Spanoulis and Diamantidis the Most Clutch Players in Euroleague History
Vassilis Spanoulis and Dimitris Diamantidis were ranked first and second most clutch players in the history of the Euroleague and former Champions Cup.
Vladimir Stankovic, one of the most revered reporters in the field of basketball for the last 30 years, was asked to list his Top-10 clutch basketball players in the history of the Euroleague and former Champions Cup. The list includes players that are not afraid to take the responsibility and shoot during critical points in the game, leading their teams to the next round, sending a game to overtime, or giving their team the championship.
First on the list is none other than Olympiacos’ Vassilis Spanoulis with former Panathinaikos legend Dimitris Diamantidis second on the list.
The Top-10 included: Dragan Kicanovic, Juan Antonio San Epifanio, Mirza Delibasic, Sergio Llull, Bob McAdoo, Tal Brody, Sergei Belov, Toni Kukoc, Dimitris Diamantidis, and Vassilis Spanoulis.
Below are the descriptions of both Diamantidis and Spanoulis according to Stankovic’s article.
Diamantidis: For many, 13 means bad luck. Dimitris Diamantidis didn't believe in that and he accepted that jersey number, which took him great levels of success during a career that lasted from 1999 to 2016. One cannot say whether he was a better defender (six-time EuroLeague best defender), passer (EuroLeague leader in 2011 and 2014), or leader of Panathinaikos, which whom he was a three-time EuroLeague champ (in 2007, 2009 and 2011), Final Four MVP in 2007 and 2011, and full-season EuroLeague MVP in 2011. He is still the all-time king in assists and steals in the EuroLeague. A genius player. He was left-handed – an advantage according to many coaches – smart, a fighter and a great shooter. But above all, he was a great leader. The best years of Panathinaikos, which has more titles than any club in the Final Four era, coincided with the career of Diamantidis – that says it all. The EuroLeague is not the same without him.
Spanoulis: More than just decisive, Spanoulis is the second three-time EuroLeague Final Four MVP, after Kukoc, but the only person to simultaneously win that award and the title three times. A gifted playmaker, a consummate leader and a peerless scorer, whether inside or outside, Spanoulis is above all a repository of trust from both his coaches and his teammates. Few teams depend so much on a player as Olympiacos does with Spanoulis. The most extreme case could be seen at the EuroLeague championship game in London 2013 against Real Madrid. Spanoulis did not score in the first half, when his team trailed by as many as 17 points, but ended the game with 22 points on 5 of 9 three-point shooting as the Reds won their second consecutive EuroLeague title. In the previous edition, he set up Georgios Printezis with an assists for the title-winning shot. Spanoulis is two players in one, really, and both are clutch.