Kobe Effect
Clutch? Or just the Kobe Effect?

The Kobe Effect (ko-bee eff-ekt) noun. The state that arises when a player creates the popular notion that he is clutch by taking so many late-game shots that he inevitably hits enough to create this impression, even when it is not true.

Usage example: People think Jamal Crawford is clutch because a lot of his late game field goals made SportsCenter, but that's just The Kobe Effect happening; Crawford is actually a terrible late-game shooter.

Word history: The word was coined on the Be The Three blog in a post titled Pop Quiz: Down Three With 12 Seconds Left, What Do You Do? Also: Introducing The Kobe Effect. The Kobe Effect is said to have the strongest influence on radio talk show hosts and lazy sports columnists.

This effect could easily be named after Chauncey Billups or Jamal Crawford, but Kobe Bryant is the true progenitor of sort-of-false clutchness. Has Kobe made his share of big shots? Absolutely. He even made a game-winning three last week against Houston. He's convinced some league observers (often the most annoyingly passionate fans you'll meet) that he's the greatest clutch shooter since MJ. But is he really? Or does he hog all the late-game shots for the Lakers, thereby guaranteeing he becomes known as "clutch," even if he shoots a lower percentage -- and turns the ball over more -- with the game on the line?

Last year, Kobe ranked second (behind LeBron) in clutch scoring, pouring in 51.8 points per 48 minutes, according to 82games. But he was jacking up 33.6 shots per 48 minutes, third most in the league (again behind LeBron and, absurdly, Jamaal Tinsley). His "clutch" field goal percentage was 44.8 percent--right around his career average. That's pretty solid--especially considering the degree of difficulty on those shots is higher than in the normal course of play.

But here are Kobe's "clutch" shooting percentages from the last five seasons going backwards: 44.8, 43.6, 36.4, 32.4, 39.6.

That's not great. But let's narrow the sample size and look at the clutchiest of clutch shots--potentially game-winning shots in the last 30 seconds. How does Kobe do there? From 2003 through 2006, Kobe made seven such shots -- tied for ninth most in the league. But he fired up 32 shots, the highest total among all players. That adds up to a shooting percentage of 21.9 percent, well below the league average of 29 percent. Kobe also had zero assists in game-winning situations during that span.

Other supposedly clutch shooters on this list: Chauncey Billups, Mr. Big Shot, hit 5 of 26 shots (19 percent), and Jamal Crawford, who made so many last-second shots even the New York Times fell for it and labeled him clutch, went 6-for-19 (31 percent).

It's not that Kobe's a bad clutch shooter. Last year, Kobe shot 46.7 percent in "super clutch" situations, which 82games defines as less than two minutes in the fourth or OT, score within three points. That's impressive, especially since he did so while firing nearly 35 shots per 48 minutes, the fourth-highest rate in the league. But he had the third-worst turnover rate in the entire NBA (more than nine per 48 minutes) in such situations. (Just for fun: Guess who took even more shots per minute than Kobe in "super clutch" situations? Jamal Crawford--and he made a whopping 19 percent of them.)

Oh -- and there's always that infamous Game 7 against Phoenix in 2006, when Mr. Clutch decided not to shoot in the second half in order to show the world that his teammates stunk. Now that's clutch.

Conclusion: Kobe's clutch shooting percentage is significantly lower than his overall shooting percentage, but people believe he's the greatest clutch shooter since MJ because of The Kobe Effect.

Other benefactors of the Kobe Effect: Chauncey Billups, Jamal Crawford, Joe Johnson, who takes almost every big shot down the stretch for the Hawks but is making just 33 percent of them this year after sinking only 29.7 percent of clutch shots last season. But the aura ofThe Kobe Effect surrounds him thanks to a handful of clutch shots he made against Boston in the playoffs last season.

The Truly Clutch: Manu Ginobli, LeBron James.

About the author: Zach Lowe covers law and business for a magazine in New York and recently started the NBA and Celtics-themed blog Be The Three. He is a lifelong Celtics fan and is not scared when Kobe Bryant has the ball late in games. He is, however, terrified of Joe Johnson no matter what the numbers say.

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61 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...
My guess is if the referees called each & every travel of Lebron James late in the game he wouldn't be that clutch, just ask the Wizards...

Blogger Junior said...
i'm especting a great discussion on this comment page and i will post the link to this post in a forum that i participate, let's watch the reaction of the kobe-lovers

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wait. Why Lebron and Manu? We need some information on where that came from.

An what about Robert "Big Shot Bob" Horry? Are there any stats on his clutchness, or is he a beneficiary of the Kobe Effect?

-Mac

Anonymous ROFLcopters said...
Hey so basically you wrote an entire article about a chart that someone else made. And YOU rip on lazy sports columnists? Embarrassing

Blogger chris said...
Hey, Bawful, in order to really quantify the KBE, we need to measure how many Kobe Bryant Assists he takes in clutch situations. :D

Anonymous undcvrsm said...
If 82 games.com is right, then Vinsane and Dirk Nowitzki are both clutcher than Kobe......and Steve Francis was the 4th clutchest player during that stretch!

would much rather have kobe deciding the end of a game over ginobili or james. he can do a little bit of everything thus no situation is foreign to him.

thank you for this

I always thought Kobe was clutch. Same for Billups. I guess it's time for me to watch less highlights and look more carefully to the insightful numbers, researches, and this site

In Italy we say "Only idiots never change idea", lol

Anonymous Axel Foley said...
that is very true. i value a good old fashioned dagger way more than just two at the rim its more difficult and its straight up more dramatic and if a player can get a good amount of those in thats when the kobe effect takes place i think. Just long jumpshots in the face of the D is what gets teams afraid. kobe shouldnt do that tho cause hes obviously not that good

Blogger Zach Lowe said...
@ROFL: Yup, I depended on 82games for most of my data, and I don't see anything wrong with that. It actually takes a while to go through all that stuff. Reference to lazy columnists was to people who don't look at the info that's out there.

@ ANON: Manu and LeBron do well in the clutch, according to the data we've got. Didn't want to overload on numbers in the post, though.

Blogger IrvinT said...
I signed up at the website just to comment on this BS article. What a load of crap from a Celtics fan who feels on top of the world cuz their team won a title.

Just look at the last five games and all the clutch shots Kobe hit vs Houston, SA, Orlando, & Cleveland in the 4th Q. Only the Orlando game he was off, and the Cleveland game he hit shot after shot with a dislocated finger.

this is typical Kobe-bashing. Grow up. Even Bill Simmons has moved on from this.

Blogger Drake said...
There are two ideas of what it means to be 'clutch' in my book.

The first definition is:

having the confidence to go out and actually 'clutch' the situation at hand, and having the balls to be the one who decides the game.

The key word her is 'decide', because the player has to make a good decision at the end of the game. Does he choose to shoot a low-percentage shot over three defenders, or does he choose to pass out to an open man either out in the perimeter or under the basket for a much higher-percentage shot?

The second, more 'commonplace' definition is:

the 'clutch' player must always isolate his defender and shoot the last shot, no matter how many defenders are on him. It's because he's known as being 'clutch'

Kobe wavers between the two, but I feel he always wants to be the more 'commonplace clutch' because that's what everybody keeps saying he's the absolute best at, and because his idol MJ was supposedly the best at doing that.

Jamal Crawford, on the other hand, is exclusively 'commonplace clutch' - he shoot without conscience as the 'clutch' player. Too bad he clunks more than he makes.

Ginobili is simply amazing in these situations - the man has ice-water in his veins. Not only that - he's super creative in these last second situations. Kobe would be inclined to shoot a three, a fadeaway jumper, or drive just to shoot a fadeaway jumper. But Manu reads the situation and will either shoot the three, drive in and find the holes to shoot an relatively open floater or layup over his defender. Simply astounding! And check out his 'clutch' stats!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Mac -- According to this, Horry is a beneficiary of the Kobe Effect. http://www.slate.com/id/2121018/

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
This is incredible Kobe lovers trolling material, as shown already by IrvinT's response.

Anyways, I would have preferred Chauncey Billups, since he inexplicably has the Kobe Effect nickname, "Mr. Big Shot". Looking at the actual numbers though, his shot attempts are low (with generally sub-.400 shooting) so whatever.

Blogger TGkyuubi said...
sounds like someone's been drinking the Haterade

Blogger Victor said...
ROFLcopter: Unsuccessful troll is unsuccessful.

On the topic of clutch, I'll define it as a player who "rises to the occasion" and plays above his normal level during late and close situations. So Kobe, a career 45% or so shooter, shooting 45% in clutch situations is not clutch. But a 40% shooter shooting 45% is clutch.

And basically, if you look at the sum of the stats, you'll see that clutch does not exist. Some players will show up higher in clutch situations (like Manu shooting 57% or something), but it's pretty much due to small sample size and statistical variation, which is why you'll see some guys perform lower than expected. Clutch is a mental thing and athletes are trained and highly coordinated with muscle memory so it's pretty difficult to wilt under pressure when you're relying on reflexes and muscle memory and not your brain.

This is pretty much applicable to any sport. Baseball, football, etc. It's just a fun label that everyone likes to slap on to add drama, but, really it doesn't exist under that definition. Confirmation bias, however, exists heavily. Forget the 5 times he misses the shot, remember the 2 times he makes the shot. Yep. Anyway, the best "clutch" players are the best players period and it really doesn't exist outside of confirmation bias.

As for an alternate definition of clutch, you could define it as simply being successful in late and close situations. For example, game winning shots are clutch, but I wouldn't label a player as clutch (from the first definition).

Blogger Andrei said...
Does the site have Jordan's numbers? I'm going to guess that his shooting percentage is not that much better. I suppose he at least passed to team mates such as John Paxon and Steve Kerr for some Finals game winners. Nonetheless, I still blame Jordan for how all close games are decided now. Sure, we spent all game playing good offense and running plays, now that we're involved in the most important play of the game, lets throw the ball to one player and hope he does something good. That's how we end up watching players like Joe Johnson and Chauncy Billups re-enact their be-like-Mike fantasies en route to bricking fade-aways.

Blogger James said...
Well the seasons post-Shaq...Kobe was forcing up a lot of shots late in games, but he was double/triple teamed...should he have passed?

well to who? Luke Walton? Smush Parker? Kwame Brown? Lamar Odom?

He took that starting lineup to the playoffs and I would rather have him taking contested shot at the end of the game then one of those scrubs.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I'm not going to disagree with the overall idea of "The Kobe Effect", but I did want to take umbrage with yet another invocation of the notorious "Game 7 against Phoenix in 2006", because IMO that is one of the most overused incorrect examples of Kobe hating that there is. First off, I've never understood exactly what people are trying to illustrate by repeatedly pointing to that game. Is the claim that Kobe intentionally sabotaged the game? If so, what would be his motivation in doing so? Are the detractors implying Kobe decided to say, in effect "if I play poorly my team will lose, hence I'm the team's MVP" or something? I've always felt people were really reaching for why they bring up this game as some example of Kobe attempting to make some weird statement, simply because I can't fathom what statement he could have been trying to make.

That aside, look at that whole series and tell me if you think Kobe was just trying to throw the game. In Game 1 the Lakers barely lost 107-102 and Kobe was the Lakers' high scorer with only 22 (keep in mind this was the season he averaged over 35 ppg). In Game 2 Kobe was again the Lakers' high scorer with 29 and the Lakers won 99-93, stealing home court advantage. In the next two games Kobe only scored 17 and 24 (and that was in a game that went to OT) and the Lakers won both games, despite Smush Parker being the Lakers' high scorer in Game 3 and Lamar Odom being the Lakers' high scorer in Game 4. Game 4 was the game that featured some of Kobe's most famous clutch heroics, hitting the game tying shot to send it to OT and the game winning shot in OT at the buzzer. In Game 5 (the famous Raja Bell clothesline game), Kobe again led the Lakers in scoring with 29 in a rather one-sided Phoenix win, 114-97; and then in Game 6 Kobe recorded what is still his playoff career high with 50 points in a game the Lakers narrowly lost in OT when Tim Thomas hit a 3 after Phoenix got an offensive rebound, which had they not secured that rebound, they would have been eliminated.

OK, so there was the setup going into Game 7 in which the Lakers were the number 7 seed going against Phoenix, the number 2 seed, at home. It would appear the Lakers had had the most success in the series when Kobe actually shot less (see Games 2-4), and that even a 50 point effort from Kobe at home wasn't enough to get LA a win. There was no question Phoenix was a much more talented team (LA started Kobe, Smush Parker, Kwame Brown, Luke Walton and Lamar Odom), and this was evidenced by the fact that during the previous two regular seasons LA had lost every matchup with the Suns.

In any event, in Game 7 Kobe came out firing, and on fire, hitting 8-11 shots in the first half for 23 points. Unfortunately for him and his Lakers, it didn't seem to matter because Phoenix held a 15 point halftime lead. Probably because of this deficit and the Lakers' earlier success with Kobe being more of a distributor than a scorer (rather than some bizarre statement to his team that he was the team's best player), Kobe came out in the 2nd half looking to get other players involved. That didn't work either because by this point the Suns were rolling, and the 15 point deficit quickly became 21 points after only about 3 minutes into the 2nd half, and it hovered around a 20 point spread for the rest of the 3rd quarter, till Phoenix pushed it closer to 30 in the 4th quarter.

That's what people forget: the game was a blowout, and it was a blowout for the last 20 minutes of the game. Some people say Kobe should have single-handedly carried the Lakers past that deficit, but Kobe had a great 1st half and scored very efficiently and it didn't make any difference. Kobe actually did take shots in the 2nd half, he just didn't hit them. Kobe didn't play the final 5 minutes of the game, because by then it was a 28 point Suns lead and it was clear it was over, but Kobe did finish with more field goal attempts than anyone else in the game for either team, and was only outscored by Leandro Barbosa, who had 26 points to Kobe's 24.

There are plenty of games throughout Kobe's career to point to as examples of him coming up short, or playing really incredibly stupid basketball, but I've never thought this game was one of them. This was just a case of his team being vastly overmatched, and the fact that the Lakers were even in a 7th game against that Phoenix team to me said a lot about Phil Jackson's prowess as a coach more than anything. In that series Phil used Kwame Brown, of all people, as the main weapon to attack Phoenix's one real weakness: no post presence. He mainly had Kobe act as a decoy and a distributor and the Lakers almost pulled off one of the all time greatest upsets in playoff history with that series. But people hold Kobe up to some unattainably high standard, claiming Jordan alone would have been able to beat a far better team, so clearly Kobe sucks (never mind that Jordan didn't get out of the first round the first couple times he was in the playoffs, mainly due to the fact that it really was Jordan and some scrubs against vastly superior teams).

But back to the people who think Kobe was intentionally sabotaging that Game 7 to make a statement, I ask again, what statement was he trying to make? If Kobe wanted to emphasize that his teammates stunk and he was the team's MVP, why would he have tried so hard earlier in the series to get them involved? If he wanted the Lakers to lose, why did he have such a great clutch performance at the end of Game 4? Why did he have his career playoff high of 50 points in Game 6? Was Kobe trying to really emphasize that his teammates stunk the following year when they lost again to Phoenix, this time 4 games to 1? If so, then why did he famously go to the airwaves demanding a trade to anyone with a microphone? This is why all the hype surrounding that Game 7 in 2006 rings hollow for me, because it just doesn't make sense and doesn't jibe with Kobe's other actions before and since. Usually in a 7 game series the better team wins, and that's clearly what happened in that series.

So there you go, just trying to set the record straight for people who clearly don't remember that game or are too lazy to look up what really happened.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
How about Arenas? That man drains a lot of game winners. I wonder what his %, TO, and assists are like.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
@Yams-

Thanks for that re-cap of what was one of the most entertaining playoff series ever. Seriously, I enjoyed reading that. I remember Tim Thomas' 3 like it was yesterday (smiling and staring off into the distance...) Ah the memories.

Too bad PHX didn't have Amare that year... who knows what could have been?

Blogger stephanie g said...
More like the Jerry West effect. Or the Reggie Miller effect. But the essential point is correct.

As for Kobe, let's compare his numbers to Jordan. Oh wait, there are no numbers for Jordan because he played before online statistical tracking sites existed and no one is ever going to bother to go back in time and watch every game from Jordan's career while tabulating this stuff. How convenient.

Wild Yams: For a variety of really dumb reasons Kobe is compared to Jordan. If Kobe can't average 40 ppg against the "we don't play defense" Suns AND get his team mates involved then he's not as good as Jordan. Which means he sucks.

This same sort of logic might apply to other players like Dirk, Nash, Paul, Wade, Vince Carter, or whoever if masses of people believed they were > Jordan, but they don't, so it doesn't. You don't have tons of detailed arguments about how Dirk falls well short in comparison to Bird because no one is arguing otherwise.

In a way, I almost (not really) feel sorry for Kobe because he's held under impossible standards.

On the other hand, I like seeing the media superstars fail. I like seeing teams win. I like seeing Kobe and LeBron flame out. So please excuse my laughing every time it happens.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
If Phoenix had had Amare that year, that series definitely wouldn't have been anywhere near that exciting, that's for sure. Phoenix had far, far more talent than the Lakers even without him. Actually, Phoenix probably would have been the #1 seed that year rather than the #2 seed if they'd had Amare for the year. I wonder if Boris Diaw would have become if not for Amare's absence that year.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams (and everybody else) -- A better question, I think, is what kind of team Phoenix would have been that season had Amare stayed healthy and the team had managed to hang onto Joe Johnson and Q Richardson. I mean, that team was fantastic after one season within the Nash/D'Antoni season. If they'd managed to stay together, with that talent...

Anonymous dagwaller said...
Interesting. I've been supporting this viewpoint for years without any facts, so I'm glad that someone finally took the time to do it. I wonder who the anti-Kobes are? The guys who get a lot of crap for being "chokers", but are actually very good in the clutch? Dirk Nowitzki immediately comes to mind.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Victor: Uhm, I don't know what list you're looking at, if any at all, but here's some small sample size and variation for ya (which by the way is a completely stupid arguement, by definition the clutch time is only a small portion of the game's scoring with strong variation, so showing consistency then seems pretty clutch).

Scanning the top of the 08-09 clutch list:
Carmelo Anthony: 43.7% to 63% clutch (56.5 pts/48, 50 min)
Chris Paul: 49.9% to 52.5% (52.7 pts/48, 63 min)
Paul Pierce: 44.2% to 50.0% (41.4 pts/48, 86 min)
Tony Parker: 49.8% to 56.5% (39.2 pts/48, 104 min)
even Vince Carter: 44.3% to 50.0% (39.0 pts/48, 100 min)

Just from the top 11.

Andrei: No Jordan #'s, 82games only has data back to 02 ish, and sortable clutch stats back to 06. But individual clutch pages go back to 02.

Anon: Gilbert Arenas, 06-07 clutch lol.

Bawful: Q needed to go. He killed us with his inconsistency. The Joe Johnson loss was also a huge fluke, after the face accident and a penny-pinching front office. As were some other SSOL fluke incidents I'd rather not salt the wound. Boris Diaw, if Amare would have been around, may never have jumped the plateau to be known as the only GFC triple-double potential. And maybe it would have been better that way. /bitterness.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
dagwaller: No. Not Dirk. Unless you like 36.4% shooting and 33.3% 3's in 84 minutes (compared to 47.4%/38.0%). And not any Suns player this year too, all are very low on the pts/48 list. ::sadface::

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Agreed. That was one of the best collections of talent on one team in the last 20 years. Steve Nash has actually been on a couple teams that were just absurdly talented. In Nash's last season in Dallas he shared roster spots with Dirk, Josh Howard, Antawn Jamison and Michael Finley, but that team only managed to win one playoff game that year!

It's weird that Joe Johnson and then Shawn Marion wanted out of such a loaded team, but maybe that's the problem with putting together such a Playstation-esque roster in the NBA: there's too many egos and guys who want to be recognized for their individual greatness that they just can't make it all work. The Portland Trailblazers in 1999-2000 and then 2000-2001 are another example of these kinds of teams, just overflowing with talent who couldn't make it work well enough to win a title.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
Re: Suns

The 05, 06, and 07 Suns were awesome teams, but as much as I hate to say it: they just weren't going to beat San Antonio, no matter who they had.

A healthy Manu Ginobili when he was still dunking on centers in traffic and flopping all over the court, Tim Duncan at his peak, Toilet Paper, I mean Tony Parker, all the role players (Udrih was permanently on their BENCH for chrissakes)... SA was just too stacked. Dallas got lucky against them once when Manu fouled Dirk, but really... San Antonio was too good. And boy did I hate them! Die TD, die!

Still, thinking about what could have been with Nash, Amare, Marion, Q, Joe Johnson, Barbosa, et. al. is fun.

Blogger Cortez said...
#1 I'll take Kobe Bryant in "the clutch" moments over any of these other bums taking the shot 7 days week and twice on Sundays.

#2 "Statistics are for losers." ~Mike Ditka

I shot 1.78% better than you, therefore I'm a better shooter!

Right.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
More posts like Cortez's please, I need more humor on a slow Friday.

Lets shoot 10,000 free throws and if I make 8500 and you make 8678, then fuck statistics lets just decide the better shooter (which is me, obviously) someway else because statistics are for losers. In fact, lets just remove all math and numbers from sports cause those are for losers as well. Who needs a final score? Let's decide winners based on their "not bum"-ness.

/feedingtrolls

I say out of the 05-07 teams, only in 05 were the Suns simply outplayed by SA. There's still too many unanswered questions about shaky officiating, a completely fluke Tim Duncan 3, and crappy enforcement of the rules in the 06 and 07 runs. By 08, Phx was tired and beat and sick of the bullshit (wtf Shaq trade), so they just surrendered to SA.

On the bright side, no city seems to boo harder at poor officiating than Phoenix right now. The Eagles-Cards game, on the ball bouncing inbounds and non-reviewable, the D'Backs double called back as a double play, etc.

Anonymous Arlen said...
wow, love posts like this!

First, I guess not everyone noticed it said 'by Basketbawful' but its tagged as GUEST AUTHOR and referenced 'be the three' more than once, so FLAMEFAIL

Is shooting the only thing important in clutch? Unfortunately, lots of the little things aren't stat'd correctly, but Kobe doesn't often isn't seen (by me, the only important person) doing the little things, but yes you could say its because the team wants/needs him to take the shot in traffic because passing it off to radmonovic could result in an airball. But Gididobli and Wade (not mentioned yet?) often seem to do such little things, both offense and defense. Yes, I'd still like Kobe on my team if we really needed a shot off, but all the arguing which is sure to be on here is besides the point: Its not all about kobe, its about the 'omgz CLUTCH kobe CLUTCH bryant CLUTCH is CLUTCH really CLUTCH good!' remarks, as if people have hiccups just because of some select games. I personally think JamCrawford should get the naming rights, since he brings little else to the table yet seems to plan the night ahead on how he's going to find a way to get the score close (whether it be hitting 10 straight or missing 10 straight) so he can go for the sportscenter clip.

About the 7th game re: YAMS, well... honestly? I'm not sure how many people didn't wonder what was going on while watching the game live. Its not about a bunch of Blogzers hyping up some truisms, its something that a lot of people thought individually before even discussing it amongst each other. Yes, we don't know what happened during halftime break, but just because you don't understand what kobe could have been thinking, how does that help? I think the issue lots of us have with kobe is we dont know what he is thinking! We respect the skillz, respect the time spent on the game, but he really does seem like someone who will have a clip show up of him stealing a breadloaf from some old lady. Probably coach did put in some sort of plan of using him as a decoy which we cant blame him for, and in the 4th the game was out of hand, but at halftime in no way, despite the point difference, did it seem like the L's were out of it. And when they could have made Huge History (forever set in stone) it seemed like he instead just let it go. Its the NBA! Where miracles happen! a 15-20pt lead can slip to nothing so easily, especially when a team plays fast pace with no interior players. And if he wasn't shooting, he should have been doing more - I haven't watched the game recently, but lordly its not like he turned into Nash (the almighty lord) instead of jacking up shots. If he did, there'd be no argument.

And about Nash's teams {here comes the Nash Defence (tm)} I think a big problem was every year there was something new to do. Those dallas teams 'were loaded with talent' but thats exactly the problem - they were NBA 2k1 teams playing in real life 2003, etc. One player on the Knicks a couple years ago said "I dunno whats wrong, our team does well in nba live..." which is exactly how those dallas teams were. Sure its easy to make fun of now, but Antoine Walker, Van Exel, etc? Every year they added new borderline allstars with questionable psyches into the mix. After nash left they finally settled down on a group of players, and only then did they seem to gel.
In PHX, well the story is too well known - but their first roster was definitely the best but Johnson back then was still an up-n-comer' and q-rich was hardly worthwhile outside of PHX. Every year there was something going on with their roster, while teams like SA simply were trying to find a center for themselves. I have lots of respect for SA, and they certainly owned PHX, but teams nash were on (as well as most other teams in NBA) make the mistake of messing things around too much. Sure, injuries happen but do you really need Jamison on your bench to give you some soft points with no D?

Anyways... woo! Kobe yeah

Anonymous Arlen said...
If I come out as a total schmooze for Nash, its on purpose ;) I have to schmooze on someone! Popeye Jones is no longer newsworthy and I used to defend his teams to the death

Blogger chris said...
Here's 'bawful's epic view of that Game 7 in 2006, for comparison to today's post:

http://basketbawful.blogspot.com/2006/05/pat-burke-delivers-human-victory-shot.html

Blogger lordhenry said...
I think Yams makes a good point as usual. Also, if the argument is that Kobe is not "clutch" and sucks at the end of games, why would the writer then point to the fact that he shot hardly at all in the second half of that suns game? If your point is that Kobe has no business shooting in late game situations, why point out that he "let his team down" by not shooting? So let me get this straight: he sucks in the clutch, but he lets his team down when he's not shooting in the clutch? Slightly confused.

Lord Mamba says: "I'll show you "clutch" 'bawful, let me put you in my patented "Kobe Clutch" your skinny a$$ will tap out in moments!"

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Arlen, I guess my point about that 7th game in a nutshell was this: if people think that all the Lakers needed from Kobe was for him to take more shots in the 2nd half and they would have won, well the reality is that in the 2nd half the Lakers were outscored by 16 points with Kobe scoring only one, while they were outscored by 15 points in the first half with Kobe scoring 23. In other words, they got hammered both ways, whether Kobe was on pace to score almost 50, or less than 5.

The Suns were just a vastly superior team in that series, and Phil Jackson used a gimmick (described above) to almost pull out one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. But the gimmick (Kwame) became less effective as the series went on, and in the end Kobe by himself was no more equipped to single-handedly beat the Suns than he had been during the regular season (when LA was 0-4 against Phoenix).

Methinks some people just set the bar too high sometimes.

Anonymous ROFLcopters said...
Hahaha "statistics are for losers". Ditka rules.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@AnacondaHL- careful, dude. I've heard Cortez has a vertical of like 65", can dunk boulders into valleys, and wipe his ass with mountain lions.

Anonymous What? said...
Kobe's recent high assists are scary. Has the coach told him to treat teammates like hoops? If so, I want to see him dunk on Walton's head.

Blogger Falconbeach said...
I'm disappointed Basketbawful let a guest author write and show his blatant bias while creating a "word of the day". I'm neither a fan of the Celtics nor the Lakers, but I can still see the way this article was written, poorly.

Anonymous Karma said...
Yes, the dude who hit his first game winner 6 years after being the main player on his team and is known to bite his fingernails in clutch situations (Lebron for anyone who's not sure) is a "true" clutch player, while a player who essentially led the way in clutch situations for the 2000-2002 championship Lakers team is not truly "clutch". Get the f**k out of here with that sh*t. When Shaq was on the bench during situations of clutch, it was the guy who's "not truly clutch" that was carrying the Lakers.


You can talk stats all you want, but when you're watching a Lakers game with the Lakers needing a score, you KNOW who's going to get the ball and you're scared he's going to make it. You can point to all the stats you want, but I'm sure the countless numbers of players, coaches and GM who fear Kobe in the clutch would beg to differ. It's easy to go through countless numbers of bullshit stats and somehow try to justify your hate for Kobe Bryant by trying to take away something he has earned the label of being, but please, our eyes don't lie.

I won't say Kobe is more clutch than MJ - he's not, IMO; that's only said by the idiotic section of Lakers fans - but to deny that Kobe is not more feared in clutch situations than your man LeGlobal is downright ludacris.

Anonymous Arlen said...
WildYams,
I understand what you're saying, and its not that I disagree so much as I'm trying to say that despite stats and post-play analysis, during the game live I think many many people had a bit 'wtf is kobe doing?' moment. It wasn't a post-game frenzy started by random people looking to bash him.
So, no matter what the stats (stats suck! except for when they can be used to bash kobe) it just seemed like kobe was running from 3 point line to 3 point line, back and forth, and just passing away the ball uselessly anytime he got it.

Anyways, thats my memory - and I don't want to replace it with anything else, even if its more accurate ;) But thats the point, thats what I remember after watching the game live, without looking at stats or hearing what anyone else had to think about it.

I do remember that going into game 1 I was so sure that LA had a chance of sweeping phoenix. I was really not looking forward to that series, and they showed why

Blogger Fundefined said...
unfortunately clutch isn't necessarily defined by time. Clutch is about flow and pace of the game. Usually it is at the end but really it's about producing when your team needs it. It's about confidence and will.

Also franking Lebron's clutch stats are overrated, refs almost never call travel on him in crunch time. That's part of the reason why the crab dribble call was so newsworthy. Take away his five step drive near the end of game please. Sorry, I'm a bitter Wizards fan.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Arlen, no offense but you're insane or your memory is god awful. Going into that 2006 1st round series between LA and Phoenix you were "so sure LA had a chance of sweeping Phoenix"? Are you crazy? Prior to that series LA had only beaten Phoenix one time since Shaq had been traded, and that one LA victory came when Nash, Bell and Stoudemire were all out (they lost the other 7 matchups over those two seasons). LA was heavy, heavy underdogs heading into that series, and when they were up three games to one the basketball world was pretty much stunned. Like you say, all you have is your memory, but unfortunately your memory is clearly quite poor.

Some people may have been watching that Game 7 and focused in on Kobe in the second half and wondered what he was doing, but IMO the only people who did were people who were really looking to just enjoy seeing him get whipped. Would you watch any other superstar that closely in a game in which his team was down between 20 and 30 and wonder what he alone was doing? People didn't look at Game 6 of last year's Finals and wonder why Kobe wasn't doing more, and instead were saying "man, the Celtics are a much, much better team." As I said above, anyone out there who was thinking that Kobe by himself should have taken the Lakers on his back and single-handedly brought them back from being down by more than 25 on the road to that Phoenix team is just holding him to a totally unrealistic standard. No one player is that good, not Jordan, not Wilt. Nobody. Kobe single-handedly took the Lakers on his back in Game 6 with 50 points and LA lost anyway, and he took them on his back in the first half of Game 7 with 23 points and LA was still down 15 at that point. Phoenix just had a much better team. Period.

I'll say it again: that game is a horrible example if you want to make the argument that Kobe is not clutch. It's impossible to be clutch in a game that is decided by 30 points.

Blogger Cortez said...
"I've heard Cortez has a vertical of like 65", can dunk boulders into valleys, and wipe his ass with mountain lions."

67", get it right.

...plus I tame the lions and walk them in the park to pick up babes...with nice racks!

"Let's decide winners based on their "not bum"-ness."

That's excellent the way you take an, out of context, example of shooting free throws in an isolated environment then make a idiotic comparison to what I said when the obvious point was people tend to make to big of a deal about minor statistical "facts".

According to the stats, and your silly ass example, Hubert Davis is a better 3pt shooter than Reggie Miller, Ray Allen and Larry Bird (yikes!).

Fuck, so is Dana Barros!

Kudos to you and the infallible world of statistical analysis for morons.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Who needs a final score? Let's decide winners based on their not bum-ness."

And besides, nitwit, the point of the "statistics are for losers" comment (which was originally an intentional overstatement to illustrate a larger point) was that the only stat that counts ultimately is whether or not you actually WON THE GAME thereby rendering your asinine comment even more meaningless.

Kapono > Larry Bird from the 3 pt line.

...according to the stats!

Anonymous Arlen said...
What do regular season matchup stats and have to do with a feeling going into a playoff series? I didn't care that PHX was the better team, it was a feeling I had that LA was going to do well against them, especially because it would piss me off. Doesn't matter if 'everyone' was surprised but I certainly wasn't - so it has nothing to do with memory, but with my gut feeling, which is/was always correct! LA is like SA - no matter the regular season as long as they have their coach and their star(s) they aren't a team you want to play against in the playoffs. Just because the general media is stupid enough to write off SA every year when they start off slow, only to write 'oh look SA is back!' at the closing of the year, doesn't mean we all are. (I'm not talking about the recent SA/LA game, though, that was just a butt whippin, but doesnt mean SA is done for good as might be written)

This is all still besides the point - the 'kobe effect' is when a player is hyped up when they don't deserve it. Kobe=clutch, lebron=choke - that's how its often presented.
Does kobe get the short end sometimes? Sure, quite often! For example if Bron does something Jordenesque (like a fist pump) people would say 'awww, Jordan was his idol and he is doing the fist pump, how cute'. If kobe does something like the fistpump, people say 'geez kobe is just a ripoff, he will never be like jordan'

I still think the game 7 is a fine example of anti-Kobe, although it was bawful not me who said it was a case of clutchlessness, so I can see the point that its not clutch when the team is quite down. And other superstars are definitely knocked when they do something similar. But kobe is meant to be the best, so he'd get the best knockin' when something happens. A guy like tmac we might just say 'yep! thats him alright!' - so really, its a sign of respect. Perhaps.. even.. love?! oh god no!

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Wow, I was quoted twice in a row! This deserves more feeding of the troll.

How was my example out of context? Did you not even notice I was using the 1.78% random number that was provided by you to make fun of you? In addition, you didn't render my comment meaningless, you solidified it. If the ultimate stat that counts is whether to win the game, then choosing by "not-bumness" is exactly a way to do that, as it would become the only stat that counts, just like you wrote.

Kapono has made a career 336 3pts at a 45.1% clip (in 365 games). Bird has 649 3pts at 37.6% (in 870 games). So if Kapono keeps his pace, then yes, he will be a strictly better 3pt shooter than Larry Bird. What's the problem here? That's what that kid can do. Larry Bird was a great player in a different way, as his games and numbers can show otherwise.

And the world of statistics is definately not infallible, since even though numbers have limitations and bias, the simplest of analysis can be done incorrectly by morons. But by all means, keep on trying. Maybe you should define the word "better" a little clearer, so as to not confuse your statistically confusable brain: did you mean "better percentage" or "higher total" or "better overall usage"? Define your scope.

Looking up this Hubert Davis guy, since I had no idea who he was, looks like he shot a high percentage (44.1% career) with 728 makes at 1.1 per game (685). That's pretty good, but I wouldn't compare it to Reggie's numbers (39.5%, 2560 makes, 1.8 per game, 1304 games). Therefore, Hubert Davis is the better percentage shooter, but Reggie Miller's is a better scorer per game and sheer number of makes is quite impressive and IMHO makes him a better endurance 3pt shooter. See, statistics is easy, even you could understand it!

If it makes you feel better, just keep throwing troll insults and bathe in your cognitive dissonance, but please leave the horribly poor arguments out of your posts.

Blogger Cortez said...
"This deserves more feeding of the troll"

Thanks.

Notice one thing, I made a throw away comment about how I would prefer Kobe Bryant over a boatload of people who statistically have a better shooting percentage and you felt inclined, for some odd reason, to address me.

"Did you not even notice I was using the 1.78% random number that was provided by you to make fun of you?"

No, that was clever!

"How was my example out of context?"

Simple, a free throw contest throws out many important variables of a actual game. The 1.78% comment was in relation to in-game situatios.

"Maybe you should define the word "better" a little clearer,"

While I'm at it, how about I provide a definition for every word I use ad-infinium?

When viewed IN CONTEXT with the original post the use of the word better was clear.

"then yes, he will be a strictly better 3pt shooter than Larry Bird. What's the problem here?"

Here the problem chief, The original conversation was ENTIRELY CENTERED around being "clutch" and whether or not a slight variation in stats could define being "clutch".

The argument was NEVER centered around who was the better percentage shooter. That answer is obvious.

However, if you think Kapono is a "better" shooter than Larry Bird, from ANYWHERE ON THE COURT, then the only thing that shows is that you are an idiot.

Furthermore if you would give Kapono the shot at the end of the game over Bird because he has a better percentage would go a long way to explain why despite you extensive basketball knowledge you waste time responding to a "troll".

"...since I had no idea who he was"

Not surprising.

"the simplest of analysis can be done incorrectly by morons."

You're proving that with every post you make. Your problem dosen't seem to be the math however. Yours is a much greater problem...staying on topic...and having a consistent point of view.

I'll even throw you a bone...

Kapono is a better shooter by percentage than Larry Bird (which I said in the first place!)

Congrats, you can tell a smaller number from a larger one.

"If it makes you feel better..."

Trust me, it does. I should see someone about that.

Maybe we can arrange a group session, as you seem to be inclined to do the EXACT-SAME-THING you seem to abhor.

cognitive dissonance indeed. You seem intimate with the concept.

Blogger Cortez said...
"...That's pretty good, but I wouldn't compare it to Reggie's numbers."

Of course you wouldn't.

...which was the fucking point.

After a certain number of shots why would anyone place a premimum on percentage?

And if your *ahem* counter-arguement isn't doing just that...

Why in holy hell did you respond in the first place?

*way-way back machine*

That's just as stupid as thinking Candance Parker could beat Anthony Parker in a game of one-on-one!

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Cortez posted: "The argument was NEVER centered around who was the better percentage shooter."

Uhm...but...

Cortez sarcastically posted: "I shot 1.78% better than you, therefore I'm a better shooter! Right."

...ook there...

"After a certain number of shots why would anyone place a premimum on percentage?"

...do you even know what math is? My counter arguement is you're interpreting percentages and statistics wrong and with a bias. They can be useful, when not spouted by morons.

I was going to feed you some more, trying to get you to stop putting words in my mouth and raising even more crappy arguments but then I re-read this gem:

"Yours is a much greater problem...staying on topic...and having a consistent point of view."

And I cannot stop laughing, so I shall end my trolling with a victory. Anyone else that reads this epic conversation can decide for themselves.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Cortez posted: "The argument was NEVER centered around who was the better percentage shooter."

Uhm...but...

Cortez sarcastically posted: "I shot 1.78% better than you, therefore I'm a better shooter! Right."

Nitwit, look at those two sentences again.

On one hand you (correctly) recognize the sarcasam in pointing out a 1.78% difference in shooting then you go off the deep end and present an arguement as if i put a high value on raw percentage numbers.

"My counter arguement is you're interpreting percentages and statistics wrong and with a bias."

Your counter arguement was, and remains to be, silly.

What exactly is my bias with regard to stats. If anything, nitwit, I'm disregarding the raw stats and am making a judgement call based on other factors that do not, and cannot, show up in the numbers.

"I was going to feed you some more, trying to get you to stop putting words in my mouth"

Answer this simple question, who should you rely on in the "clutch" to get a basket, Kobe Bryant or, the better percentage shooter, Jason Kapono?

The answer is obvious.

No one was ever disputing whether or not stats have some usefulness.

"Anyone else that reads this epic conversation can decide for themselves."

Indeed.

"And I cannot stop laughing, so I shall end my trolling with a victory."

Congrats! Your trophy is enroute.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Wow, I can't believe you expressed a proper question! I'll let it slide that AGAIN you are mis-using percentages to try and prove your weak point. The answer to your ultimatum is simple. From the same clutch data of this season so far,

Bryant: 45.1% Fg%, 50.0% 3pt%, 52.2 Pts/48min
Kapono: 37.5% Fg%, 18.2% 3pt%, 18.0 Pts/48min

So in this case, despite Kapono's high CAREER 3pt shooting%, his shooting in clutch situations is NOT A BETTER PERCENTAGE OR AMOUNT than Kobe. From those two choices, Kobe is the better pick. Amazing! I wouldn't have compared the two, just like I wouldn't have compared Reggie Miller to what's his face, but since you brought it up, there you go.


"No one was ever disputing whether or not stats have some usefulness."

...uhm...

Cortez keeps forgetting that Cortez posted: "#2 "Statistics are for losers." ~Mike Ditka" and "the only stat that counts ultimately is whether or not you actually WON THE GAME"

lol, losers are useful, good point.

Cortez posted: "Yours is a much greater problem...staying on topic...and having a consistent point of view."

LOL.

Blogger Cortez said...
Hot damn, That was a short-ass victory tour!

Regardless...

"Cortez keeps forgetting that Cortez posted..."

I see you purposely ignored my very next post...

The point of the "statistics are for losers" comment (which was originally an INTENTIONAL OVERSTATEMENT to illustrate a larger point)

See that dumb ass? INTENTIONAL OVERSTATEMENT.

"So in this case, despite Kapono's high CAREER 3pt shooting..."

My orginal point was that there are people ranked higher than Bryant on the so-called clutch list than I wouldn't rely on...DESPITE THE LIST.

"the only stat that counts ultimately is whether or not you actually WON THE GAME"

That's right.

Now here is another simple question. Despite the fact the you disagree with my belief in Kobe Bryant over the "stats"...

Where have I displayed a inconsistent point of view?

Don't hurt your brain thinking to much (little danger of that).

It seems another problem you have is understanding the point Ditka was making in-context with why he said it.

AnacondaHL 2 / Cortez 0

Congrats!

Now where are those fucking mountain lions?!?!?!?!

Blogger Cortez said...
Here is the "clutch list" in order.

Carmelo Anthony
Ray Allen
Michael Redd
Steve Francis
Allen Iverson
Joe Johnson
Tracy McGrady
Vince Carter
Ben Gordon
Dirk Nowitzki
Paul Pierce
Kobe Bryant

I say...

...fuck the stats.

If you trust the ball with McGrady/Redd/Carter over Bryant because the "stats" say they are more "clutch" then all that means is that...

You are a fucking idiot.

Rejoice!

"Statistics are for losers."
~Mike Ditka

Anonymous Anonymous said...
i agree wit cortez. kobe da best!1! & stats r 4 dumbies.

Blogger DocZeus said...
"If you trust the ball with McGrady/Redd/Carter over Bryant because the "stats" say they are more "clutch" then all that means is that..."

Of course, Kobe Bryant would be on the level of McGrady/Redd/Carter if he had actually played with the Charlotte Hornets and not weasled his way into L.A.

Blogger Cortez said...
"Of course, Kobe Bryant would be on the level of McGrady/Redd/Carter if he had actually played with the Charlotte Hornets and not weasled his way into L.A."

That may very well be, so what?

If I was born in Europe I would be European.

McGrady (and Carter!) "weaseled" his way out of Toronto. A lot of good that did him.

Carter and McGrady's problems go a lot deeper than the teams they have been on. Some guys just don't have in in them to be "killers".

They are highly skilled "bums". Softer than whipped cream and drug store cotton balls.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"i agree wit cortez. kobe da best!1! & stats r 4 dumbies."

Uz iz a gud spelur. Wut, u in thurd grayde?

Cortez, I'm not sure you want this guy on your team...

Blogger Cortez said...
"Cortez, I'm not sure you want this guy on your team..."

He just showed up one day eager to be a part of the team.

What could I do, say no?

Anonymous kes said...
i've got l337 clutch

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