Could be one of the greatest commercials of all time.
If you follow the NBA more than casually and take a look at all sorts of stats, you know that many different analysts and websites define “clutch” stats (when the game is on the line) in many different ways. One of the most well-known is 82games.com’s clutch defined as “4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points”. Another was used by ESPN’s Henry Abbott earlier this year, which is actually what this research is based upon. He used “trailing by one or two points, or tied, in the final 24 seconds” of a game. He then used his stats to “prove” that Kobe Bryant is not near the top in clutch, and that’s what inspired me to look at clutch stats of my own.
I don’t really like 82games’ definition.. I feel it puts way too much into a clutch. For example, if there’s 5 minutes left, with the Lakers up 5, and Kobe makes a shot.. that counts as him being 1-1 in the clutch. That’s much different than being down 2 with 4 seconds on the clock. I took a variation of the stat Abbott used and adjusted it a bit. I guess I’ll state it like he did: Field goal attempts when trailing by one, two, or three points, or tied, in the final 10 seconds of a game. I lowered 24 seconds to 10, which I think is a much better indicator of “last second” heroics. Yes, 10 is totally arbitrary, but so are most definitions of clutch (5 minutes, 2 minutes). And I included being 3 points down, which means it’s still a one possession game, and a 3 pointer can tie it (I counted only threes made to tie, didn’t count a 2 when down 3).
To get these stats, I went through ESPN’s play by plays, looked at close games and checked the field goals that fell into the “clutch”. I looked at only Kobe vs Lebron, for a few reasons. Obviously the biggest bball debates are between these two. There’s various clutch stats that say one or the other is better. Looking at play by plays takes forever, so I figured picking these two players was a good choice.. I will try to expand this study to other players if I ever feel like it. I saw that ESPN’s box scores go all the way back to the 2002-2003 season.. unfortunately though, many of the play by plays were missing from that season. Luckily for us, Lebron joined the league the next season, and all the play by plays from 03-04 until last season are there for our viewing. So these stats will be from 2003-2004 until 2010-2011 (8 seasons) for both Lebron and Kobe.
Enough talking, here are the findings.
03-04: 0/5 (0%)
04-05: 2/8 (25%)
05-06: 2/5 (40%)
06-07: 1/10 (10%)
07-08: 5/11 (45%)
08-09: 1/4 (25%)
09-10: 1/8 (13%)
10-11: 1/7 (14%)
Total: 13/58 (22%)
03-04: 3/10 (30%)
04-05: 2/7 (29%)
05-06: 2/11 (18%)
06-07: 2/11 (18%)
07-08: 1/3 (33%)
08-09: 2/6 (33%)
09-10: 7/11 (64%)
10-11: 2/5 (40%)
Total: 21/64 (33%)
So there are the results. Based on the stats, in the last 8 seasons, Kobe is shooting 33% on “last second shots”, whereas Lebron is shooting a lower 22%.
Some things to note before people start going crazy. I am a human who might make mistakes. I tried to look over things multiple times, but things happen. I do have a log of which games I got my stats from should anyone request if you want to look at play by plays yourself. These stats only go back to 03-04, which is unfair to Lebron for two reasons: 1. They span his entire career, and you wouldn’t expect a rookie to be the most clutch man on earth, and 2. They only span half of Kobe’s career, and we know that Kobe didn’t start off as a legend playing 40 minutes a game, known for his late game heroics.
Remember that these stats try to narrow down last second shots to tie or win the game. That is what this definition of clutch means. It does not prove anything unless you use this definition. Clutch can be assists or rebounds as well. Clutch can be making a shot when already up 2 points to seal a game. Clutch can be the entire 4th quarter, making shot after shot to go up 10 and demoralize the opposition.
But at least under this definition of clutch, during Lebron’s entire career… Kobe > Lebron in the clutch… enjoy.
Kobe answers who is better, Kobe or Messi?
A constant question asked of all the great NBA players, no matter how much they seem to score or win, is… “But does he make his teammates better?”
NBA.com recently released its “StatsCube” which I find amazing. It opens up so many doors in the world of stats. Since I’m a Lakers fan and all obviously, and Kobe is our star/elite/HoFer/legend/leader, I decided to look up if Kobe Bryant makes his teammates better, or worse, in one particular way.
The StatsCube shows stats from the 2010-11 season, per 36 minutes. It doesn’t show PER and I honestly have no clue how to calculate it (looking at the formula just scrambles my brain), so I avoided that. I did not look at rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, turnovers, or any of that (mostly because I didn’t want to). What I did look up though (something that is definitely relevant to how Kobe affects the team), is each of the Lakers’ FG%, and their “points per points possible” with Kobe on and off the court (per 36 minutes). I’ll clear this up in a second.
I looked at the stats for 9 Lakers players from the regular season… sorted by mpg they are: Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum, Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Shannon Brown, and Luke Walton. All of these guys played a minimum of 50 games this season.
I figured simply looking at something like points would not show much, as some players (Bynum for example) will score a lot more without Kobe getting FGA next to him. What matters though is if he’s shooting a great percentage either way, and if he’s making the most of the chances he gets. This is where “points possible” comes in. It’s a very simple stat with a very simple formula (Hell, someone probably made/uses this with a better name but this is how I’m doing it). Points Possible = FTA + (2pt FGA * 2) + (3pt FGA * 3). Basically, if a player was to make every single shot he took, he would get that many points, hence “points possible”, or pp. It does not require knowing how many shots were actually made.
Now that we got that out of the way, lets get to the results. What do we find? Does Kobe help everyone? Does he hurt the team? Here we are, sorted by who benefits the most by playing alongside Kobe Bryant (net pt/pp), to the player who is most thrown off by playing with Kobe. Some of these results may surprise you.
Greatly helped by Kobe’s presence:
1. Ron Artest
FG% with/without Kobe - 41%/28% (Net: +13%)
Pt/pp with/without Kobe - 15.53/10.80 (Net: +4.73)
2. Shannon Brown
FG% with/without Kobe - 52%/40% (Net: +12%)
Pt/pp with/without Kobe - 18.80/15.30 (Net: +3.51)
3. Steve Blake
FG% with/without Kobe - 43%/34% (Net: +9%)
Pt/pp with/without Kobe - 16.21/12.86 (Net: +3.35)
4. Pau Gasol
FG% with/without Kobe - 55%/48% (Net: +7%)
Pt/pp with/without Kobe - 21.32/19.05 (Net: +2.27)
Play consistent with or without Kobe (within 1pt/pp):
5. Andrew Bynum
FG% with/without Kobe - 57%/58% (Net: -1%)
Pt/pp with/without Kobe - 21.32/21.43 (Net: -0.11)
6. Lamar Odom
FG% with/without Kobe - 54%/52% (Net: +2%)
Pt/pp with/without Kobe - 19.14/19.31 (Net: -0.17)
7. Luke Walton
FG% with/without Kobe - 33%/33% (Net: 0%)
Pt/pp with/without Kobe - 11.11/11.94 (Net: -0.83)
Hindered playing next to Kobe:
8. Matt Barnes
FG% with/without Kobe - 37%/50% (Net: -13%)
Pt/pp with/without Kobe - 13.83/18.50 (Net: -4.66)
9. Derek Fisher
FG% with/without Kobe - 38%/57% (Net: -19%)
Pt/pp with/without Kobe - 14.99/22.56 (Net: -7.57)
I don’t know about you… but that last one surprised me. Here’s a graph if you like it simple. Just shows the net change in Points per Point Possible with Kobe on/off the court.
Hope this was insightful.
This is a very valid theory I’ve been thinking of recently..
This year we’ve seen way too many games come down to the wire. Games where we have the lead and blow it, and it comes down to the last shot. Games where we see Kobe shoot 0-6 in the 4th, as the other team catches up, before making the game winning shot…
This got me thinking… what if Kobe is just biologically addicted to the suspense, to the clutch situations? What if he gets a rush of endorphins near the end of games, and he tries to get that feeling when he can? What if the regular season is so boring that he needs to practice clutch moments to get ready for the playoffs? Can’t really practice clutch in practice.
I’m not saying he misses shots on purpose or anything… but we’ve seen his shot selection in some 4th qtrs. What if he takes crazy shots to test himself because he’s bored, and figures if they miss, oh well I can get the game winner and it’s all good? Or, we’re up 2-1, might as well try some stuff this game and see what happens at the end… because it gives him that rush? If we lose then it”s only 2-2.
Of course he knows when not to play like that, when he needs to play for real all game so we don’t get knocked out of the playoffs or so we win it all.. He won’t be trying to get that high in game 5 of this series, or near the last few games of the Finals…
But just think about it. I know I’m on to something
Since the 2010-11 season just ended, decided to look up some of Kobe’s boxscore stats for the regular season and postseason - with and without Shaq. You can use these stats for whatever purposes you desire…
Career - Regular Season:
1103 games played, 36.4mpg
25.3ppg, 5.3rpg, 4.7apg
45.4%FG, 33.9%3pt, 83.7%FT
Career - Playoffs:
198 games played, 39.4mpg
25.5ppg, 5.2rpg, 4.8apg
44.8%FG, 33.7%3pt, 81.5%FT
Shaq-Era - Regular Season (Rookie - 03/04):
561 games played, 34.4mpg
21.8ppg, 5rpg, 4.3apg
45.4%FG, 33.1%3pt, 83.4%FT
Shaq-Era - Playoffs:
119 games played, 38.3mpg
22.6ppg, 4.8rpg, 4.4apg
43.4%FG, 32.3%3pt, 79.2%FT
Post-Shaq - Regular Season (04/05 - Present):
542 games played, 38.5mpg
28.9ppg, 5.6rpg, 5.1apg
45.5%FG, 34.3%3pt, 84%FT
Post-Shaq - Playoffs:
79 games played, 41.2mpg
29.8ppg, 5.7rpg, 5.4apg
46.7%FG, 35%3pt, 84.4%FT
So there it is. Compare how Kobe did with Shaq to Kobe after Shaq to Kobe’s career numbers. It’s apparent that he was able to flourish without Shaq, especially in the playoffs (he got worse in the Shaq-era in the playoffs, but he’s better after Shaq).
Shaq-Era championships: 3
Post-Shaq championships: 2
All he needs to do now is win the ring for us this year to fix that little problem up.
The rules are simple, just shave your beard when the regular season ends. After that, let your face be free and the beard grow wild until the Lakers are done with the playoffs.. which hopefully means completing the THREEPEAT.
Reblog this and let Lakers fans around the world know!
I’m sure you guys have seen the stat of this year’s Miami Heat: In the last 10 seconds of the 4th or overtime, with the Heat tied or down 1-3pts (one FG), the Heat are shooting 1-18 this season…
We’ve seen some numbers and blah blah come out showing how Kobe isn’t that clutch, or whatever with clutch being defined in various ways (last 5 minutes, last 2 minutes, each team up or down 5… etc).
I like the 10 second clutch stat (FGM-FGA in the last 10 seconds of the 4th or OT, with the player’s team tied or down 1-3) as a different look on things than we’ve had in the past because:
A. That means it’s basically last second shot time
B. It’s when your team is tied or down one shot.. which is much different and feels different than you getting a FGA with your team up 3. In this definition, if you miss, you lose or go into OT for sure basically.
I took it upon myself to go through ESPN play-by-plays of Lebron and Kobe (for obvious reasons) to see what the stats show under this definition of clutch. Since I started doing this at 4am, I only got a few seasons done, but I’ll post anyways and hope to continue my research tomorrow.
So here you have it, Lebron and Kobe’s “Last 10sec” Clutch stats for 08-09 (Lebron’s first MVP) til present.
08-09: 1-4 (25%)
09-10: 1-8 (12.5%)
10-11: 1-8 (12.5%)
Total (through last 3 seasons): 3-20 (15%)
08-09: 2-6 (33.3%)
09-10: 7-11 (63.6%)
10-11: 1-3 (33.3%)
Total (through last 3 seasons): 10-20 (50%)
Funny enough, they have the same exact amount of attempts. Not the same amount of makes though.
The post by bball-ref is a lot better. The SB Nation post has a lot of bias in it since the author is a Kings fan and Lakers hater. He basically talks the whole time about Kobe being the biggest Black Hole in the league, ending his post with “If any guard in the NBA is a black hole, it’s Kobe”… why wasn’t the post about Wade when his usage is nearly just as high as Kobe and he assists (per shot attempt) even less (meaning he’s a bigger black hole, based on Ziller’s own data)? Also, the bball-ref post lists all players in the league by position (30+mpg), and also uses pass% instead of assists.