Kobe Bryant Clutch? Statistics May or May Not be Misleading

  on May 13 2012 7:03 PM
Kobe Bryant Clutch? Statistics May or May Not be Misleading

The ability for a player to be "clutch" is often analyzed by sports fans and pundits. The topic is often difficult to accurately evaluate.

Here is the definition of "clutch" in relation to sports:

1. Being or occurring in a tense or critical situation: won the championship by sinking a clutch putt.

2. Tending to be successful in tense or critical situations: The coach relied on her clutch pitcher.

Now basketball fanatics always rave about how "clutch" NBA superstar Kobe Bryant is.

Bryant is the all-time leader for hitting the most game-winning shots. Now does this mean that Bryant is the most clutch player in the league? 

Well, that's debatable.

With a team trailing by one or two points, or tied, in the final 24 seconds of regular-season and playoff games since 1996-97, with a minimum of 30 shots. Here are the players' shooting statistics:

Notice how Bryant's actual percentage of hitting the "big" game shots are actually quite low.  Carmelo Anthony leads the pack at nearly 50 percent. Shouldn't Anthony be considered the most "clutch" in the league?

Statistics don't always tell the whole story. In many scenarios Bryant's game winners have been more memorable or in more dramatic fashion. Everybody has a different opinion on this, but both sides can be easily debated.

Now the clutch factor is also heavily talked about in football as well. With legendary quarterbacks pulling off the "two minute drill" to win the game while trailing on the scoreboard.

The "clutch" rating was recently inserted in the Madden 12 video game.

This give players like Tom Brady, Tim Tebow, Aaron Rodgers and a select group of others to perform with a higher accuracy later in games. The "clutch" system could be a welcomed element to other sports video games.

The debate of who is "clutch" will always be up a contentious argument. When an elite player in a sport such as Sidney Crosby or Bryant scores a game-winning goal or basket, they are branded as "clutch" without much technical evidence.

When an unknown player makes a clutch play, it is more often deemed "fluky" or "lucky."

That's just the nature of being a sports fan -- lots of opinions.