant hit 14 game winning shots while LeBron hit 17. Do your research guys . . . or do us all a favour and don’t post.

    Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/125265-are-you-sure-youd-rather-have-kobe-shoot-that-game-winner-than-lebron

  • !!

    wow…. where is wade?

  • Talented

    Antuoan, agreed.


  • Sporty-j

    How about you just put Lebron #1. We all know you really want to but you cant because you know you would lose all respect as a writer… THIS IS THE REASON Y I NEVER DID DRUGS and DIMES NEEDS TO START GIVING OUT PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS BEFORE THEY HIRE SOME OF THERE WRITERS. Lebron over Wade??? Im convinced the world just might be coming to an end very soon. Wade said he NEVER would have joined Lebron in Cleveland if the Cavs had the money to do what we did and had already signed Bosh. So what does that tell you? Wade knows he doesnt need Lebron, but Lebron needs Wade. Lets be honest ok!!! If your life was on the line would you really go to Lebron over Wade? Lebron can thank Wade for his GOLD MEDAL and soon to be SHIP…

  • lw

    dime…. you have just lost my respect… get off of lebrons nuts… lebron came to him not the other way around… the fact that wade is not even on this list kills all of your creditably… worst list ever… lebron homerism at its finest

  • nickname

    another great write-up AB.

    dagger – thank you for suggesting that i do some research. i just did.

    i guess, to be fair, we’d have to define “game-winner”.

    please keep in mind that this isn’t very up-to-date (3/2010) but here is a pretty detailed list of kobe’s supposed “14” to lebron’s “17”. along with some of our other superstars including the GOAT.

    source: http://thelakersnation.com/forums/index.php?/topic/35895-list-of-official-game-winning-shots-kobe-lebron-wade-carmelo-jordan-etc/

    kobe is waaay ahead of lebron and it aint even close.

    let me know what y’all think.


  • http://www.chess.com smoove chips

    I can live with this list.

  • http://www.nba.com Jay

    Wait so… numbers 6-30 get an entire article written about them and the five best each get like 3 paragraphs?

  • ab40

    2 words GINOBILI

  • KB8toSG8


    Yeah…dunking is clutch right?

  • bookkwormmaster

    One flaw in the “LeBron chose to join forces rather than compete” school of thought: Wade never stood in LeBron’s way of a championship. Neither did Bosh.

    I agree with the Bosh statement but I don’t about Wade. The Heat had their sights clearly set on the free agent fest of 2010 and there were alot of the big names who had Miami on their list of teams they wanted to play for. Wade already had Bosh signed, sealed, and delivered and easily could have gotten other capable players to field a team to challenge LeBron and his mediocre Cavs team. LeBron, for all his talent and ability, couldn’t convince anyone to join him in Cleveland unless it was via trade and we’ve seen what they could only manage through that (Mo Williams, Shaq, Antawn Jamison).

  • el presidente


    you give solo write-ups for guys from 30 to 6, and just write a single piece on the top 5? damn. should’ve been the other way around. lost a lot of credibility with this.

    also, we’re talking about “go to guys” here right? meaning, “in the clutch.”

    when it comes to closing games, LBJ aint even in my top 5. it’s wade’s world bitch.

  • Arno

    If you want to answer a tough question, you can either write volumes, weighing indefinitely pros and cons… or you can use a little maths. 82games.com did this very efficiently, setting a precise definition of a game winning shot and giving comprehensive stats. What do they tell us ?

    If you name “best clutch” the one who won the most games, it’s LBJ.
    But, of course, it’s easier to succeed at times when you try often. So you’d rather like the made / attempted ratio. For at least 10 made since 2003, the best clutch would be (by far) Melo.
    Kobe ? He tries a lot… and sometimes succeeds. Shots made get in history, shots missed get forgotten. Since memory doesn’t serve us well, let’s use stats… and give the ball to Pau (9/18 made).

  • Arno

    Important provision : the 09-10 season is NOT taken into account in those stats.

  • Arno

    Now, you may better like scoring in 4th quarters decided under 5 pts.
    Then you see that Kobe scored the most in 08-09, with a fabulous 92% FT shooting, that Melo is a 58% 3’s shooter when the game is on the line, that Parker is way ahead of Ginobili or Duncan for the SAS (but wasn’t Ginobili injured?).

  • Badger

    @el presidente — “You give solo write-ups for guys from 30 to 6, and just write a single piece on the top 5? damn. should’ve been the other way around.”

    I actually liked it this way. Seriously, how many articles can we find online about Kobe, LeBron, Melo, etc? They don’t have a shortage of exposure. This way DIME gave some lesser-hyped guys (Salmons, Lopez, Monta) their individual time to shine for once.

  • Jae

    Pretty ridiculous list. I’m sorry but the fact that Wade isn’t even on the list of go-to guys, just shreds this lists credibility. But I am not surprised, you guys also didn’t even put Wade in your top 3 players earlier in the year, you put Durant over him. lol. Just as a brief note, just pause for a second and think of what Wade would have done in the east if he had a guy of Russell Westbrook’s caliber on his team.

    I think its pretty obvious what is being done here though. Dime magazine has a pretty big interest in propping LeBron and his image back up, and in order to do that they must try to make him appear to be the Alpha dog on the team. To do this they must make Wade appear inferior when everything shows he’s not. They must relegate Wade to 2nd option status, when their track records show if you want anybody to lead you to a championship, its Wade.

    I could even understand if you guys wrote this foolish list before the season started, and you number it this way because you went with the guy who the media rides all day long to be the go to guy on Miami (this is LeBron of course). But after watching Miami play this season, how can anyone pretend LeBron is the go to guy on that team over Wade? Wade has been the key to all our wins. Even when LeBron plays badly the Heat win as long as Wade plays relatively well. The same cannot be said of LeBron at all, so its a pretty unique display of the LeBron homerism going on in on this site to put him over Wade even after seeing evidence that this isn’t true.

  • S.A.C.

    You guys are crazy!!!

    I would much have Dwayne Wade making the tough/last shot in a half court offense than Lebron James.

    Dwayne is just more explosive and a better shooter in the half court set. He’s also quicker and makes better decisions, after he makes his move or about to shoot.

    Lebron has no go to move and he’s not a low post player yet, though he’s trying.

    Wade has that patented jab step jumper up top and baseline turn around. What’s Lebron’s go to shot (bulling his way to the basket)?

    You guys are not giving Wade his props, who’s singlehandedly won his team a bunch of games all by himself and couldn’t be guarded when everyone knew he was going to shoot. i would also like to ad, Wade won his team a title as well!

    Just look at the BOSTON series last year. Wade had a better series against Boston than Lebron did and Lebron had Shaq!

    I DISAGREE!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cheech

    Wow. I’m never amazed at how seriously people take some of these write ups; chill out people. You act like you have a vested interest in this shit.

  • S.A.C.



    I know Lebron has his supporters. But no one who has honestly watched both players, can say that Lebron is a better go to player than Wade.

    Just look at last years playoffs? Have you ever heard Miami fans ever say they were disspointed with Wade’s play or effort EVER?????

    If I knew you guys had Lebron on this sooner, I would of wrote back sooner, cause you guys are (with all due respect) FUCKING CRAZYYYYY!!!!!!

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    You know what, to me perception is the biggest thing with fans and being clutch. That’s why people think Kobe is a god who does not miss shots, and Bron and Dirk are chokers. Last years 6 game winners was the best thing to ever happen to Kobe’s career since winning the first ring post Shaq.

    Everyone is human, and to me the only reason why I’d take Bron over Kobe in clutch situations is because he is a willing passer.

  • S.A.C.

    @Dogwaller Post #21

    You are correct on Kobe.

    I’ve watched him countless of times (including this year) quietly missed game time winners and important shots down the stretch and you hear nothing. But as soon as he hits one, he’s the best closer in the league.

    There are other players who hit more game winners than Kobe, but because they’re not ball hogs and get less opportunities you never hear or talk about them. But Kobe missed a whole lot more of those shots than he makes. Just watch him!

    I feel Dwayne Wade is more clutch than him and Lebron.

    I don’t think Dime watches LA games or Miami games.

  • S.A.C.

    @Dogwaller Post #21

    You are correct on Kobe.

    I’ve watched him countless of times (including this year) quietly missed game time winners and important shots down the stretch and you hear nothing. But as soon as he hits one, he’s the best closer in the league.

    There are other players who hit more game winners than Kobe, but because they’re not ball hogs and get less opportunities you never hear or talk about them. But Kobe missed a whole lot more of those shots than he makes. Just watch him!

    I feel Dwayne Wade is more clutch than him and Lebron.

    I don’t think Dime watches LA games or Miami games.

  • S.A.C.


    Bron has no go to shot and is not clutch!

    Wade has his jab step Jumper and turnaround from the baseline.

    Kobe misses a whole lot more clutch shots than he makes, but because he plays on great teams and eventually hits one he has this legend.

    But I’d much rather have Wade, Nowitzki, Dwill and sometimes Carmelo take a big shot vs Kobe. But definitely not “Bron Bron”, he has no go to moves, except bulling his way to the basket.

  • S.A.C.


    Bron has no go to shot and is not clutch!

    Wade has his jab step Jumper and turnaround from the baseline.

    Kobe misses a whole lot more clutch shots than he makes, but because he plays on great teams and eventually hits one he has this legend.

    But I’d much rather have Wade, Nowitzki, Dwill and sometimes Carmelo take a big shot vs Kobe. But definitely not “Bron Bron”, he has no go to moves, except bulling his way to the basket.

  • S.A.C.




    Sorry guys. But Dime is CRAZZZZZYYYYY!!!!!!

    And Kobe has missed a bushel load of game winners this year, over and over again, many times in the same game. But all you get is silence!!!!

  • S.A.C.




    Sorry guys. But Dime is CRAZZZZZYYYYY!!!!!!

    And Kobe has missed a bushel load of game winners this year, over and over again, many times in the same game. But all you get is silence!!!!

  • S.A.C.

    Lastly Dime.

    If you watch Miami games, Wade is always the one taking the last shot anyway, so Spoelstra doesn’t even believe you!!

    Wade just has more moves and is a better passer off of his move than Lebron, who just puts his head down and bullies his way to the basket in touch situations, once he decides to make his move (and he’s not taking a jump shot).

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    Come on, you think Wade is a better pass off drives than Bron? No way.

    I don’t get the where the perception of Bron not being clutch comes from? He hits the shots he takes. I’d take Melo over all of them but after him its a tie between Kobe/Bron. I’m just saying its ludicrous the way people think Kobe is the be all end all of clutch. Perception.

  • S.A.C.



    Wade is a much better passer off the dribble (when he’s making, about to make his move or shot)over Lebron. Absolutely!

    As a matter of fact, I think Wade is the best at that in the NBA (but seems to get no credit for it from fans like yourself). Lol.

    I’m not saying Lebron is not clutch. He is to a degree. But he isn’t, cause he doesn’t have a pet move or go to move (outside of an open three or putting his head down and bullying his way to the basket). Wade does!

    Lebron passes better when he’s committed to pass, once he determines to drive, he’s not as good a passer or as good as Wade at doing that.

    Just watch the two play and you’ll see what I mean. Wade can accurately hit the open made right down to before he’ll take the shot. That shouldn’t be a surprise. Wade is more coordinated than Lebron. Which only makes sense. Don’t let Lebron’s size fool you on what he can do vs a smaller player.

    I think Dwayne is and has shown through out his career he’s much more clutch than Lebron. Just look at his resume (various game winners, dominating stretches, key passes, playoff performances and that NBA championship series)?

    Now all you had to do was watch last years playoffs against Boston. They both played against the same defense (and Dwayne didn’t have Shaq either) and Wade shot much better, scored for a higher average and was very efficient. That was a stripped down free agent seeking Mimai squad Wade played on.

    Lastly, yes Kobe is overrated in regards to clutchness. I’ve seen Kobe miss a kazillion shots when it’s counted and the announcers remain silent. Crickets! But when he finally hits one, they go crazy and call him the best closer. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Lol. I agree with you!

  • S.A.C.

    It think Lebron gets a lot of praise for his passing because of his size, as he should. He’s a great passing and committed point forward type.

    But don’t confuse the fact that he passes great for a 6’8’250lb guy vs a 6’4″ 225lb guy that used to play point guard. Wade plays 2 guard so he always in attack mode and that’s what makes his passing and career assist average even more impressive.

    As a matter of fact I think Lebron could be a much more efficient scorer, if he had a pet move, Low post moves or moved with out the ball and cut to the basket more with out the ball. Nothing we all never heard of before. Doesn’t mean Lebron doesn’t score now, he does. But he’s not always the most efficient scorer.

    You notice Miami is playing better now, when it has Chalmers and Arroyo more involved in the offense, Lebron more off the ball and DWade handling the ball more up top (i.e. Lebron not dominating the ball as much anymore)?

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    Misses get forgotten, makes go down in history. Thus people look at the MAKES, and forget the MISSES. Like I said, Kobe’s 6 game winners are the best thing to ever happen to him. He had concrete visual evidence of his clutch condescend into a season. Then people started calling the the “Kloser”

    Everyone remembers the 3 against Miami No one remembers the 3 against Toronto. Everyone remembers the 4th quarter against the Suns (best period played by anyone last year) no one remembers the air ball3 against the Suns.

    Despite my rant, he still a clutch motherfucker though, I’d just take the Melo man over him lol.

    P.S Wade had the greatest post season since MJ last year. don’t care what anyone tells me.

  • me

    wait, is there really a rock em sock robots movie coming out?

  • TheArsenal

    Who has the most game winning buckets the past week? Two weeks? This season? Pretty sure that dude is DRose. Sometimes I wonder if you guys even watch basketball.

  • yooyoyo

    Amare at 17? you ppl are bugging.

  • S.A.C.


    So Drose is the most clutch person in the NBA now, based off of a quarter of the season vs Bron, Wade and Kobe who been doing it year in year out for the past 5-7 season+ (and most of this is based off of last season, since this current season just started and is not finished)?

    Yeah Ok.


    You are correct. Kobe is a great, clutch player, but he’s also overrated cause no one ever calls him a choker (or chucker) when he’s missing all those shots.

    You’re saying Wades playoff against Boston last year or the one against Dallas in the finals (or you being funny)?


  • Stunnaboy2K11

    I was being serious, Wade against Boston was on another level. 33.2PPG 6.8APG 5.6RPG 1.6SPG 1.6BPG 56%FG and 40% 3FG

    That to me, against an elite Celtics defense focusing SOLELY on him, is greater than him getting constantly bailed out by refs in the Finals with Shaq as a competent sidekick.

  • Clayton

    Absolutely awful to have Lebron over Wade on this list. Lebron may be a better overall player (his size allows him to play all over the floor and he is a better passer), howeever, Wade is a better scorer. You mention Wade’s off games this year…he missed the preseason and has been battling injuries all year so yes he has had bad games. But it isn’t true that Lebron hasn’t had bad games, he hasn’t shot the ball overly well either. I believe hes had a couple 5-18 nights. But when you want scoring in clutch situations, you go to Wade because he is fearless and is better at creating shots. Wade was incredibly clutch to win a championship and should have won the MVP when Bron got his first. The 46 point performance against Boston last year to win game 4..he is your go-to guy. Lebron is the playmaker, but D Wade is the cold blooded go-to guy when the game is on the line. His performance against the loss against Utah earlier this season is proof…they didn’t lose because they couldnt score, but because they didn’t defend the last possesssion. but Wade tookk over in the 4th and overtime and scored at will. if they had defended that last poseession he woulda been the hero. anyways d wade is the go-to guy on that team. Brons needs him.

  • Jason

    What a surprise, another ridiculous article from Austin Burton… Lebron and clutch is like oil and water, it doesn’t mix. I know people are entitled to an opinion but this is stupid. The entire list is preposterous. Just change the Title from “The NBA’s Top 5 Go-To Guys” to Your favorite players in the league or something. At least that way it has more merit.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @ SAC – yea, I forget where I read it, but in the last X minutes of the game Kobe shoots something like 20 percent. I almost don’t want to post this sinceI don’t have the info myself, but it was pretty awful.

    Clutch is an overrated notion. Doesn’t exist. Kobe can go 0-10 for the 4th quarter, then he hits one shot to win the game, and he’s clutch?! Ha how’s that? imagine if he had hit a low percentage of his shots – 3-10 – the Lakers wouldn’t have needed him to hit that last shot in the first place.

  • http://www.TheDailyNewsReport.net Lucas Dowen

    I agree with this….

  • nowitzness_grl

    Just shuffle Dirk and Lebron and move Carmelo up (I think it’s a two-way tie between Dirk and Melo) and I’m OK with it. I still don’t like Lebron in the top 5 but I guess it depends on what your definition of “clutch” is (which is VASTLY relative). I definitely wouldn’t rely on Lebron to shoot a game-winner or make fourth-quarter crunch-time free throws .. but hey, that’s just me.

  • Carlos PR

    Why is Wade not on the list? Because the author is an ASS, who obviously doesn’t know about the existance of DWade. He lives with his head under the ground.
    my list and how it should be rated? Paul Pierce above Wade??? You have got to be kidding me, Paul Pierce is great but HOW MANY GAMES HAS DWYANE WADE won for Miami when he CARRIED THE COMPLETE LOAD for them last season? Beasly above Dwade??? Vince Carter as of today??? Gilbert Arenas??? How much pot did you smoke before you wrote this?
    1.Kobe (even though Wade is my favorite player)

  • Carlos PR

    @Clayton, I TOTALLY agree with you

  • K Dizzle

    So Kobe is #1 and Inglewood’s Finest made the top 5 so we straight. I love reading posts talkin about “stats” when the point of the article is “IF” your squad is down 1 and you got 5 seconds, who you want with the ball in their hands? But the entertainment I get from reading that Kobe has “the worst clutch time numbers” will carry me to Christmas. People, move on. Your fave player didn’t hit 6 buzzerbeaters just last season, when the defense and 20000 people watchin KNEW he was gettin the rock… Who finally stalled the Kobe show? The Clippers…lol
    Love that team.
    I gotta agree with the peeps sayin Wade shoulda got the nod at crunchtime for the Heat tho….but as a Laker fan, I HOPE they give the ball to Lebron in crunch time and hide Flash up on the wing. See how that goes over cuz the Heat haven’t had to jump that puddle yet. All’s gravy when you blowin teams out. When they down 1 with 10 ticks left, then it’s gonna be a party lol

    Lakers, baby! Get a win while you can!

  • Talented

    I’m still waiting on an apology or something, Dime. Anything. Are you telling me John Salmons and Yao Ming are go to guys but Dwyane Wade doesn’t even make the list?

  • hooper5013

    kobe misses clutch shots just like reggies and micheal and bird did but often times in the end of games Kobe goes on spurts where he hits 10 points in a row to close out teams….thats clutch. Game winnings are hit or miss especially when everyone in the arena knows who is getting the ball. So the kobe hate is unwarranted…

    Melo is the best buzzer beater clutch shooter I have ever seen he just turns everything off and makes shots. D. Will is famous for catching the nd bound after a made basket and going coast to coast for a pull up or lay in…he is good…

  • S.A.C.


    I thought it was a great series to, but I didn’t know other people watched or noticed.

    But I would still call his finals against Dallas greater, cause he was a third year player and his team was down 0-2, Shaq was hurt and he brought them back and won the series.

    But yes; Wades performance last year was incredible to watch and Miami could of actually won that series and played each game very well. No blow outs if I remember correctly.

  • S.A.C.

    @Carlos PR

    I like your post and list.

    Give Kobe the benefit since he got the champs (though we know he don’t win them alone and can afford to have bad games & win).



    Yeah I believe you and that sounds prophetic.

    Kudos to you to!


    I bet you would want Lebron to take that last shot. Right? Lol. I don’t know what these folks at Dime see, but I guess they want to maintain the relationship with Lebron and his peeps or something. Because if Both of those guys are FACING MY TEAM, I’d rather have Lebron take the last shot. I’M MORE AFRAID OF WADE!


    You made some good points, but Wade, Nowtitski, even Lebron has carried teams for games or stretches. But Wade has carried teams on his back and hit game winner and big shots consistently in close games.

    ps:don’t remember if he was on the list, but if Dime had Kevin Durant high on the list, then that’s just another sham. Durant hasn’t even been the best player on his team this year and he shoots a poor percentage and a lot of god awful bricks, that someone who’s supposed to be such a good shooter should never shoot on such a regular basis.

  • S.A.C.

    Yes, Carmelo is a better player and clutch shooter (till otherwise) over Durant.

  • S.A.C.

    Lastly Guys

    Wade even plays the post better than Lebron (including his Pet baseline turn around and jab step jump shot).

    Did you guys see in the Sacramento game last night when Wade posted up a 6-8″ guy 2x in a row on the block with impunity and scored easily right over him, cause of his explosiveness, quickness and long as arms?

    Come on DIME!!!

  • fresh



  • TheArsenal


    Did I say DRose was “the most clutch player in the NBA” anywhere? Or is it more likely you’re just a pretentious fucking idiot?

    Pretty sure the article is about the top 5 go-to guys at this moment, and right now you can’t not put him in the top 5 based on what he’s done lately. Of course Kobe, Wade, and LeBron have better resumes based on past seasons. But what has Paul Pierce done lately to be deserve being in the top 5, let alone at number 2? Nothing. All I was saying was that this list is skewed, as evident by leaving Wade off of the list entirely. Wake the fuck up

  • Like A Bosh

    Damn some of you people are sad. It says ONE PLAYER PER TEAM. Wade isn’t on the list because LeBron was picked to represent the Heat. Which you could argue either way, but it’s not like Wade is CLEARLY better than LeBron as a go-to guy. Like AB said, Wade hasn’t even been past the 1st round of the playoffs since 2006.

    I wonder if Wade had been picked to rep Miami and LeBron wasn’t on the list at all, would anybody be complaining? I think the pro-Wade reaction is more fueled by anti-LeBron hate than anything.

  • Jay10do

    look at all the Lebron haters this shit is crazy, LOL! Go Heat!!!!

  • S.A.C.


    I don’t think it’s Lebron Hate, as much it is Wade superlative performances over the regular season and playoffs. A lot of people just don’t see Lebron as a big time clutch performer.

    @The Arsenal

    I think this was a EARNED List (with all it’s flaws) and it’s not as simple as you wrote it regarding Rose.

    You notice YOU WERE THE ONLY ONE to make your DRose placement claims (on a deserted island I may add), compared to the assortment of Nowitski, Wade and Anthony arguments on this board? Mmhhhh?

    Just own up to that! And be careful/Better watch it next time when speaking about Pretentious fucking idiots (cause it just might be YOU)!!

    Enjoy your football and Bball games today.

  • TheArsenal

    Dirk and Melo are already in the top 5 so there’s no need to make any “claims” about them. As far as DRose, the 6th post read:

    Marquis says:

    D. Rose is 13? He should be way higher man.

    I’m not the one putting words in someone elses mouth or making assumptions about what someone may or may not think. And aside from that this list is pretty awful from top to bottom.

    For instance, the Spurs go to Ginobili when they need a last second bucket, not Duncan. The Bucks look for Jennings. The Magic go to Nelson, Howard, or Lewis before Carter, the last time the Wizards went to Arenas was before he was brandishing weapons in the locker room, Yao Ming hasn’t played more than like 30 games the last two seasons – they go to Brooks, and I don’t ever remember the Nets going to Lopez for a last second bucket because they give it to Harris.

  • Talented

    AB just man up and admit you forgot..its okay if u take responsibility, but if u keep runnin from it thas not a good look lol

  • Talented

    Im talking about you leaving out Dwyane Wade..if u aint guess

  • Spur-Antonio

    @Talented Says

    Austin will tell you he didn’t “leave out Dwayne Wade”. Instead he’ll say he left out Dwayne Wade for Lebron James, since he had to pick one from each team.

    Still a big mistake!

    I agree with you. Dwayne Wade should be on the list above Lebron James as team mates. Absolutely!!!!!

  • Like A Bosh

    @Talented — It’s been “one player per team” ever since last year’s list. Do you see any other teammates in the top 30? Nobody forgot about Wade.

  • Irish2u2

    If I want a guy to hit that big buzzer beater I might choose Jamal Crawford over Kobe or Bryant. Crawford has a much better track record in those situations than either Kobe or LBJ but this isn’t about that one shot.

    NBA games are won in the 4th quarter. That is when the pressure is really on and the true stars come out and shine. The best NBA 4th quarter player this season is Amar’e Stoudemire. Bar none.

    Oh and yes…. Wade has to be on this list. My top 10 list of clutch players would have Wade and LeBron on it along with Kobe, Pierce, Dirk, Melo, Rose, KD, Amar’e and Chris Paul with Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Monta Ellis, Manu Ginobili and a few others just outside that list but still very dangerous players.

    In the right circumstances Dwight Howard should be on that list but he needs somebody to get him the ball. All the others on this list are able to create their own opportunities which is key.

  • Sporty-j

    Im tired of these cats always talking about Wade never making it out the 1st round since 2006. 07 it was Shaq, Walker, Posey, and etc faults we got knocked out by the Bulls because they were a bunch of lazy partying out of shape bums. Wade did all he could do with a seperated shoulder by the way and knee tendernitis that had set in from him coming back just before the playoffs. Same problems lingered over into the 08 season and he threw in the towel early. He took Atlanta to 7 games by himself in 09 and should have gotten MVP that season when everybody had written him off as the next TRACY McGrady with a ring though. Boston was a 1 man showing as we all know. Wade took all his exits like a MAN, never cried to the media for help like Kobe(when he just let his help in Shaq be traded???) and than could have ruined the Lakers with his trade demands after they just let Shaq go to keep him??? Sounds like a dude thats all in it for HIMSELF, and all about himself. Could Kobe play with Lebron in L.A.??? Hell no, dude has problem now sharing the spot light with Gasol when there offense clearly flows better when you run it through Gasol. But i guarantee you Micheal could have played with Lebron just like Wade can now. Theres a reason why Wades my favorite player since Jordan. Dude can SHARE the spot light with anybody. Is the most loyalist S.O.B through thick and thin. Real down to earth layed back dude like Howard. Knows how to control his EGO and has that IT factor about him that i havent seen since Jordan. If his team or teamates never show up on the big stage. Dude always showed up, never cracked under pressure, and never blamed his teammates no matter what, like Lebron or Kobe. Dude single handedly beat Spain in that 08 olympics finals championship game when Kobe was ready to ball hog so Lebron wont out shine him when he should have known that all Lebron was going to do was choke. See how those 2 idiots ended up on the bench in foul trouble because they had the wrong goal in mind. It was Wade to the resque for USA. Not Kobe or Lebron. So I ask my fellow Dime readers. Who really is the best player in the world? Who really is the NBAs best go to guy period??? If USA was playing right now and down 1 against Spain, would Lebron even be in the discussion as the go to guy for the last shot if Durant was on the team, along with Wade, Kobe, and Melo lol??? Thank goodness AUSTIN BURTIN is not the coach of my HEAT. I also think its safe to say that the majority of the readers last play will be something like Wade creating off the dribble and than kicking it out to Kobe for the last shot. Lebron would be the last option on the floor if Kobe, Wade, Melo, and Durant were all on the floor at the same time. He joined Wade so he wont have to take that last shot.

  • S.A.C.


    Well said Sporty J!!

    Not sure if I’d have Durant taking the last shot either, over Dwill, Jamal Crawford or someone else. I’ve seen Durant Brick a lot of 4th quarter or comeback shots the past two years (last years playoffs & this seasons games).

  • S.A.C.

    @Sporty J

    Sorry, I forgot Nowitzki as well to take that last shot.

  • MSL

    That was beautifully said Sporty J; and agreed!

    I’m out!

  • Dan

    I’m a Celtics fan and Pierce should not be on this list.