TrueHoop: Kobe Not the King of Crunch Time

ESPN TrueHoop columnist Henry Abbot penned a rather controversial piece this morning (here) on Kobe Bryant’s supposed inability to perform in crunch time. Here are a couple excerpts from that column:

I don’t know who’s the best, but with all due respect to Bryant’s amazing abilities scoring the ball, there’s zero chance he’s the king of crunch time.

And…

Bryant shoots more than most, passes less, and racks up misses at an all-time rate. There is no measure, other than YouTube highlights and folklore, by which he’s the best scorer in crunch time.

I am not one to sit here and argue about statistics. They are what they are – an incomplete and imperfect way to measure a players value. If stats told the whole story, guys like D-Fish (9/3/2 career averages), Robert Horry (7/5/2 career averages) and even someone like James Posey (8/5/1 career averages) would be insignificant footnotes in NBA history.

Before I start rambling (probably too late), I’ll just say this: With the game on the line in the closing seconds, I’d take Kobe ten out of ten times… and I’d be willing to bet opposing coaches, GM’s and players would do the same.

What do you think of Abbot’s column? Sound off, Laker Nation…

Jason Riley is the executive director of LakerNation.com. He also pens a regular opinion column, Out of Bounds, and is the co-host of Voice of the Nation: Fastbreak. He currently splits his time in Los Angeles, CA and Carlsbad, CA.
  • LkrFn4Lf

    In the last GM survey, nearly every GM chose Kobe as the guy they would trust the most with the ball in his hands at the end of a tight game. Who are you going to listen to? The GMs or some columnist?

  • LakersForever

    Whatever… ESPN is based out of Connecticut, the East Coast. This is why they’re biased and also why they were hating on USC during the championship years. They cant stand to see the West win. Up yours ESPN

    LAKERS FOR THE 3PEAT!!!

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  • lakersallthewayy

    this guy doesnt know what he’s talking about, if theres one guy you want the ball in the hands of during crunch time, its KOBE BEAN BRYANT! best closer in the game no matter what that guy sayss!!!!!

  • Jetsmoney01

    I totally agree with this guy. Look based on Stats and going off what he’s saying he’s right. I’m pretty sure he has a college master degree in something because he works for ESPN. How can we question the man. Going off stats the past 2 years the Cavs were suppose to win it all or at least make it to the finals. Boston was suppose to be old and finished. I mean look at those stats. This man is a genius and maybe with all the stats he looked up, he and hollinger can write a book and tell ppl who the best is. They should run for president and vice president.

    • JJ

      LOVE THIS GUYS SARCASM

  • http://chasesagum.com Chase Sagum

    Henry Abbot is a Kobe hating fool. While his statistics are significant, they dont tell the whole story. For example…

    1. How many more games were close at the end because of Kobe

    2. What percentage of games have Kobe’s teams won that were decided by 4 points or less

    3. How many playoff games has his teams won by 4 points or less and how does that compare to all active players

    I really wish ESPN would regulate this type of crap. Theres no way something this stupid should have hit the press!

  • keeponkeepinon18

    Even if Kobe might not be successful, him still being the go-to guy in crunch time and his willingness to “be in control” still means a lot ~ can’t be said for many other players who’ve made clutch shots and/or have been more successful than Kobe during when that time arises.

  • the lakers rock!!!!!!

    well, i’ve heard a lot of stupid crap, but this tops them all. espn hates the lakers is ovious. they love queen james and the celtics, but in reality most nba fans love the lakers, all you have to do is look at the arenas where the lakers go to play, full with lakers fans, mvp chants for kobe. f&ck u espn, u suck…f%$cking morons…

  • Anshuman

    Hey Jason,

    Is there any way to get the raw data to be publicly available? As an economist in training, I know how deceptive looking at just one slice of the data can be. Without looking at all the data we cannot be sure how sensitive the results are to the specifications Abbott chose. For instance, how would the results change if we defined clutch to not just be tied and down one or two but also include down 3 and 4 and up one and 2. What is we didn’t measure time in 24 seconds but 60 seconds or in terms of last five possessions. Given Abbott’s history of Kobe-lovelessness it wouldn’t surprise me if he has chosen specifications which highlight his thesis in the strongest terms. It is also imperative to see what these measures have to say about Jordan and Bird etc because if these measures also say that Jordan and Bird were average clutch shooters then obviously the problem lies in the measure.

    • ceballos-neverforget

      Haha

      Freakanomics 3: The Lakers Edition!

    • http://www.j-ri.com Jason Riley

      Great question. The best resource I know of is: http://www.82games.com. Pretty solid and unbiased.

  • atm23

    I would even take Kobe over Mike.

    • SHOWTIME4EVA

      same here.

    • yash

      i guess ur willing to lose. you saw it today, he hogged the ball against kings and they lost.

      • ceballos-neverforget

        Yea, but Boston lost handidly too….They both were looking ahead to Sunday; I know i am!

        • http://kachingkachingmachine.com armon anderson

          Kobe is the greatest individual NBA player of ALL time and has BECOME one of the best TEAM players in the NBA of all time knowing he has solid players around him to go all the way. End of story. Haters will Hate…Kobe will get his 6th!

          • yash

            wth? i was talking about him being clutch not his life story. hes inefficient. there shouldnt be games for him where he has to score so much. those days are over. he should use his teammates. use the damn triangle.

  • bdmf

    JORDAN COULD HAVE NOT SAID BETTER “AND THAT’S WHY I SUCCEED”

    • tony S.

      thumbs up to that!

  • yo!

    that article is really biased man you could write the exact same article about jordan and hes still the best..
    lol abbott just tied hollinger for the biggest asshole in history of espn.
    seriously thats why i preffer espndeportes alvaro martin is another columnist NOT BIASED AT ALL he critizes everybody equally and gives really professional opinions about basketball in general. if you can understand spanish i totally encourage you to follow him

  • JJ

    WHAT THE F*&^%
    LMFAO!!!

    HOW DO YOU DARE TO SAY KOBES NOT CLUTCH WHEN NOT SO WHILE AGO HE MADE LIKE 6 OR 7 BUZZER BEATERS
    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL
    THIS GUY SHOULD BE CASTRATED

    • yash

      good job one season. what about his career? can you keep it up for ur life? TBH i was a die hard kobe fan, now im slipping cuz of his ego is hurting the lakers chances, i still like him but not as much. How come when you know when Jordan has the ball, you know hes going to make the shot? Cuz hes actually clutch. with exception of last year hes a terribly inefficient witth the ball.

      • SHOWTIME4EVA

        HE WAS 13-27 AND SHOT THE HIGHEST PCT. ON OUR TEAM TONIGHT.I WOULDNT SAY HE WAS HOGGING THE BALL TONIGHT HE ALSO HAD SEVEN ASSISTS.

      • gameplan

        @yash you dn’t sounds like a kobe fan, but an old jordan nut hugger.

        • yash

          well i used to be a fan of him. there shouldnt be game where pau shouldnt score less than 10 pts. get him in a groove. 26 pts in the first half. missed shots left and right later on. he missed like last 5 shots of the game. those assists shouldve helped odom, gasol and bynum get in a groove and not just kobe himself.

        • yash

          @gameplan you gotta agree with me on that one tho. u knew if he was going to take the last shot he was gonna make it. ive seen so many game winning misses from kobe i felt like he wasnt clutch. game winners of a winner standout even tho they missed a lot of game winners. 36/115?? are u serious? add the misses he had in sac game, he missed over 81+ shots.

  • LILRI0Z

    NOW THIS GUY NEEDS TO KNOW THAT KOBE DOES PASS THE BALL AND IT MIGHT NOT SHOW IN PAPER BECAUSE THE PLAYERS HE PASSES IT TO CANT KNOCK DOWN THE SHOT SO HE GETS NO ASSISTS. SO B4 HE SAYS KOBE PASSES LESS HES GOTTA WATCH THE GAMES!!!! NOW I WORK FOR ESPN RISE AND WHEN I GET MY MASTERS IN COMMUNICATIONS ILL GIVE THE PEOPLE THE CORRECT INFO!!!!!

  • rondo

    Kobe hoged the ball yesterday he was trying to catch Hakeem scoring records. He took the Lakers out of the flow of the game early and they did not recover. Sometimes Kobe get on a ego trip and forgets about team concept. Some people on this board is so blinded by Kobe talent they never see his faults, he’s human and he has his faults too.

  • Day

    Considering, according to his own statistics, Kobe has more MAKES than some that are ranked ahead of him even has ATTEMPTS you can conclude the the ranking graph is flawed.

    How about include ppg in the clutch? Include the difficulty in the shots taken? Distance of the shots taken? % of shots within 16 feet and outside 16 feet perhaps?

    His article is flawed from the start when he makes the statement that “Everyone knows Kobe is going to shoot”. If everyone knows Kobe is going to take that last shot, including the entire team of players and coaches who are looking to stop that last shot, how is it that Kobe has that many game winners, points in the clutch, and Kobe is voted as the person that everyone, qualified to actually have an opinion on the matter, picks Kobe as the one who they want taking that shot?

    • yash

      are u serious? difficulty of game winning shots? why should they be tough? cant u make it easier on yourself? ur saying lemme take the difficulty of shots so he should get + pts for difficulty. everyone is mesmerized by his heroics even tho he has missed over 80+ shots in clutch. i saw games where he missed most of the shots in crunch. where he dribbles the ball by himself and tries to Kobe ball, that led to more losses than wins. every time i see kobe do that i wish he would win the game but he failed in over 80% of those situations.

      • NBAAAA

        Exactly my point. Difficulty of shots, thats what Kobe takes advantage of. He always shoots a long contested jumper in the clutch and dont tell me he doesn’t cuz Ive seen it happen more than 20 times live. Because he takes such ridiculous shots in crunch time Kobe gets away with misses. If he makes the shot, he’s amazing. If he misses almost everyone says “Well, it was a tough ass shot”. Kobe has no way of losing in that situation. Compare it to LeBron or Durant now and see how they both drive the lane in the crunch, getting layups or going to the free-throw line. It’s amazing how blind people are when it comes to Kobe in the clutch

  • Stephen

    I really don’t know how long it’s going to take the haters to realize that Kobe Bryant has always done whatever it takes to win games. Rondo, you’re a fucking dumbass man. Of course Kobe has faults, he can force shots at bad times, so what? FYI everyone has faults. He is a phenomenal team player and he obviously doesn’t have ego issues if he’s won 5 championships. If you argue that ur just a jealous hater that needs to grow a fucking brain. It’s also funny that Henry Gaybott decides to geniously leave out the fact that Kobe had a shitty team for 3 seasons, which is why he had to take over games a lot back then, thus increasing his shots. Know why? BECAUSE THATS WHAT IT TOOK TO WIN THE GAME. It’s not Kobe’s fault if his teammates aren’t providing enough to help the team win the game. Plus, how about the finger injuries? Didn’t see that mentioned in the article. America, the best nation on earth, with the most dumbass sports fans/writers besides Laker fans. Especially ones who know what they’re talking about. GOD HELP THE PEOPLE.

    • NBAAAA

      Ya idiot, when has LeBron had a good team? In fact, LeBron has had a worse team than Kobe every year that he has been in the league and won more games then him without forcing nearly as many bad shots. Kobe cant get assists and its not because he has no good shooters its because he rarely passes. BTW if Kobe always does what it takes to win why did Phil Jackson want him traded because he messed up the offense? why?

  • Stephen

    And if you think that Kobe Bryant is not the most clutch player in the game today… I just feel sorry for you.

  • Paul

    Since 1980 every 3.1 years the Lakers win a title. If they 3 peat it will be every 2.9 years. The yardstick that the NBA fans use to measure the success of a franchise is the number of titles they have. The Lakers have been in 30 of 62 NBA Finals. This will be their 4th NBA Final in a row. Who cares what people think about Kobe. I just know we would not have won these last 5 titles without him.

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