Clutchiness

Posted on 01/26/2011 by

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“Time is a valuable thing, Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings

Watch it count down to the end of the day

The clock ticks life away” -Linkin Park  In the end

In strange reversal of fortune from the last few months, I’ve got a plethora of posts (rankings, the 2011 draft, the talent explosion, a sweet guest post) lined up in the queue and ready for you my dozens of dedicated readers. Not only that, I also managed to find the time to record a podcast this week and get a full night’s worth of sleep. Every night. Add to that the fact that Perkins came back tonight and I’m feeling as good as this kitty.

So good in fact that instead of hitting up the backlog for an easy robo-post, I’m winging it tonight. I’m going to take the time to do brand new tables and expand my analysis on clutch performance. You might just say I was feeling that mythical hot hand and decided to go with it.

As I said in my last post, 82games.com has a neat little feature where they keep track of clutch stats (which they define as: 4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points).

Yesterday I played with the data by dividing by usage groups, looking at points per shot and  per possesion (FGA +TOV+FTA*.44) and calculating Points created per possesion : (Total Pts scored+Unassisted points scored)/2  +Assists *(Avg value of points per FGM(2.7 pts) /2) (with everything  per 48 of course and I average values for reference).

But giving credit where credit is due, that’s a really addictive little data set.

So much so, that I kept right on tweaking it after the post. The questions came at me hard and fast: Should I use average values in the clutch rather than all the time? (Yes Sir) Should I work out actual Point Margin generation per 48? (Of course) Can I calculate which teams are clutchy? (We’re certainly going to try).This then is Clutchiness the sequel.

Let's hope it goes well. Sequels can be tricky business

Enough chitchat, let’s get to the cool stuff. First off, hows every player for the last 4 years in the clutch sound to you?

Whoa. That’s a little long but I wanted you all to have it for reference. Couple of things do jump out. Nash & Paul are awesome. Lebron (prior to this year but we’ll come back to that) was historically good for a non guard. Brandon Roy was fantastic prior to his tragic injury (this years sees a 16 point swing to the bad for his numbers). Kevin Durant is not clutch while Kobe totally is.

Kobe Love. Durant hate. I feel somewhat nauseous.

Let’s shorten this down to this year only for some more perspective:

That elite point guards makes all the difference in the clutch (and dominate this list). For the non point guards the ranking goes:

  1. Kobe (I just can’t seem to stop throwing up)
  2. Horford
  3. Dirk
  4. Manu
  5. Pierce
  6. Landry Fields (I am not including rebounds here either. Yes New York, let’s make sure to throw him into a Melo trade)
  7. Bosh
  8. Howard
  9. Lebron
  10. Jason Terry (but *Spoilers for a future post* this oddly enough seems to only happen when Dirk is on the court )

The bottom ten is also an interesting radiography:

  1. Chandler             2011NYK
  2. Love                     2011MIN
  3. Granger               2011IND
  4. Outlaw                  2011NJN
  5. Aldridge              2011POR
  6. Anthony              2011DEN
  7. Villanueva          2011DET
  8. Cousins                2011SAC
  9. Bargnani              2011TOR
  10. Landry                 2011SAC

So Melo for Chandler good. Melo for Fields GOOD (for Denver).

Let’s do one final table for today. Teams (at full strength) in the clutch:

So the teams with the elite point guards (Dallas,Boston, OKC, Phoenix and Utah) dominate this list. Miami is a little lower (but I expect once Wade shows up in the numbers they’ll improve). A few top teams have a problem with shot selection in the clutch including the Lakers (for shame Phil) for giving the ball to Fisher, the Knicks and Nuggets at the three (and they just might swap that problem :-( ). Bad teams that have no real option come crunch time (Wizards, Cavs and Wolves) are not a surprise. The somewhat decent teams like the Bucks and Pacers are a surprise (and may in large part explain some of their results).

That was fun and hopefully everyone learned something new and not to upsetting. I wasn’t so lucky. Damn these stats and their irrational Kobe Love!

Try not to get too upset (Image courtesy of xkcd.com)

PS. A quick followup is here

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