ESPN came up with the … um … formula that basically says Kobe is NOT the most clutch player in the league. Sound off.
True Hoop: It’s not as fun a way to see the NBA, but it’s real.
Every which way people slice and dice crunch time numbers — field goal percentage, plus/minus, you name it — Bryant is not the NBA’s best in crunch time. A glance at last year’s crunch time numbers on 82games.com makes clear Bryant shoots more than anyone else in the NBA in crunch time, but is he more skilled at making those shots? That’s what we’re trying to judge, right? In crunch time field goal percentage, last season Bryant finished 92nd in the League, right behind Michael Beasley. Others ahead of him include Kevin Garnett, both Gasols, Zach Randolph, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Terry, Jameer Nelson, Tim Duncan, Amare Stoudemire, Eric Gordon, Brandon Roy, Andre Iguodala, Jason Kidd, Ben Gordon, and Chris Bosh.
You can remember Bryant hitting all those clutch baskets, stat geeks say. But you’re forgetting all the misses. (And if you are learning about Bryant from highlights, then you’re not even seeing most misses.)
82games defines crunch time as the last five minutes of the fourth quarter, and all of overtimes, when neither team is leading by more than five points. In that period last night, Bryant showed some of the mixed bag of efficiency that the stats show, by turning the ball over, making a shot, missing three straight, and then closing the game in style.
He ended fourth quarter Laker plays as follows…
2:11 made jumper
1:46 missed jumper
0:02 missed jumper
In Overtime -
1:34 missed 3
1:17 made jumper
0:48 made layup + free throw
0:00 made jumper
Bryant wound up four of seven in crunch time — which is a healthy 57% from the floor. That’s above average crunch time shooting for him, but not as good as those with the the NBA’s best percentages. So he had a good night, compared to the 46% crunch time percentage from last year.
But one less make would have put him at 50%, and did you hear the commentary with the highlights above?