Kobe and the Clutch Playoff Performance Myth

Updated 6/17/2011

In my 25 plus years of following the NBA, one of the more fascinating phenomena to me has been the plight of those that I refer to as “Kobe Nation”. Now, I’m not referring to Kobe “fans” – Many of those are a dime a dozen, stuffing the All-Star ballot box, displaying their #24 jerseys during road games, and riding the Kobe-train as long as the Lakers remain on top. No, I’m talking about Kobe Nation – those who have repeatedly extolled the virtues of Kobe Bryant while partaking on a daily quest to defend his basketball legacy, game performances, and polarizing personality. They are his apostles, and their fervor rivals that of even the most religious of zealots. They respond to criticism, deserved or undeserved, with an inverse defiance that embodies the personality of their hero; the more you critique them, the more combative they will become, the less they will listen, and the more likely you will be called a “hater”. For every action, there is a reaction.

Earlier in the season, ESPN’s Henry Abbott  questioned Bryant’s status as the most “clutch” player in the NBA, and as you can imagine, Kobe Nation responded with a fury. Specifically, Abbott defended his stance by citing the Game Winning/Game Tying Shot metric traditionally used by coaches and GMs when scouting opposing teams – shot attempts in the final 24 seconds of a game during which a player’s team is either tied or trails by three or fewer points. And during Kobe’s 15-year career (regular season and playoffs), the results showed that he made only 36 game winning/game tying shots while missing a stellar 79, or 36/115.

So why then is Kobe Bryant considered to be the unanimous first choice among GMs, coaches, and players for taking the game winning/game tying shot for all the marbles? Abbott cites the media’s propensity to exhaust the highlight reel, limitations of human memory, and our attraction to flashiness rather than substance as the primary reasons for why fans, coaches, players, and GMs are misguided. In sum, people usually remember Bryant’s makes, which are undoubtedly spectacular in nature, but not his misses.

So where do I stand?

First a plea to Kobe Nation….  Allow me to go on record by stating that Kobe Bryant is one of the 10 greatest players to ever play the game. By the time he retires, he will likely be top 5. He is a phenomenal all-around player in every aspect of the game, and possesses a unique combination of talent and skill, that in my opinion, can only be rivaled by Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Hakeem Olaujuwon. He also has a basketball IQ that is simply off the charts – a unique feel for the game that despite his numerous injuries, has allowed him to remain physically effective in a manner that is traditionally reserved for 20-somethings. Other than Michael Jordan, I have yet to see a player who displays the same level of ferocity, stubbornness, and will to win that Kobe Bryant does.

However, Henry Abbott is right. Kobe Bryant IS overrated in the clutch, and even more so when it comes to game winning/game tying shots. That’s right Kobe Nation, you heard me. In which universe does missing 79 out of 115 game winning/game tying shots constitute clutchness? Clutchness to me has always been defined basically and inherently. You either succeed and come through for your team, when your team needs you the most, or you don’t. And in 115 instances, during the time in which Bryant’s teams have needed him the most, he has succeeded only 36 times while failing 79 times. That’s a 31% success rate folks. It’s that simple.

We are not talking about a complex John Hollinger formula or algorithm. We are talking about a fairly straight forward metric – less than 24 seconds, time winding down, ball in Kobe’s hands, chance to win or tie, miss or make. All other variables are irrelevant:

–        “Kobe is the most fearless

–        “Kobe wants the ball in his hands at the end of the game”

–        “Kobe has the ability to make the most spectacular shots”

None of this matters. The only thing that matters is the result.

So that got me thinking – if the 36/115 stat includes both playoffs and regular season, how has Bryant performed in game winning and game tying shot situations during the playoffs alone? After all, playoff games are the ones that count the most, right? The pinnacle of pressure? The most important of time of the year when everything is at stake? Is there really a more clutch opportunity than a game winning/game tying shot in a playoff game?

The answer: Bryant is 7/25 or  28% -slightly worse during the playoffs than the regular season.

Keep in mind that the game winning/game tying shot is only ONE metric of clutch, and in a future article we will post additional data reviewing Kobe’s performance during the last 2 minutes, last 5 minutes, and the entire 4Q, which further substantiates my point. However, for now, we will focus on the game winning/game tying shot metric, which in my mind, represents the MOST pressure packed situations in a game.

Below is a breakdown of game winning/game tying shot attempt throughout Kobe Bryant’s 15 year career:

1996 Utah Jazz Game 5 Miss Bryant misses a game tying shot with 4 seconds left.
1999 San Antonio Spurs Game 2 Miss Bryant misses a game tying shot at the end of regulation
2000 Phoenix Suns Game 2 Make Bryant makes a game winning shot with 2 seconds left
2001 Philidephia 76ers Game 1 Miss Bryant misses a game winning shot with 20 seconds left.
2002 San Antonio Spurs Game 2 Miss Bryant misses a game tying shot at regulation
2002 San Antonio Spurs Game 4 Make Bryant makes a game winning shot with 5 seconds left
2002 Sacramento Kings Game 4 Miss Bryant misses a game winning shot with 4 seconds left
2002 Sacramento Kings Game 5 Miss Bryant misses a game winning shot with 8 seconds left
2002 Sacramento Kings Game 7 Miss Bryant misses a game winning tip shot with 8 seconds left
2003 Minnesota Timberwolves Game 3 Miss Bryant misses a game winning shot in OT with 13 seconds left.
2003 Minnesota Timberwolves Game 3 Miss Bryant misses a game tying shot in OT with 2 seconds left
2003 San Antonio Spurs Game 1 Miss Bryant misses a game winning shot with 13 seconds left.
2004 Houston Rockets Game 1 Miss Bryant misses a game winning shot with 17 seconds left.
2004 Houston Rockets Game 4 Miss Bryant misses a game winning shot with 3 seconds left.
2004 San Antonio Spurs Game 5 Make Bryant makes a game winning shot attempt with 12 seconds left.
2004 Detroit Pistons Game 2 Make Bryant makes a game tying shot at the buzzer.
2006 Phoenix Suns Game 4 Make Bryant makes a game tying shot with one second left.
2006 Phoenix Suns Game 4 Make Bryant makes a game winning shot at the buzzer.
2006 Phoenix Suns Game 6 Miss Bryant misses a game winning shot with 6 seconds left.
2008 San Antonio Spurs Game 1 Make Bryant makes the game winning shot with 23 seconds left.
2009 Utah Jazz Game 3 Miss Bryant misses a game winning shot with 2 seconds left.
2009 Orlando Magic Game 2 Miss Bryant has his game winning shot blocked with 8 sec left.
2010 Oklahoma City Thunder Game 6 Miss Bryant misses game winning shot with .5 seconds left.
2010 Phoenix Suns Game 5 Miss Bryant misses a game winning shot with 3 seconds left.
2011 Dallas Mavericks Game 1 Miss Bryant misses a game winning shot at the end of regulation

Our team had a chance to watch each and every one of these shot attempts on film, and validate their accuracy through ESPN’s recaps and game logs. In fairness, a small few of these shots were literally last second attempts, with an extremely high degree of difficulty, offering very little opportunity for success. However, every star player is tasked with these same types of shots,  and every star player has the opportunity to either miss or make. No one is excluded. Moreover, in most instances, Kobe was afforded the time and opportunity to get a clean shot off. However 7/25 is 7/25, and a 28% success rate is a 28% success rate. The game winning/game tying metric is about the most basic, straightforward metric available.

The point that should not be lost in Abbott’s article is that he does not mention a clear cut alternative to Bryant. For example, Carmelo Anthony leads the list at 47.7% field goal shooting, but has taken far fewer shots, and demonstrated less of an ability than Bryant to create his own shot in crunchtime. Moreover, Shawn Marion, who is also at the top of the list, cannot create a shot for anyone, least of all himself. However, placing Kobe Bryant on a pedestal over every other player, especially those who can create their own shots (Lebron, Nowitzki, Wade, Roy), is completely misleading, and the byproduct of perception rather than reality.

So rest easy Kobe Nation. We are not declaring another king. We are simply saying that your hero is no clear cut choice for the throne.


475 Responses to “Kobe and the Clutch Playoff Performance Myth”

  1. THANK YOU. This is EXACTLY what I’ve been telling idiot Kobe fans my whole life…

    Posted by Bostonbrawler | February 1, 2011, 10:29 pm
    • youre an idiot… these are the most idiotic claims ive ever heard. yes, his success rate is 31% there is no arguing that, but how many of those shots were taking from 30+ feet? how many were taken with 2+ defenders on him? you may say then he should pass the ball, but when the coach tells you to take the shot, you take the shot. also, i would like for you to look at MJ’s clutch shooting…. hmmmm. similar numbers? thats interesting, guess he sucks now too, right? i mean thats the argument you are making.. get your damn facts straight

      Posted by sean | February 20, 2011, 10:13 pm
      • what everyone is missing are all the clutch shots Kobe makes in the last four minutes of games, keeping the lead or putting his team in a position to win. Clutch is not only the final shot. When it comes to the last 4 minutes in the game, there is no one in the league I’d rather have on my team than Kobe.

        Posted by a | February 21, 2011, 2:02 pm
        • Who’s missing this?
          Do you have the data to support this claim? Of course, you don’t. You’re making a perception(hype) based conclusion. Therein lies the problem. We’re dealing in reality and facts here.

          Posted by William | February 22, 2011, 6:07 pm
        • your dumb he said he’s coming out with that after this article read dumbf**k. Just cause you take shots at the end of a game doesn’t make you clutch I could go out there and throw up sh*t and say well I had the courage to do it. If Kobe was truly clutch he would pass the f**king ball at the end of the game to person/s wide open clutch does not mean shots made but how well you can help your team when a game in crunch time. Kobe is a detriment does and is not willing to pass at the end of the game, would rather throw up a miracle than let pau gasol dunk it, or lamar odom shoot a wide open shot. Even DFish wide open for a 3 which he can make. But it’s okay keep hoping that you guys so devoted to Kobe will eventually get a chance to suck his dick.

          Posted by Taylor Martinez | March 25, 2011, 3:45 pm
        • 100% agree. Kobe will turn it on in the fourth quarter like no-one else in the league can, in result bringing his team and the teams chances of winning back to life. He may miss game winning shots, but like what was said above, clutch isnt just the shot, its the finale of the game that is clutch. No-one can come on here and say that they havnt been absolutely amazed at how artistic kobe makes basketball look in the most important moments. Kobe shows basketballs true beauty when it matters most, and there are not to many players in history that have that talent. check out the video “Kobe Bryant, greatness eprsonafied” on youtube, and tell me that your jaw isnt hitting the ground by the end of the video, and ill show you a liar.

          Posted by Robert | April 6, 2011, 5:49 pm
          • So, you have no data to back up your claim (BTW, maybe he is, maybe he isn’t) but you have subjective language to back it up? Nah, you have to do better than that. Bring some meat.

            Posted by RFN | May 5, 2011, 6:53 am
          • Kobe is not even in the top ten of current payers in 4th quarter scoring. It is indeed a myth pushed by the t-shirt and other memorabilia sellers. Remember he lives in LA and has great publicists. Dirk is a much better payer in the 4th than Kobe both in the regular season and playoffs but he lives in Dallas where people are a little more classy and have lives outside of ego lane.

            Posted by JeromeMJ | May 16, 2011, 11:15 am
          • Yes, because everyone know people in Dallas are SO much classier than L.A.

            Local homerism for the win!

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 16, 2011, 11:18 am
          • No. Idiots. Clutch is when the pressure it at it’s highest. Plain and simple.

            Posted by C | August 30, 2011, 2:47 am
        • Maybe guys you should have read the whole article first, especially this:

          Keep in mind that the game winning/game tying shot is only ONE metric of clutch, and in a future article we will post additional data reviewing Kobe’s performance during the last 2 minutes, last 5 minutes, and the entire 4Q, which further substantiates my point. However, for now, we will focus on the game winning/game tying shot metric, which in my mind, represents the MOST pressure packed situations in a game.

          Posted by Feldren | May 3, 2011, 6:43 am

          Kobe’s numbers are terrible. Here’s your proof.

          Posted by Alcibiades | May 3, 2011, 4:43 pm
        • Except for maybe James, who has better numbers in that situation.

          Posted by RFN | May 5, 2011, 6:51 am
        • Actually, defines the clutch moment as: “Player performance in the last 5 minutes of games when the score margin is within 5 points.” Luckily, they keep record of each players stats during this part of the game. Since you don’t know how to research, I’ll just tell you what it says.

          Kobe’s clutch stats (per 36 min):

          2011 Playoffs: 6.8 FGM/27 FGA (25FG%), 50FT%, 15.8 PTS, 0 AST, 0 RPG, 6.8 TO, 54.8 Usage%

          11/12 Season: 9 FGM/25 FGA (36FG%), 82FT%, 29.3 PTS, 4.7 AST, 6.1 RPG, 2.9 TO, 41.5 Usage%

          2012 Playoffs: 9.7 FGM/31.8 FGA (30FG%), 100FT%, 40.2 PTS, 5.5 AST, 6.9 RPG, 5.5 TO, 47.3 Usage%

          So basically these stats tell you that Kobe is a ball hog in the clutch moments. But he can get away with it because he, along with the rest of the world, believes he is the best closer in the game.

          Ask most people who they want to have the ball at the end of the game and they say Kobe, but why? I blame ESPN and their “experts.” They fail to acknowledge Kobe’s failures (missed shots in clutch situations, 2 consecutive early postseason exits, etc.).

          Posted by Antonio | June 15, 2012, 2:37 am
          • The ESPN/Disney Empire or Talking Heads acknowledge Kobe’s failures, but characterize it as “taking it all on his shoulders” or “hating to lose”

            That type of nonsense.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 15, 2012, 7:45 am
      • You just made yourself look ridiculously dumb

        Posted by Jordan Dye | May 2, 2011, 11:27 pm
      • Wow, emote much! You are the perfect example of “Ouch! Empiricism burns!”. Take a really deep breath. No one ever said that Kobe sucks. It’s just that he is overrated in this particular scenario. BTW, the degree of difficulty on these infrequent shots is the same (on average…oh no, another mathematical concept…it burns!) for everyone.

        Posted by RFN | May 5, 2011, 6:49 am
      • The article I’m citing is a bit old, but the numbers are still relevant. Just to show you that no, MJ’s clutch shooting numbers were FAR better than Kobe’s. Saying their numbers are similar is a ridiculous claim.

        “Game Winning Shots:

        Michael Jordan made 33 out of 58 game winning shots which is a 56.9% shooting percentage, while Kobe has has made 29 but attempted more game winners, and is a 27% career shooter in game winning situations.”


        Posted by Nick | May 18, 2011, 1:23 pm
      • your an idiot because MJ have a 50% clutch shooting
        it’s better than Kobe right dumb

        Posted by IvoL | June 24, 2011, 8:15 pm
      • He is 6/23, so it’s 26% fuckin moron, back to school Bryant’s prostitute. Bryant isn’t a clutch shooter at all as media lie about it. He’s a waek shooter with army of dick riders like you.

        Posted by shhh | July 8, 2011, 3:03 am
      • No no no no no no no no no that’s the point though bro. Mj’s numbers AREN’T similiar to these. He was actually VERY efficient in game winning situations. And your first point is absolute bull as Phil Jackson has stated in his own autobiography that he drew up plays for other team members which kobe would continue to disregard. And the fact of the matter is… that Kobe CHOOSES to take ridiculous shots in order to create this unstoppable highlight play for espn, when really, he could just drive the ball into the lane and take the game into ot, instead of shooting a 35 foot jumper. If he is being double teamed then that means that there is ALWAYS going to be another man open. I can’t think of a single time when Kobe has dished the rock in a situation like that. He’s power mad to the extent that he doesn’t care if his team wins or loses. Bad play. That’s not the way you play the game.

        Posted by David | November 17, 2011, 2:53 pm
      • Hey genius…Jordan was 56% for his career in game winning shots. Just face the facts…you bought into the hype of Kobe Bryant…its ok your not the only one lmao…get Kobes cock out ur mouth

        Posted by TheMessenger | March 5, 2012, 8:18 pm
    • 5 rings is all that matters

      Posted by Dale | February 21, 2011, 10:19 am
      • Well, if 5 rings is all that matters, then Horry has 7. Horry > Kobe? Or do you want to rethink your argument?

        Posted by Bad Karma | April 6, 2011, 3:24 am
        • Was Horry the Leader on any team? I dont think so. Kobe has the stats and rings to back it up. What does Horry have? 7 rings with no stats? exactly!!! Kobe 00-01 Playoff stats- 29.5ppg,7reb,6 asst, 82%ftp, 47%fgp.
          Kobe 01-02 Playoff stats- 26.5ppg,5reb,4 asst, 75%ftp, 43%fgp.
          Kobe 02-03 Playoff stats- 32.1ppg,5reb,5 asst, 83%ftp, 43%fgp… Kobe was a beast those 3 championships, Horry won 3 rings because of Kobe and Shaq so get out of here with BS.

          Posted by Jimmy Martinez | April 26, 2011, 12:25 pm
          • ur a moron, u just said rings are the only things that matter and now ur listing stats… ur dumb

            Posted by jimmy martinez is a tool | April 27, 2011, 4:48 pm
          • Oh yeah, cos Kobe was leader for those first three rings. Teams win championships, not individual players, so don’t throw that bullshit point out here when we’re talking about clutch.

            Posted by David | November 17, 2011, 3:12 pm
          • Interesteing the use of the adjective “beast” when describing Bryant. Imagine, citing a FG% of 43 as “beastly”.

            I read several posts claiming Bryant’s right to be listed as a top five all time player.

            Using the “:beast” of the 2000-03 playoffs against the 12 players I have ahead of him in my all time hierarchy, I compared Bryant’s career playoff results with those other 12. I added the totals of PPG, RPG, and APG and listed them descending.

            Wilt .522 FG% 22.5 24.5 4.2 51.2
            Jordan .487 FG% 33.4 6.4 5.7 45.5
            Russell.430 FG% 16.2 24.9 4.2 45.3
            West .469 FG% 29.1 5.6 6.3 41.0
            Bird .472 FG% 23.8 10.3 6.5 40.6
            Hakeem .528 FG% 25.9 11.2 3.2 40.3
            Magic .506 FG% 19.5 7.7 12.3 39.5
            Shaq .563 FG% 24.3 11.6 2.7 38.6
            Duncan .502 FG% 22.7 12.4 3.4 38.5
            Kareem .533 FG% 24.3 10.5 3.2 38.0
            Oscar .460 FG% 22.2 6.7 8.9 37.8
            Moses .487 FG% 22.1 14.0 1.5 37.6

            Bryant .448 FG% 25.4 5.1 4.8 35.3

            Of those 12, only Russell has a lower FG%. Russell’s .43 FG% matches what Bryant shot during his “beast” years of 2001-03 from above, yet Russell always gets blasted for having a low FG% and seemingly little to no crideit for having VASTLY superior RPG and very comparable APG to Bryant (4.8 to 4.2). Bryant has the lowest RPG of the group and is 6th in APG. Bryant is 4th in PPG.

            Remember, these are career playoff totals and all of these players had a high number of games played and all won at least one title.

            I just cannot understand how anyone can rationally place Bryant ahead of those other 12 players.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | November 17, 2011, 7:12 pm
          • I guess you don’t realize that the Lakers TEAM won those rings with not just Kobe.
            Kobe would not have won without Shaq,Horry and his last 2 rings without the bankroll of owner Buss buying players with the largest payroll in the NBA.

            Posted by Geo | May 14, 2012, 12:27 pm
          • Kobe 02-03 Playoff stats- 32.1ppg,5reb,5 asst, 83%ftp, 43%fgp

            in ’00 championship, which you failed to mention, he shot 21.1 ppg during playoffs and 15.6 in Finals. Missing a game and a half during the Finals.

            Kobe has ONE 40 point game in finals, how many does Jordan have?

            Posted by Mixleplix | May 7, 2014, 11:39 am
          • hahah Paulie your a fucking retard, Kobe was at bench warmer in his first two years and had to be a side kick to shaq.

            btw he is top ten

            Posted by Raj | January 5, 2016, 4:44 pm
    • This article reminds me of a Fox News piece of Obama’s presidency – full of bias. You obviously dislike Kobe, so maybe you should adhere from writing articles about him.

      Posted by Josh | February 21, 2011, 4:52 pm
      • Obviosly dislike? Dude, he said Kobe was one of the top ten players ever, and would end up in the top five. Dont give me no shit about bein bias

        Posted by Jack | April 3, 2011, 2:10 pm
      • Way to bring Obama into a sports debate. Yeah, maybe the author should write articles about stuff he likes, that way there is no bias. Because everyone knows when you write an article about something you like it will naturally not be biased. This Josh guy has made the dumbest arguement I have seen in awhile. Maybe I will write an unbaised article about your stupidity and be very objective in the piece.

        Posted by Josh is a moron | May 3, 2011, 9:54 am
      • LOL, “adhere from writing articles about him”?? Do you know what the word ‘adhere’ means? Perhaps you meant ‘abstain’?

        Posted by CHEWY | May 3, 2011, 7:19 pm
      • LOL I was about to make the EXACT same comment you did about this tool’s use of the word “adhere” too, Chewy. I was like is no one catching this but me?!?!

        Anyway, Josh please remove Kobe’s d*ck from your mouth, it’s getting in the way of your words.

        Posted by AGREE WITH CHEWY | January 20, 2012, 9:02 am
    • how can you compare kobe’s shots to others when his are always tough shots meaning the defense are all focused on getting the ball out of him or they put the best defender against kobe,plus how the hell is being clutch only under 24 sec? being clutch is when the pressure is all over you,when the fans are booing you when the defenders are harassing you and you still succeed,being clutch is not only under 24 sec but in those moments where you desperately need to score, what a dumb article really,24 sec?1 minute maybe and lets see what kobes stats are plus lets not forget again the defense against him dumbasses

      Posted by rapiyo | February 27, 2011, 9:20 pm
      • Rapiyo, you are an idiot. Get your head out of your ass. Lebron, Wade, Roy, and other players have the same exact challenge (facing another team’s best defender, crowd pressure, etc) in the last 24 seconds just like Kobe does. Stop acting like Kobe has different circumstances.

        Also the point of the article is to determine whether Kobe is clutch in “game winning shots”. Thats the reason for less than 24 seconds, because it reflects a last possession to either win or tie the game. You obviously can’t have a game winning shot with 1 minute remaining because the other team then has a chance to score and the game winning shot is the most pressure packed situation.

        Posted by Chauncey Gandus | February 27, 2011, 10:11 pm
        • Most intelligent comment ive read on here..after reading many of these posts i dont think people understand that the article and stats provided are in reference to “Game winning shots”…

          Posted by BluenBlack | April 7, 2011, 6:03 am
      • I know shit like reading the whole article before you open your mouth seems like a complex idea to you. but let’s review this paragraph by the author:

        Keep in mind that the game winning/game tying shot is only ONE metric of clutch, and in a future article we will post additional data reviewing Kobe’s performance during the last 2 minutes, last 5 minutes, and the entire 4Q, which further substantiates my point. However, for now, we will focus on the game winning/game tying shot metric, which in my mind, represents the MOST pressure packed situations in a game.

        He did address longer periods of time, but this is the same metric that GM’s and coaches use when scouting opposing teams. You probably won’t read this either though, cause you’re too busy being an ignorant Kobe fan boy.

        Posted by learn to read, Kobe fans | January 20, 2012, 9:08 am
      • nigga you just went full retard

        Posted by Rapiyo is an idiot | April 1, 2013, 2:55 am
    • What no one ever seems to see are the many times he sends games into overtime. they dont count the clutch performances he does late in the 4th to tie the game or give them the spark to send it to extra time. so stfu

      Posted by DALETUDZ | February 28, 2011, 11:43 pm
    • Game 5 2010 vs Phoenix they won (Ron Artest at the buzzer) and Kobe was very clutch in that game FYI they would have never had that opportunity without his shots he hit within the last few minutes. Game 6 vs OKC they won (Pau Gasol put back) and AGAIN Kobe was VERY CLUTCH hitting many shots late in 4th Q to give Lakers opportunity to win. 2009 vs Magic Game 2 they won and AGAIN!!! Kobe was clutch in that game giving Lakers buckets when they needed it and the shot he missed was when it was tied but he dominated the O.T. to help the Lakers win. 2009 game 3 vs Jazz he missed the bucket and they lost so ill give you that one. 2006 vs Suns he missed the fadeaway so it went into overtime where HE DOMINATED though they lost (he had 50 points that game). Shall I go on?????? ok I will go on ANYWAYS… Game 1 vs Houston 2004 the Lakers won! They scored on the possession where he “missed the game winner” and actually forced Francis on the last play to kick it out and denied him a layup so had a clutch defensive play… Ill give you the San Antonio game 1 miss in 2003 though that was a tough shot where he had to chuck it up… ill give you game 3 vs Minnesota in 2003 but he was UNBELIEVABLE in that series literally willing the Lakers to wins in 4th Quarters but whatever you say man haha…DUDE KINGS LAKERS 2002 he hit 2 free throws to give them the lead with 22 seconds left in 4th quarter AND THE “TIP SHOT HE MISSED” was off Shaq’s miss and he barely got his pinkie on it!!!!!!! wow what bull crap this is man!!! WOW!!! MJ missed so many game winners does that make him a bad player? BUT IF I WAS GOING TO MAKE A POINT ABOUT IF MJ WASNT CLUTCH BECAUSE OF THAT (WHICH IS WOULDNT ITS STUPID THEYRE BOTH CLUTCH) I WOULDNT DO B.S. ONES LIKE THIS.

      Posted by Kris Wysong | April 4, 2011, 11:28 pm
      • Kris,

        Thanks for the read, but you just proved my point. Fans have a tendancy to remember only those shots that Kobe made, not the ones that he missed. You are choosing select moments in his career where he succeeded.

        Now provide me a list of the ones where he failed? Bet you can’t remember, can you?

        Posted by The NBA Realist | April 5, 2011, 11:46 am
    • What some Kobe haters don’t realize and fail to look at is that being “clutch” is not limited to just the last 30 seconds of a game. Being clutch is making a shot when you’re team desperately needs a shot. I know Kobe has made many shots that stopped the other teams run at the end of a game or made a shot that completely changed the momentum in favor of the Lakers. Another thing is the way he makes the shot. Kobe is also considered clutch because of the spectacular way in which he has done it and the degree of difficulty not just a last second winning shot. Just off the top of my head I can think of a couple great examples of this. 2007 opening playoff series versus the Suns Kobe makes a shot to take the game into overtime then hits the game winning shot to win the game over Marion and Bell. Last game of the 2004 regular season vs. Portland Kobe hits a 3 pointer to send game into overtime and hits another 3 at the buzzer to win the game. The degree of difficulty on both shots especially the first one were unbelievable. And the list goes on and on……

      Posted by Gerald | April 5, 2011, 6:29 pm
    • What some Kobe haters don’t realize and fail to look at is that being “clutch” is not limited to just the last 30 seconds of a game. Being clutch is making a shot when you’re team desperately needs a shot. I know Kobe has made many shots that stopped the other teams run at the end of a game or made a shot that completely changed the momentum in favor of the Lakers. Another thing is the way he makes the shot. Kobe is also considered clutch because of the spectacular way in which he has done it and the degree of difficulty not just a last second winning shot. Just off the top of my head I can think of a couple great examples of this. 2007 opening playoff series versus the Suns Kobe makes a shot to take the game into overtime then hits the game winning shot to win the game over Marion and Bell. Last game of the 2004 regular season vs. Portland Kobe hits a 3 pointer to send game into overtime and hits another 3 at the buzzer to win the game. The degree of difficulty on both shots especially the first one were unbelievable. And the list goes on and on……

      Posted by Gerald | April 5, 2011, 6:31 pm
    • im laughing at all you guys that never played high level basketball! all u fantasy nerds do is quote stats! let me ask you this? can you go back and IDENTIFY who was guarding MJ versus who was guarding Kobe in crunch time! i mean, MJ shooting over 6’3″ guards is not nearly as impressive as Kobe doing the same against longer, more explosive athletes & in a league that DOES NOT have illegal defense… MEANING TEAMS CAN ZONE THE AREA KOBE IS OPERATING IN WITH 2 OR 3 PLAYERS!!!During MJ’s career, it was primarily a one-on-one game with little helpside defense!

      if i am talking over all you guys heads, good! go learn some basketball and stop beleiving everything a columnist publishes… he is good at writing, NOT analyzing basketball OBVIOUSLY

      Posted by darren | April 14, 2011, 1:18 pm
      • Thanks for the read Darren, but you are completely off.

        Who plays zone in the NBA except the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, or any team coached by Don Nelson. Moreover, the defensive 3-second rule limits the amount of selective zoning that a team can in the modern game, leaving the lane wide open. Essentially, the league simply renamed the illegal defense call the defensive 3-second call since 90% of illegal defensive calls were done in the paint anyway. No one double teams a player without the ball at the the 3-point line.

        However, regardless of whether you believe that Jordan had playing in a league with illegal defenses, he also played during a time when the permiter was more physical, fewer fouls were called statistically, hand-checking was allowed, there were none of the ridiculous moving screens that you see in today’s game, there was no defensive 3-second rule, and there were harder foulds. The result is lower shooting percentages for players (TS% and EFG% specifically).

        Plus Jordan DID play against taller players. Byron Russell was 6’7, Craig Ehlo 6’6, Dennis Rodman 6’8, Larry Nance 6’10 – he hit game winners in the playoffs over all of them.

        Posted by The NBA Realist | April 15, 2011, 1:31 am
        • Sorry Mr. REALIST, but if I had to choose a few hand slappings over zone defense I would choose hand slapping. You guys that have never played Basketball make me laugh. A few slaps and bumping is nothing compared to being zoned with 2-3 guys constantly on you. The level of play that is required by a player now is a different degree of player. It doesn’t mean the 90’s was harder and it doesn’t mean now is harder. Just different. So your argument that MJ was in a harder level of basketball is erroneous and makes you another MJ boy lover

          Posted by ShaneFM | May 3, 2011, 8:52 am
          • “So your argument that MJ was in a harder level of basketball is erroneous and makes you another MJ boy lover”


            Posted by Milhouse | May 3, 2011, 9:20 am
          • Disagree Shane FM. If you re-reade the rules and watch the tape, Illegal Defense simply means that you cannot double team a player who does not have the ball – not that a player cannot be double and triple teamed. Jordan met with double and triple teams often.
            It took me no more than 2 seconds to find tape on youtube showing an example of this:

            One other note – Illegal defenses have not gone away. The rule has simply been renamed to “Defense 3-second” violation since the ball of the off-the-ball double/triple teams would occur in the key. The Defensive 3 rule prevents that from happening just as the illegal defense rule did throughout the 90s.

            No one double teams a player at the 3 point line if they do not have the ball.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | May 3, 2011, 9:53 am
          • Darren and SHANEFM
            You aint playing in the nba. High school basketball is nothing like the level they are playing at the so you act like you know how it is. Secondly the 90’s was called alot differently they didn’t call all the ticky-tacky fouls for that the offensive players get on a regular basis in todays game. Jordan was getting fouled alot harder then Kobe and other players do. He faced players that were allowed to play more physical against him and he still consistently took over games from the 4th quarter on. Kobe’s numbers dont lie his field goal percentage in the clutch (4th quarter not just game winners) is not impressive at all.

            Posted by Joe | May 6, 2011, 12:23 am
      • Seriously, Darren?

        Since the Jordan era the rules have shifted toward giving the offensive player more of an advantage. This was deemed necessary to increase scoring, making the game more exciting to put more fans in the seats. This is common knowledge! Your attempt to dispute this and actually argue otherwise, destroys your credibility. It also makes reading your post somewhat hilarious because you think so highly of your “basketball knowledge.”

        Posted by William | April 22, 2011, 11:29 pm
      • What you fail to understand is that players were allowed to hand check and play more physical defense in Jordan’s era. Don’t make fun of people when you don’t even know the fundamental rules of basketball

        Posted by jimmy martinez is a tool | April 27, 2011, 4:52 pm
      • First, the average height in the league is actually a little shorter during Kobe’s top years than in Michael’s. Jordan was routinely guarded by guys his size or taller. Kobe had been guarded by shorter defenders just as often.
        Also, a Zone isn’t harder to score against.. if anything it rewards good medium-range shooters, which Jordan was great at, so he’d do good against zones. Secondly, Jordan had played against zones, and against double-and-triple teams.. those were allowed and used often in his era.
        You’re obviously too young to understand how the game has changed over the years. The rule changes to increase scoring, remove hand-checking, and allow more movement to the basket -those came at the same time Koke scored the most.
        Jordan’s era had the Knicks, Pistons, and Heat, and other teams that would simply hammer you repeatedly with no fouls or flagrants called.
        Go watch some tape.

        Posted by JWG | May 2, 2011, 11:15 pm
        • JWG,
          You are waaaay off buddy! I don’t know how old you are or if you had a crappy tv when Jordan played, but Zone Defense WAS NEVER PLAYED when MJ was playing. IT WAS ILLEGAL! They had Zone D before Jordan, but they banned it in the early years of the NBA. Then in 2001 they put it back on the floor. So, you saying Jordan played with Zone Defense along with double and triple teaming is beyond a lie…IT’S BULLSHHH!!
          Look I love MJ, Greatest of ALL-TIME, but don’t make up stuff to put MJ on this make believe Cathedral. MJ doesn’t need you making up stuff! Kobe is very much like MJ. Kobe would learn to adapt in any environment he was put in. Same with MJ. So the argument that one couldn’t do well in the others era is stupid. And MJ was hardly ever triple teamed. Where I have seen Kobe triple teamed and sometimes the WHOLE TEAM! And that is why Zone D is so hard. I can get over a few hand slaps and bumping…but crowded by 2-3 guys at the 3 point arch is ridiculous.

          Posted by ShaneFM | May 3, 2011, 9:09 am
    • WOW, you are an idiot. you are saying that Shawn Marion is more clutch than Kobe Bryant? and with that you are saying that you would rather have the ball in Shawn Marion’s hands at the end of a game? its so stupid how you twisted those stats in your favor, have you ever watched a basketball game in your life? As much as i am a kobe hater, there isnt a player in the NBA that i would rather have in the clutch

      Posted by matt | May 3, 2011, 12:05 am
    • The reality is that Kobe shoots his team OUT of more games than WINS them. This whole Kobe-Closer talk is just a way to keep Kobe relevant. I mean if he were the best player, hands down, there would be no talk about this “closer” nonsense (which doesn’t even hold up against the numbers). The fact is, he has not been the best player for a number of years (if you look at the numbers holistically – including fg%), and this whole “closer” talk is ridiculous. give me the player whose going to keep his team from having to take a bunch of bad game-winning shots against teams they should be blowing out.

      Posted by steve | May 4, 2011, 1:07 pm
    • Your missing two game winners for the playoffs. You dont have listen in 2004 when Kobe hit a 3 at the buzzer to go into overtime against the blazers. And that same game in 2OT he hit the gamewinning 3 at the buzzer. Are you including those 2 playoff last second shots? Cause i dont see them on your chart.

      Posted by Chris Paul | September 20, 2011, 7:32 am
    • The numbers from this article need to be taken with a large grain of salt.

      Kobe did not miss a shot against the Sixers in 2001. He turned the ball over with 20 seconds left in regulation, and that does not count as a shot attempt.

      Furthermore, the original Abbott article used definition of a game-winning shot attempt, which is essentially “down by 2 or less with 24 seconds left”. This article changes that definition to “down by 3” to fit its agenda and thereby renders all that research USELESS.

      In short, this is a poorly researched article that skews the real results by bending the rules.

      Posted by Franz | January 18, 2012, 2:59 pm
      • Could you please explain how it is poorly researched?

        Can you provide examples?

        Why do you claim that the numbers “need to be taken with a grain of salt?”

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | January 18, 2012, 4:21 pm
  2. You don’t getit. Kobe’s shooting % is low because he wants to take the shot. A shot a lot of other guys would miss, turn the ball over, or something else. 6 game winners in the playoffs is as good as anyone over the last 10 years.

    Posted by DrinkingHaterade | February 1, 2011, 10:52 pm
  3. I have four game winners in far less games in the playoffs.. BOW DOWN KOBE..

    Posted by lebron james | February 2, 2011, 4:17 am
    • Yes, and you also disappeared in last year’s playoffs against the Celtics when your team needed you most — therefore the nickname “LeQuit”.

      Posted by sumant | February 2, 2011, 6:27 am
      • 27 Pts, 19 Reb, 10 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk you call that quitting dumbass?

        Posted by asd | February 2, 2011, 7:01 am
        • oh you’re so good you need dwade and bosh to get a ring…lebgay

          Posted by kruky | February 2, 2011, 11:04 am
          • kinda like how kobe rode shaq’s back for three rings, pau’s for one ring, and then ron artest for another ring. weird

            Posted by Derrick | February 4, 2011, 8:33 am
          • wow.. I could’t have said it better. In one line u summed it up.

            I see another stat lately.. Scola bloodied, Nash’s bloody nose, knee Ray Allen in Finals last year… there is a trend in Phil Jackson’s 12 championships.

            Posted by CaptainJackSparrow | April 21, 2011, 4:07 am
        • Failing to add the number of turnovers and shooting percent. Well done.

          Posted by DFJ | February 21, 2011, 7:12 pm

          Posted by darren | April 14, 2011, 1:26 pm
      • Lebron is actually a great player, just looks those CAVs, they are NOT gifted at all. Lebron led them to 60 wins in last 2 seasons, that is almost impossible!

        KB? Would he have won if he was not in Lakers? How about Wizards? CAVs? He would only lose.

        KB is not a better player than Lebron for sure, Lebron led his weak team to win, and now he does good job in Heat, what can KB do without Shaq or Gasol? I doubt it.

        Posted by Jimmy | February 4, 2011, 9:28 pm
        • he had ilgauskus dipshit. i dont care how to spell that and i dont care.

          Posted by cp3 | February 21, 2011, 6:37 pm
          • u think ilgauskas is as good as shaq? lol buddy you need to get your head checked

            Posted by jimmy martinez is a tool | April 27, 2011, 4:56 pm
        • Yea Cavs team was so bad that the Heat (with the same Lebron) can’t get the same record. If you think Lebron was the only thing missing from Cavs this year, you don’t watch basketball at all and go by whatever the media says.

          Posted by Likwid | April 5, 2011, 5:52 pm
      • Bottom line Kobe can’t hit shit, except a white girl from behind. Face the facts Kobe is and will forever be chasing 23 because he is weak and can’t hit it when the game is on the line.

        Posted by Drunk off Haterade | March 18, 2011, 3:53 pm
    • BUT NO RING,. you QUEEN!

      3 peat
      3 peat

      Posted by Kobe | February 21, 2011, 12:33 am

      Posted by KING JAMES444 | February 22, 2011, 6:00 am
  4. LeBron has 3 game winners in the playoffs for his career. The 2 layups against the Wizards, and the 3 pointer against the Magic. Kobe only leads LeBron by 1 game winner in the playoffs and has had many many more chances.

    Posted by Even Steven | February 2, 2011, 12:19 pm
    • You don’t get it. He traveled on both of those game-winning layups. This was before his “crab dribble” was exposed as a blatant travel. He used to get away with three steps in clutch situations. Even the most unskilled of players can hit a layup if they are consistently given at least 3 steps to get their shoulders past their defender. But if you are 6’9″ 260+, then of course you’re gonna make some! But he can’t use that move anymore… and to his credit he is starting to use the pull up jumper more in clutch situations rather than barreling into the lane out of control.

      Posted by LEE | February 14, 2011, 4:15 pm
      • And the 3 he hit against the Magic was the first real game winner of Lebron’s career in the postseason (obviously I don’t really count his “clutch” shots against the Wiz. But he did hit his first real game winner during the regular season in ’09 as well.) And you could tell he was just as surprised as I was when he hit that three llol. He is still a long way from being recognized as most clutch player in the league… as a matter of fact, I don’t think he will ever get to that level… it’s just not a part of his makeup as player IMO. But we shall see

        Posted by LEE | February 14, 2011, 4:21 pm
        • Your basketball intelligence must be pretty damn low if you’d prefer Lebron to take a pullup jumper to driving to the hoop in clutch situations. We’re talking about one of the best scorers in the paint of any guard or small forward, ever. As for being surprised about hitting that 3: there was less than a second on the clock. That’s a Derek Fisher against the Spurs calibre make. Give me a break.

          Posted by Dagger | February 15, 2011, 9:30 pm
          • Right on Dagger. This dude Lee is a complete idiot. Lebron did what he needed to do to win the game.

            Posted by Chauncey Gandus | February 15, 2011, 10:39 pm
    • Doesn’t he have 4 game winners. The one against the Pistons where he took over??

      Posted by Matt | February 21, 2011, 9:31 am
  5. Can you do the same Playoff-only analysis on some of the people above Kobe? (Lebron, Nowitzki, Wade, Roy) I’m not surprised that his playoff clutch % is slightly lower, but I would bet everyone’s is.

    Posted by John | February 3, 2011, 7:01 pm
    • Hi John. Thanks for your comments and great suggestion.

      I am planning to write a future post regarding Game winning/ Game tying Playoff shots for all of the star players that you mentioned plus more. In the interim, I have been able to validate that Lebron is 5/9 in the playoffs – 4/7 for GW shots and 1/1 in Game Tying Shots. More on a future post.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 3, 2011, 7:54 pm
      • Your numbers don’t add up, just saying.

        Posted by Texasbwoy | February 21, 2011, 3:51 pm
      • You’re just twisting facts and numbers. You act like no one else has taken an economics class. Head out of your ass, please. How many of Lebron’s “5” were nearly as difficult or under such a short time frame? How many of those shots were done by traveling? How many times did he just totally give up and not contribute AT ALL while his team needs him? He can “get” to the playoffs, sure. But he can’t epitomize the sort of “hero” thing Kobe has. Kobe’s teammates believe in him, and they’re sort of inspired by how he plays, so he elevates the play of his entire team. The only other player that had that sort of leadership was MJ. You can’t view stats like they’re everything. It’s like trying to “rate” who’s the best guitar player. Basketball is an art, and Kobe has consistently been the best in the league in that regard for a lot of seasons. He was on the All Star Team as a rookie.

        Here’s Kobe’s list:

        * 3-time NBA Champion: 2000, 2001, 2002
        * 2-time Scoring Champion: 2006, 2007
        * 9-time NBA All-Star: 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
        * Has started in each of his appearances
        * 9 consecutive appearances (No All-Star game in 1999 due to league-wide lock-out)

        * 2-time NBA All-Star Game MVP: 2002, 2007
        * 9-time All-NBA Selection:

        * First Team: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007
        * Second Team: 2000, 2001
        * Third Team: 1999, 2005

        * 7-time All-Defensive Selection:

        * First Team: 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007
        * Second Team: 2001, 2002

        * NBA All-Rookie Second Team: 1997
        * NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Champion: 1997
        * NBA regular season leader in:

        * points: 2003 (2,461), 2006 (2,832, 7th in NBA history), 2007 (2,430)
        * points per game: 2006 (35.4, 9th in NBA history), 2007 (31.6)
        * field goals attempted: 2006 (2,173), 2007 (1,757)
        * field goals made: 2003 (868), 2006 (978), 2007 (813)
        * free throws attempted: 2007 (768)
        * free throws made: 2006 (696), 2007 (667)

        * 2nd most points in a Game: 81 (January 22, 2006 vs. the Toronto Raptors)

        * Youngest player to be named to the NBA All-Defensive Team (1999-2000)

        NBA Records
        # Most three-point field goals made, one game: 12 (January 7, 2003 vs. Seattle SuperSonics)
        # Most three-point field goals made, one half: 8 (March 28, 2003 vs. Washington Wizards; shared with 5 players).
        # Most consecutive three-point field goals made, one game: 9 (January 7, 2003 vs. Seattle SuperSonics).
        # Most free throws made, one quarter: 14 (3rd quarter, December 20, 2005 vs. Dallas Mavericks; shared with 5 players).
        # Most free throws attempted, one quarter: 16 (3rd quarter, December 20, 2005 vs. Dallas Mavericks).

        I don’t believe Lebron’s resume is quite as impressive in a similar time span. You can say that Kobe has teammates, but he was leading those teammates. Only an idiot would suggest that Shaq “lead” the Lakers. He wasn’t coordinating the plays and dictating the flow of the basketball game. He was in the paint waiting for assists, waiting for Kobe to give him the ball. Kobe was the Leader on a team that won the championship 5 times. Few people in Kobe’s time have made that accomplishment. Kobe is a winner in the grandest perspective. When looking at his prime, 5 championships in 10 years? That’s unbelievable, considering he lead every single one. On second thought, only player has a similar accomplishment: Michael Jordan.

        Basketball isn’t all about stats. You’re muting your own enjoyment of the game by taking out the passion and drive, as well as leadership ability and iron will that Kobe has when engrossing yourself in the sport. How about we look at Kobe’s comeback stats? I sincerely doubt Lebron has better comeback stats, or more spectacular comebacks. Lebron can never be what Kobe was. He’s just bigger and stronger, but he doesn’t have the talent and finesse that Kobe has. Kobe has the most refined mid-range jumper in the league, period. He and Jordan had that same “flashy” mid-range shooting vibe.

        You’ve got wild Kobe hate, simply by implying that Kobe isn’t just dominantly more intelligent than the other players. Kobe is a professor at this point.

        Posted by Jamie V. | October 16, 2011, 2:36 pm
        • *Note, he wasn’t on the AllStar Team as a rookie, but he was voted for it as a rookie, and he’s been in the All Star Team many times.

          ALSO, this is the funnier part. Those achievements are from a 2008 list. They don’t even account for his 2009-2010 championships.

          Posted by Jamie V. | October 16, 2011, 2:39 pm
          • The championships are not “his”, as to imply that Kobe has sole posses ion/responsibility for them. Of course, Kobe was a needed component of that team, but so were Gasol, Bynum, Artest, and Odom. Kobe is likely the most important piece, but hardly the sole reason the Lakers won.

            I don’t think anyone that has written an article on here “hates” Kobe or anyone else.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | October 17, 2011, 8:48 am
        • WOW! Dunk Champion. Kobe joins an elite class that includes Dee Brown, harold Minor, and Kenny Walker. What a fantastci accomplishment!!

          There is no question as to Kobe Bryant being a great player.

          Just try to use relevent data that confirms that and not rely on exhibition stuff.

          You list Kobe as a two time scoring champion and that is a great accomplishment, yet how does that compare with Jordan’s TEN scoring titles? How about Wilt’s 7?

          The scoring titles in of itself does not indicate greatness. Ice had 4 scoring titles, Allen Iverson also had 4, Tracy McGrady has 2 scoring titles. Neil Johsnton had two, as did Joe Fulks. Were they great players, too? Kevin Durant ALREADY has two scoring titles.

          If you wish to build the case for Kobe, talk about these virtues instead:

          Minutes played
          Total points scored
          Free throw attempts
          Free throw percentage
          Black Ink, or leading the league in key categories, like FGM, FGA, Games played, Total Points. Seasonal impact has much greater meaning than a single game.

          After all, is it really an indication of greatness that Scott Skiles had 30 assists for the 7-23 Orlando Magic against the 6-23 Denver Nuggets on December 30, 1990 game (Final Score155-116)?

          The fact that Kobe had 81 doesn’t mean that Kobe is great. It only shows that he scored 81 points that game. I’ll give you a hint, it was against the Detroit Pistons in a 137-139 loss for the player’s team.

          To enforce that point; can you tell me without checking who has the third highest single game total (the mark that Kobe passed)? Can you name who held the single game scoring mark prior to Wilt?

          All Star game appearances are relevant, but All Star performance not so much as it is largely and exhibition game.

          Team results are significant as are post season results, and Kobe has a terrific record there.

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | October 17, 2011, 9:22 am
        • Rather than speculate or believe what LeBron or any other plays has or has not accomplished, why don’t you actually do the research and discover if your beliefs are indeed truth?

          What does “led” mean? Is the nature of being a guard as opposed to a post player in of itself congruent to “leading”?

          Wouldn’t then Magic, also be in that same discussion?

          Is it possible that Ron Harper was a leader on the Bulls and Lakers?

          Was Bob Horry the leader on the Spurs and Rockets and Lakers?

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | October 17, 2011, 10:48 am
        • “When looking at his prime, 5 championships in 10 years? That’s unbelievable, considering he lead every single one. On second thought, only player has a similar accomplishment: Michael Jordan.”

          Don’t forget Bill Russell: 11 championships in 13 years – as many as Jordan and Kobe combined.

          Posted by Brandon Crockett | January 7, 2012, 9:09 am
  6. lol….so you did game winners what about when kobe takes over the 4th like against the Kings, Portland, Suns, Celtics, Magic, detroit, spurs…seriously people theres a reason why Kobe has 5 rings…but go with stats ill go with results

    Posted by Abeer | February 4, 2011, 4:00 am
    • Abeer – Thanks for reading. The point of my article was not to say that Kobe has not had clutch moments. It is to simply say that we only remember the makes and not the misses. My article was focused exclusively on game winning shots, and the foregone conclusion that declares Kobe is the clear cut choice. As you can see from the data, that is not the case.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 4, 2011, 8:35 am
    • Say, Abeer,

      Stats are results.

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | September 15, 2011, 1:05 am
  7. You should do one for Jordan as well, just so everyone can seehow close or far Kobe is to the greatest ever.

    Posted by Juan José Ortiz | February 4, 2011, 5:58 am
    • Juan – Thanks for reading and great suggestion. We have been able to gather the data on Jordan as well and will be publishing for a future post. Stay tuned!

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 4, 2011, 8:33 am
      • What’s the point in that? MJ’s long gone, but in respect to that, yes MJ’s the Greatest to ever play the game, but he’s not on the floor now, Kobe is the man of this era… and BTW, I’m a Celtics fan.

        Posted by Rhoniel | February 21, 2011, 5:38 pm
  8. Good read. im a laker fan- wearing a kobe 81 shirt as i type, so take it with a grain of salt. im also a stat-head, so i love this stuff. one thing to remember is that with out Kobe’s heroics over the past decade the lakers would not have even had a chance to put him in the position to TAKE all those last second shots. You acknowledge that he is a top 10 ever player. I think that is right on track. The guy is as good as it gets and there is no reason to have to compare him to MJ, but we must admit if we wanted to we certainly could. And to those that said “no shaq no ring” i think that is just silly. Celtics- four hall of famers. Bulls, three hall of famers. Lakers- two hall of famers. Anyways, keep writing… until then.

    Posted by StuLA | February 4, 2011, 10:28 am
    • Thanks for taking the time to read StuLA.

      I think that you are right on – Kobe’s contributions to his team should not be overlooked. Without him hitting many of those big shots,they would not have even been in a position to win or tie the game. I think what I was simply trying to communciate to the readers is that perception has been assumed to be reality. And sometimes, that is not accurate.

      I still feel pretty strongly that he is not MJ, and in a future article, will be sure to document all of data on MJ’s misses and makes during the playoffs that the Chasing23 team has accumilated. I’ll give you a clue – there is a reason why he is considered the greatest.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 4, 2011, 11:37 am
  9. thanks for the response. MJ is the greatest… i dont take issue w that. i love that guy- scottie too. what i think is funny is that people (this website included) cannot seem to allow for their greatness to be separate. Kobe is not “chasing 23.” if anything he admires his accomplishments, based his game of MJ’s and is just trying to do his own thing. Writers and fans are the ones that bring this stuff up; for what reason- speculative argument? i love basketball and am lucky to be a LA-lifer. but i will never boo non-laker players. That is essentially what these websites and fans are doing. loving your guy doesn’t mean hating other guys. Respect your team and your game and acknowledge that there are other greats out there. i know this article is not at all about disrespecting Kobe, if anything it is the other way around. but it is posted on a site called chasing 23… so let’s just all agree MJ is the best but there is room for a lot of other great players to be recognized.

    Posted by StuLA | February 4, 2011, 11:42 am
    • Valid points. I think that it is unfair to compare Kobe as well. He has repeatedly acknowledged MJ as a mentor and predecessor, and publically shied away from the comparisons. Would he like to be recognized as the greatest? Absolutely – but thats what makes him a competitor. He has the innate confidence to believe that he is best anytime he steps on the court.

      But in a sense, guys like Kobe, Lebron, and Wade will always be chasing a guy like MJ, because of their sense of competitiveness and desire to be the best. At least until we as a basketball society can unanimously acknowledge a new greatest player of all time.

      But in another sense, it is unfair to all of the players who have come after Jordan to continue to be held to his standards. Its as if he has become an urban legend that has never missed a shot, which is simply not true. In many ways, his legacy still hangs over modern day players like a black cloud that cannot be escaped. No matter what they do, they are condemned – they are either trying too hard to be Jordan, or if they try to cultivate their own style, not Jordan enough.

      That is the reason that we titled our site Chasing23. It is both an homage to Jordan as the greatest player, but also pointing to the parody that is his legend. In a sense, we will always be Chasing 23, even if someone comes along and is in reality better than Jordan. We are continually looking for the next “greatest if all time”, yet even if he comes around, he will still have to be compared to the Jordan myth, fair or unfair.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 4, 2011, 12:17 pm
    • KB is not chasing MJ…now.

      But I am sure he did lot of things MJ did before and other players didn’t do it.

      Jump and swing his fist after win a champ? Who do that? KB and MJ. Jump on the table and swing his fist after win a champ? Who do that? KB and MJ.

      Posted by Jimmy | February 4, 2011, 9:32 pm
    • the biggest reason why people are starting to not-like Kobe are some journalists and Kobe fans…I am a huge Lebron James fan mostly because of his qualities regarding team play – he respects his teammates more than anyone, he recognized (painfully in Cleveland) that he can’t win without his teammates being involved and therefore keeps them involved during the whole game…
      When comparing Lebron to Kobe, most Kobe fans will say 2 things. First thing is, 5 is more than 2 (not taking into consideration at all that Kobe was #2 on those teams, and Shaq, one of the most dominant players ever was #1), and Kobe had the privilege to be traded to the Lakers and coached by (arguably) the greatest coach ever, Phil Jackson. The second things Kobe fans like to say, Kobe is clutch, Lebron chokes. And when providing evidence (both stats and videos), they keep coming up with excuses like how many times Kobe kept his team in the game, brought his team back, he makes more difficult shots (btw, a person chooses and puts himself in a position to take a good or bad shot, except when we’re talking about buzzer beaters) etc, and mostly provide no proof, just the assumption…I have nothing against Kobe, I personally don’t prefer his game style, when double and triple teamed he takes the shot anyway (while Lebron almost always tries to put his team in the best possible position to win – and when he does, like passing to a wide open Haslem at the free throw line, he gets criticized), he ran out lots of players from the Lakers, but I do agree that he is a top 10-15 all time player…

      Posted by adambe | September 23, 2015, 2:38 am
  10. good points. i get it. kobe does want to be the best of all time (who doesnt at whatever it is they work at) so in some way shape or form there is a standard by which he must surpass, and we all know that standard is MJ. It’s really scary how much these guys are like one another on the basketball court. extraordinary and then some. i guess we are lucky to have seen them both. i wish i remembered some of the older greats b/c they too set a stage that is unreal. i marvel at their stats; unbelievable. think Kevin Love is amazing, check out Moses Malone. Like Monte Ellis, check out the Big O. You love Blake Griffin, Karl Malone did it for like 14 seasons. Amazing…. love this game.

    Posted by StuLA | February 4, 2011, 12:43 pm
    • Well said. We love the NBA as well, and fully appreciate it’s history. Feel free to subscribe to our website for email notifications (front page, upper right) regarding future posts. We have every intention of writing about both current and former legends.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 4, 2011, 2:11 pm
    • did it ever cross your mind that the main reason as to why kobe and MJ are like one another as u said is simply because kobe copies everything that MJ did… well, at least the things that he can manage to immitate. kobe is all about hype that’s why kobetards are not into stat’s. lastly… kobe is the “closest thing to MJ myth”… the real question is, how close? sorry but it’s lightyears away close… just sayin.

      Posted by tazy11 | November 11, 2011, 8:49 am
  11. I think Kobe Bryant is so over-rated. Lebron James is the King! Kobe has akways been carried by Shaq and Pau. Do not commit blasphemy by comparing Kobe to MJ23!

    Posted by Mitchell McCaughan | February 14, 2011, 11:07 am
    • Thanks for the read Mitchell. I do not necessarily agree that Kobe Bryant is overrated overall, but he is certainly overrated in the clutch, and particularly game winning shots. In the future, I will be publishing more information that focuses on Kobe’s playoff performances beyond just the game winning shot ,since clutch performance encompasses so much more. I can tell you though, that the results will remain fairly similar – he misses far more than he makes and fans, particularly members of Kobe Nation, only want to remember the ones that go in.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 14, 2011, 12:15 pm
      • sorry bro but i have to disagree with u on kobe not being overrated overall… kobe is “overrated” in all aspect of his game! u know he’s not clucth like everyone is pretending him to be therefore u also know that those defensive 1st team that he got were all crap. rebounds? assist’s? cmon man. its all about marketing and we all know where he plays for…

        Posted by tazy11 | November 11, 2011, 9:01 am
        • tazy11 – Thanks for the read. I actually had a chance to reflect on my article over the summer and stand corrected in assuming that Kobe will end up Top 5 when all is said in done. Based on my criteria, I believe that will be impossible, no matter how much he adheres to the ring counters out there. What the other players (that I consider to be Top 5 ) have accomplished is far more impressive to me.

          With that said, I believe that Kobe Bryant is both overrated and underrated depending upon the viewpoint. He is polarizing and therefore incites a tremendous amount of hatred from his detractors. Likewise, his supports are fervently passionate to the point of myopic emotional blindness. He certainly is overrated in the clutch as I have documented in my article, but underrated defensively as I believe that he is one of the best on the ball defenders that we have ever seen.

          After careful reconsideration, I have him comfortably ranked at #10 All-time.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | November 27, 2011, 6:45 pm
          • realist,

            I think that #10 is too high. He may get to #11 or #12, but to pass West and Robertson, he would really have to improve his efficiency as well as the cumulative totals.

            I think this is unlikely given his age, nagging injuries and Mike Brown.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | November 27, 2011, 10:55 pm
          • Paulie,
            Ultimately, rankings come down to critieria, and if one person’s criteria differs from another, their rankings are likley to differ as well. The important thing is to have an established criteria and stick to it, which I know that you yourself adhere to.

            I plan on publishing my own criteria in another post, but in the interim, understand how you may believe that Kobe is more comfortably placed at #13 than #10. Regardless, after careful examination throughout the summer, I feel pretty comfortable at #10, given the alignment with my crtieria. Utlimately, and I know that this will surprise you, I have him currently ranked higher than Bird, Russell, and Malone.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | November 27, 2011, 11:47 pm
          • I have a very difficult time placing Kobe any higher than #10. I can easily foresee Kobe surpassing Shaq, Moses and Hakeem, but I have a difficult time placing him ahead of any of the rest of my top hierarchy.
            This is due to what I perceive as an “intangible” quotient that the others had for positive impact on their teammates and results towards winning. Jordan, Russell, Magic, Bird, Duncan, and West were all inspiring leaders for their teams that went well beyond the stat lines.
            It could be argued that Kobe was a by-product (victim) of the modern ego-maniacal era of the ESPN age, but to ascend to the level beyond any Bird and Russell, Kobe should have transcended that himself rather than seek it out.

            Bryant certainly didn’t have the impact on the game that Kareem or Wilt had. Had he been a more efficient scorer and handed out more assists and had fewer turnovers, I could put him ahead of Robertson to #9.

            James will likely end up at #7 or #8 by the time he is done.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | November 28, 2011, 12:24 am
          • realist,

            After reviewing the records, there is just no justifiable manner to place Bryant ahead of Robertson, West, Duncan, Chamberlain, Johnson, Bird, Abdul-Jabbar, Russell or Jordan.

            Presently, he is also behind Olajuwan, Mo Malone and Shaq. I am also having a difficult time seeing how he passes those players as well. Bryant’s raw totals are escalating, but that in of itself is not a sign of greatness, though longevity does factor into the equation.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | November 30, 2011, 12:38 am
    • pfft,,just look it at it this way dude.Could Shaq have won his rings without kobe?NO(well actually he did,he had wade that time though)Pau coudnt have won his rings either if he didnt join kobe and the lakers.
      Same goes for the other greats we have in the nba.
      -Pierce,allen, and garnett has each other
      -Magic with jabbar and worthy
      -jordan with pippen
      -and now we have miami’s big three
      ..the list just goes on and on
      bottom line is,no one man can win it all without back-up or sumthin

      Posted by ECW | February 22, 2011, 7:01 am
  12. You know you’re an obsessive hater when you fabricate data to prove a point.

    2002 Sacramento Kings Game 7 Miss Bryant misses a game winning shot with 8 seconds left
    2002 Sacramento Kings Game 7 Miss Bryant misses a game winning tip shot with 8 seconds left

    The first shot was completely and entirely made up. The Lakers inbounded the ball with 8 seconds, Shaq took a shot with 4 seconds left, and Kobe, another Laker, and a King converged on the ball for the following “tip” that you credit Kobe for.

    You’re an embarrassment.

    Posted by John | February 16, 2011, 1:00 am
    • Yep. Neither shot can be credited to Kobe and the timing is just flat out wrong. Wow. So the writer was just flat out not telling the truth when he said he we watched all of the games. Oh, and the game 3 vs the timberwolves does not match the game recap at all as well. That means there are at least 4 things completely false on this list.

      Whoever wrote this turd. Please respond. Stand by what you write and own up.

      What is your explanation?

      Posted by JJ | February 16, 2011, 2:23 am
      • At least he gives notice that the blog is for the moderately intelligent.

        Did you actually think people wouldn’t double check the BS you spew?


        Posted by JJ | February 16, 2011, 2:27 am
        • Behold the fury of Kobe Nation!!

          Thanks for the read and the catch. One of the Game 7 misses was actually a typo and should have been reflected as “Game 4” in which Kobe missed a driving layup whereby the rebound went to Horry who drilled a 3-pointer and won the game. The chart has been corrected accordingly. However, the facts still remain that Kobe was 6/22 during game winning/game tying attempts.

          With regards to the tip shot in Game 7, a tip shot is still considered a shot attempt based upon NBA statistical rules. Sorry,I do not make the rules, I just report the results. Had Kobe made that shot, I would have given him full credit just as I gave him credit for the rebound and put-back against San Antonio in 2002. But if it makes you guys feel better, you are welcome to parade around believing that Kobe was 6/21 instead of 6/22.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | February 16, 2011, 11:18 am
          • please post the play by play or evidence that kobe was credited with a shot attempt for the tip in.

            please do the same thing for the supposed play against the sixers in the finals. because i just watched the replay on youtube and kobe turned the ball over. not a shot at all.

            so if you can’t provide the actual play by play and show us that kobe was credited with the shot, please remove them because its not accurate.

            all i want is accurate info, and that list was/is not accurate.

            Posted by JJ | February 16, 2011, 2:17 pm
        • Do your research before challenging the facts dumbass. Kobe missed a tip shot in 02:

          D.Wade is much more clutch than him and showed in the Finals in 2006.

          Posted by Hoops Mania | February 16, 2011, 4:56 pm
          • uhhh. what?

            how about the sixers play by play as well.

            i said i wanted accurate info. it went down on the play by play so i accept that.

            but i need to see the play by play of the sixers game because it really was a turnover and not a shot.

            and lol at me doing my research. i caught three mistakes that have been fixed already.

            Posted by JJ | February 16, 2011, 7:32 pm
        • Looks like it could have gone either way to me in Phili. Kobe was going up for a shot but had the ball knocked out beforehand. Could have been either.

          This is my issue with stats though – even if it is not counted as a shot attempt, it is still a unclutch moment which is not shown in the 6/22.

          Posted by Chrstophersen | February 16, 2011, 8:27 pm
  13. One of the things that forever annoys me about “CLUTCH” is the way it is defined.

    Who in this “stat era” is going to define clutch as more than just “makes/misses” with 3 seconds left. What about clutch within a certain time to get a decent shot? I’d rather have Kobe try a ridiculous shot with 3 seconds left then Devean George, I’m sorry. But the makes/misses count the same. I want makes/misses judged by how many seconds left when the possession started.

    Next, I want to know why is clutch only “the end of game”. Basketball purists admire Kobe because it’s not just the game winner it’s the “Control” of the game and momentum swings. If the Lakers are down by 10 in the 2nd quarter, how many times does Kobe go on a scoring spree to keep the team close? What about in the 4th quarter? The whole POINT of a star player is to be able to gauge the game and turn it on when need be.

    A great example of this is the recent Lakers/Celtics game. Kobe goes off bringing his team back in the 4th quarter. Then, he runs out of gas and is lambasted for taking too many shots when clearly he should be given credit for keeping the team in the game.

    Recently, a stat was broken that showed the Lakers had not lost by 20 points for ~80-100 games. I wonder why that is? Maybe to have a star player constantly gauging the game and being “CLUTCH” enough to give you a succession of baskets when your team is reeling is equally , if not more, important then a guy who makes the shot at the end of games (since the league rate for end of game shots is low anyway).

    For a guy who loves stats, I’m so unsatisified with this clutch talk. I’d rather see nothing at all, then just a limited view of what is clutch and not clutch. But alas, webpages need hits, newspapers need subscribers and so on and so forth…

    Posted by Korey | February 16, 2011, 11:10 am
    • Note: the “3 seconds left” comment was exaggerated purposely. I realize it’s usually with 3 minutes left, +/-5, blah blah…

      Posted by Korey | February 16, 2011, 11:12 am
    • Thanks for the read Korey. I actually agree with some of your points in the sense that clutchness should not limited to merely last second shots. For example, had Kobe gone 3/4 in the final 2 minutes of the game, but his only miss was a game winning shot, would it have been fair to say that he was not clutch? Probably not. But that was not the purpose of my article:

      1.) The point of my article was to simply measure one aspect of clutch, or “game winning/game tying” performances which are typically considered to be reflective of the most pressure-packed moments during a game. The results show that Kobe has failed 16 times while succeeding 6 times.

      2.) Even if we were to measure clutchness in other ways (last 10 seconds, last 24 seconds, last 2 minutes, last 5 min, or the entire 4Q), no mater how we slice and dice it, the results show that Kobe has performed extremely poorly. I will be writing about this in a future article.

      Just an example, since 2002, Kobe has shot 322/768 or 41.9% in the playoffs during the 4Q. Moreover, from 2004-2009 (based on, Kobe has shot 45/109 or 41.3% in the playoffs, with 5 minutes remaining in the game and no team up by more than 5 points, a fair way to guage the importance of a game. While these statistics may not be 100% reflective of clutch situations, they cannot be completely disregarded, and tend to be at least 80% accurate in measuring true in-game clutch situations. More importantly however, is the fact that there is not a single metric, not one, that indicates that Kobe is indeed clutch. Isn’t this telling? The player that is regarded as the most clutch in the NBA does not have a single statistic validating our assumptions? Instead, we are left to simply point to individual games where he succeeds while disregarding those where he fails?

      So in response to your question about “Control” the data shows that for every two games that Kobe was successful in controlling, there were 5 games where he missed numerous shots and was unable to control. For every two games in which Kobe went 4/6 with his team down, there is data that shows that there are 5 games in which he went 2/8. For every two games where he brings them back in the 4q, there are 5 games where he shoots them out in the 4Q or misses several critical shots. Pointing to a single instance, or single game, is complete disingenuous and unfair. The only way to reach the truth is to look at each and every single situation and that is what the various clutch metrics try and do.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 16, 2011, 12:09 pm
      • As a representative of Kobe Nation, I would like to close this argument.

        We, Kobe Nation, will stop saying Kobe is clutch. Instead, we will only say that Kobe works very hard, plays with a lot of emotion, is an above average player, has been a significant contributor to multiple championship teams, is not afraid to take big shots, and is fun to watch. Additionally, he is the player that GMS would choose to take a last second shot given a choice out of all active players.

        This way, we will not argue with those who present the “data”.

        But we should also not be cast in with the “blind faith” group, because don’t believe in the “data”.

        Ignoring the individual “data” in basketball is not the same as ignoring the outcomes of a medical trial, or ignoring scientifically validated theories. The “data” in basketball is not analogous to the outcomes of those experiments and theories, which are actually based on scientifically acceptable evidence, from carefully controlled experiments or from universally agreed upon axioms.

        No one here is arguing that Kobe is not 6 for 22 on game winning shots (actually I think someone above may have been). OK, I am not arguing that Kobe is not 6 for 22.
        I AM arguing what the implications are of being 6 for 22 on game-winners.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | February 16, 2011, 12:44 pm
      • Thanks for the response and I do appreciate the notion that Kobe has not performed well in the 4th quarter of playoffs from 2004-2009. I’d actually like to see that breakdown by year, since if we are talking Kobe w/Smush Parker, Kwame Brown, Lamar Odom, and Luke Walton as starters, the 4th quarter stat is STILL an entirely different perspective then if we are talking Kobe with a good team. There is something to 41% over 5 years though, but why is this analysis only for that small period? Kobe’s been playing 15 years no? Isnt that extremly shortsighted? So an interesting START to the analysis but incomplete as I’m sure you would admit.

        Also, I find these statements alarming:”
        Kobe has shot 45/109 or 41.3% in the playoffs, with 5 minutes remaining in the game and no team up by more than 5 points, a fair way to guage the importance of a game. While these statistics may not be 100% reflective of clutch situations, they cannot be completely disregarded, and tend to be at least 80% accurate in measuring true in-game clutch situations”

        How is that a fair way to gauge the “importance” of a game? The whole point of my original comments was that the importance of a game is varied upon momentum swings and keeping your team in the game. I’d like to reference a series I remember fondly when Kobe went bananas on the Sacramento Kings and Spurs in the playoffs. Is it somehow “LESS” important that he did so much damage that the game wasnt close in the 4th qtr? (feel free to double check these as these are my memories).

        And again, how do you measure “80%” of clutch situations. Again, defining clutch is subjective and limited to the 4th quarter of every game.

        Attempting to say that there is NOT ONE metric that says Kobe Bryant is clutch is as exaggerated as the same metrics that also state that Lou Williams is one of the most clutch players in the game (since the clutch metrics bias toward PGs as I’m sure you know).

        And if you are going to argue that there is NOT ONE metric that says Kobe Bryant is clutch, then you are going to then have to show me why the Lakers have been so successful “in spite” of Kobe’s non-clutchness.
        – Maybe, it’s given that in the regular season good teams have a higher margin of victory, there is a less opportunity for clutch. (that’s why you need to go year by year clutch for 2007-2009 and 98-2002)
        – In the playoffs, the margin of victory has to be significantly lower, so maybe the players around Kobe play at such a high level that it masks Kobe’s nonclutchness?
        – Maybe the Lakers’ 4th qtr D has been so good that even with a player as nonclutch as Kobe on the team taking the majority of shots, that they still prevail?

        I dont know the answer and I’d be willing to accept that Kobe is just not so clutch.

        But Kobe Bryant has been to the NBA Finals 7 of 14 seasons. The Lakers have only had 2 all-star players per season throughout those season (dont give me eddie jones, nick van exel, etc. i know, i know). So there has to BE SOME REASON that this has been an integral part of teams that consistently make the Finals.

        That has NOTHING to do with clutchness? OK, maybe so. But without answering the aforementioned question in detail (saying Kobe is no doubt a HoFer doesnt suffice) leaves the overall STORY of “Clutch or Not Clutch: Kobe Bryant”, an incomplete work.

        Nobody has looked at the career in full yet so many have the definitive answer. It’s very frustrating to say the least for the “moderately intelligent reader”.

        Posted by Korey | February 18, 2011, 10:28 am
        • should be “80% accurate of true in-game clutch situations”.

          What does that even mean?
          (Not to poke fun, but that’s similar to “50% of the time I’m 100% right” type jokes, no?)

          Posted by Korey | February 18, 2011, 10:30 am
        • Oh, and just to deflate the
          “THERE IS NOT ONE METRIC THAT SAYS KOBE BRYANT IS CLUTCH”…then I submit to you, Production Per 48 minutes of clutch time for Points (with the 5 minutes, +/- 5pts defined as clutch….as if being up by 7 w/5mins left is not clutch!)

          2011 – #1 (fg% 39)
          2010 – #2 (fg% 44)
          2009 – #1 (fg% 46)
          2008 – #1 (fg% 45)

          Well, Gee willikers Batman! There is no “MYTH” about Kobe Bryant being the “King of Clutch”.

          For the last 4 years, Kobe Bryant is the guy who PRODUCES the most points in the NBA in the 4th quarter during clutch time.

          Is he the most efficient? Nope.
          But that’s not the metric.

          But people somehow forgive Kobe for that because by the STATS the guy who puts the most points up IN THE CLUTCH is none other than Kobe.

          Yes, Kobe is 6/22 in the playoffs in the clutch. And Yes, Kobe is still the guy who does the most (point production) in the clutch in the NBA.

          Those are the stats. Those are the facts.


          Posted by Korey | February 18, 2011, 11:59 am
          • 2008 should be #2.

            Posted by Korey | February 18, 2011, 12:00 pm
          • I think that this illustrates the point that both Henry Abbot and I have made. Even a broken clock is right twice in day and if you take a ton of shots, you are going to eventually score points. And no one shoots more than Kobe. With that said, there is certainly something to be said about someone who has the ability to CREATE his own shot (Lebron, Wade, Roy, etc..) and it is only fair to compare Kobe to those who have the same ability. But when doing this comparison, the evidence does not support Kobe being significantly better, which is why the presumption by GMs, coaches, and players, that Kobe is most clutch in the league, becomes baffling.

            It all comes down to how you define clutch. Per my article, I do not define it as scoring the most points. I define it as succeeding most often when given the opportunities, and shot attempts are certainly one measurement of opportunties. Again, this is not to say Kobe has not had his share of clutch moments, it is simply that he has had more chances than anyone else.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | February 18, 2011, 6:09 pm
          • I agree. It’s hard to be the most efficient clutch shooter when you take more shots than most in clutch situations.

            Posted by DFJ | February 21, 2011, 7:20 pm
        • Let me try and summarize as succinctly as I can since our discussion is becoming somewhat sidetracked from the game winning shot stat, to more general clutch stats. I will address more in a future post and want to save some of my good stuff for then:

          o The 2004-2009 analysis is only for 5 years because it is the only 5/5 playoff data publically available on Kobe per I understand your skepticism over measuring only a 5-year period, and it is a fair point. However, I have had an opportunity to review all of the different data sets in full since I began this analysis, and based upon his poor performances, there is absolutely nothing to indicate that Kobe would have performed any better from years 1997-2003 when he still had yet to even reach his prime. However, I am open to any evidence that would dispute my assumption.
          o 80% is a subjective assessment on my part, and in fact is probably too lenient. I am not sure how you could NOT consider the last 5 minutes in a playoff game where no team up or down by more than 5 points, a critical crunchtime juncture in the game. But I certainly open to a different perspective. I allowed for 20% buffer in case there is an unusual circumstance during that 5 min period (i.e. opposing team’s best player gets hurt and Lakers are in actuality in full control of the game and proceed to score the next 10 consecutive, etc..). Regardless, I feel very comfortable with the 5/5 as do most GMs and coaches since this is the primary “clutch” metric that they use for their scouting reports.
          o Referencing a single series or 2 series where Kobe went banana’s is not really fair and somewhat misleading. You are singling out 2 instances that you happen to remember fondly, but disregarding each of the instances where Kobe failed to go “bananas”. This is why facts and evidence are important. Lay them all out. The only way to fairly gauge Kobe’s performance is by looking at each and every instance and evaluating accordingly. This is the beauty of the game winning shot stat. I guarantee you that most Laker fans had no idea that he missed 16 shots with the game on the line.
          o All of the data, whether it is game winning shot, last 1 minutes, last 2 minutes, last 5 minutes, or entire 4Q, show that Kobe has historically performed poorly during “crunchtime”. However, I am open to seeing data, or ANY consistent evidence that proves otherwise. Providing individual memories or singling out games is insufficient. Show me all of the facts.
          o Kobe has been successful in winning games despite unclutch moments because he has simply had the best supporting cast in basketball for the majority of his career (sans 2005-2007). As Doc Rivers stated “winning is like a deodorant – it covers up the stink”. In other words, Kobe had the luxury of going 6/22 in the biggest game of his career and his team still winning. Lebron, Wade, and even MJ for the first part of his career did not.
          o Whether he has 1 or 2 All-Stars on his team is irrelevant. Kobe has had the most talent on his team for the majority of years he has played. Moreover, I firmly believe that Odom and Bynum would be perennial All-Stars if they played on any other team.
          o Lastly, I want to reiterate that this does not mean that Kobe has not had clutch moments, nor does it mean he is incapable of being clutch. I am simply saying that he is overrated based upon the perceptions that the media has created for him.

          Thanks for the read and I applaud you challenging conventional wisdom. As previously mentioned, I plan to publish more on this in an upcoming article.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | February 18, 2011, 12:26 pm
          • I’ll say I do appreciate you coming with the heat on the matter and presenting some facts to back up your opinion.

            My “stat check” was literally only like 15 minutes and I’m way too lazy to spend a weekend or a week digging every stat and trying to prove this or that. (Well lazy and involved with the never ending saga of grad. school but I digress…)

            Numbers dont lie and the numbers you show do tell a story.

            The main part I’m challenging is that is that if you are going to use the #s on one side of the equation, you’ve got to use the numbers to show the other angles. Otherwise you look biased.

            In future articles from your sight, I hope to see more than “Kobe has always had a great supporting cast” and show me why that cast was so great. This statement is just too much to digest:
            “Kobe has been successful in winning games despite unclutch moments because he has simply had the best supporting cast in basketball for the majority of his career (sans 2005-2007)”

            Without something more substantive to back that, we are in barbershop talk about whose cast was better than whose and this that. Over the years, teams like Denver, Portland have had some killer talent squads but couldnt take L.A. The Kings I will argue were the better team than L.A. but lost because Peja became “unclutch” and Doug Christie went bonehead. The list goes on and on of “superior” teams (in my eyes) that couldnt take the Shaq/Kobe combo or now the Kobe/Pau combo.

            But we can get into this all day if we want to get into the argument of why Kobe has rings or has been successful and other SGs havent. The common theory is that no one player can be *That* lucky to win so much yet their is a crowd that will say yes, replace Kobe with any player X and same results happen. For a good portion of their careers, Vince Carter and Kobe had the same stats (most similar by Basketball prosepctus and whoever else), but saying if you exchange Kobe w/Vince and Vince would have 5 rings would be basketball sacrilege on the highest order.

            Those arguments sound like “hate”, “bias”, whatever word you like though with the better quantitative arguments on why you think this/that.

            That’s all I’m really pushing for from you , since you seem to have the time and resources to really dig and figure this stuff out.

            I hope to see the story be more completed on your end in the future but I do appreciate the analysis now. however if you are going to do this full study, please please please consider the other angles, quantify them, and bring more heat lest this be lost in the many “Kobe isnt really so clutch” articles that pop up every 2/3 months…

            *** Sidebar***
            (I actually did know Kobe missed 16 shots before because I’ve seen every playoff make/miss! Matter of fact, I’ve probably seen >60% of all Laker games since Kobe was a rook and Nick Van Exel was my favorite player back in the day. He was CLUTCH in my book and you dont have the stats to take that away from me!)

            Posted by Korey | February 18, 2011, 5:20 pm
          • Thanks for the feedback Korey. We will definitely keep your suggestions in mind. We actually have a book on different angles, takes for just Kobe alone and will likely share that information as we go along. Just the recent exchange between you and I alone can amount to 15 different topics. I agree with you though, the important thing will be to remain unbiased and present the facts in support of a fair opinion and I assure you that I will respond to some of your posts in a future article.

            With regards to Nick Van Smack, he was definitely an original.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | February 18, 2011, 6:16 pm
          • Your “Bynum would be a perennial All-Star” on any other team comment was a joke. The guy can’t stay healthy, which is not a knock on him, just reality. When he first came in, and I saw how much raw talent he had, I was excited, but then he just had injury after injury. He also waited too long to have his off-season surgery, upsetting team chemistry at the start of this season. I wish LA had gone with the Melo trade, because there is a huge upside to bringing in a scorer to take the load (or perceived load)off of Kobe. Bynum sometimes seems to hide in plain sight on the court, a lot of that due to Kobe demanding the ball, of course.

            Posted by Stone | February 21, 2011, 8:53 am
          • I disagree Stone. Bynum would have absolutely been an All-Star on any other team (assuming he could stay healthy) and would have had the ball in his hands much more often. If you remember back to the beginning of the 2009 season when Gasol was hurt, Bynum actually averges 20-10, All-Star caliber numbers. I agree with you that he is challenged and acts often interested in this Laker offense where he tends to get fewer touches.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | February 21, 2011, 9:46 am
    • why are you saying devean george? the point of this article is to show that kobe is not the greatest clutch player of all time. yes i would rather have kobe shoot than devean, but i would hands down rather have the ball in jordans hands than kobes

      Posted by jimmy martinez is a tool | April 27, 2011, 5:02 pm
  14. To the person that made this article your a FUCKING! MORON how in the fuck can you say that Kobe isn’t clutch you gay fag he is no doubt about it one of the greatest clutch NBA players in the history of the game perfect example he hit 6 game winning shots in the 2009-2010 season 3 of those 6 teams he hit those game winning shots off of(Celtics, Heat, Bucks) all made the playoffs that year now another thing that you brought up you give a list of the clutch moments in Kobe’s career but you left out one important moment Game 4 of the 2000 NBA Finals against the Pacers when Shaq got foul out Kobe single handely took over the game late in the fourth quarter and in OT scoring 8 of the Lakers 10 points in that period now my last arguement in this comment one of the main ways to be considered clutch in any sport is if your a winner and that’s what Kobe is he’s won 5 championships no further question oh and P.S FUCK OFF DUMBASS!!!!!!

    Posted by ultimatorsports | February 19, 2011, 8:02 pm
    • how do you really feel, Ultimator? :)

      Posted by Brown Mamba | February 19, 2011, 9:19 pm
    • Honestly, I’m touched. I just wish you have figured out how to use a period.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 19, 2011, 10:43 pm
    • How can you say that being a winner is being clutch? Matt Millen won 4 super bowl rings, with 3 different teams. These were the only three teams he ever played for, but you’ve probably never heard of him. He won everywhere he played, but he’s not acknowledged as clutch. By your “main way to be considered clutch in any sport,” Kobe is nowhere near being as clutch as people claim he is. By your theory, Bill Russell is the most clutch of all time, followed by Sam Jones and then KC Jones. I believe we would all say that “winning” could be best classified as winning championships, and by your theory, since these guys have won the most as players, they are the most clutch players to ever play the game. Also, you are basing about a third of your argument on one instance. Players who are unknown can take over games if they get hot. Getting hot and taking over one game is not that impressive. I’m not saying Kobe isn’t impressive, but its almost like you’re talking up a double standard, especially with the winning part. There are a whole lot of players who have won more than 5 rings, but you probably don’t think that all of those players are more clutch than Kobe. Remove the blinders please, you’re embarassing yourself.

      Posted by Wowza | February 21, 2011, 9:47 am
      • Okay your a FUCKING dumbass if you look at most experts they will they you that winning is important part of being Clutch perfect example the man you guys all dick-suck Michael Jordan
        won 6 championships in the 1990s and i think personally that he is Greatest Clutch NBA Player of all time and what you find out is that some of the greatest Clutch players in the history of NBA all won championships(Bird, Magic, Horry, and West)so part of being clutch is winning.

        Posted by ultimatorsports | February 21, 2011, 11:07 am
    • You are obviously an uneducated idiot.

      The focus of the article is on game winners dumbass, not random clutch moments throughout regular season games.

      Your reference to the 6 shots he made are only the makes. What about the misses?

      Also, the regular season is not nearly as important as the playoffs. Perhaps if you watched the game you would have figured that out.

      BTw, Anyone who has to resort to “gay” and “homosexual” references to make their point obviously has those tendancies to begin with. My suggestion is you work with a psychatrist to resolve your own issues. I hope you can look in the mirror and cope douchebag.

      Posted by Chrstophersen | February 21, 2011, 9:53 am
      • Why don’t you piss-off and go suck Michael Jordan’s Dick you hick and also another thing faggot why are you trying to bash Kobe’s career you retarded idiot so with that said i hope you can look in the mirror and cope douchebag.

        Posted by ultimatorsports | February 21, 2011, 11:13 am
        • Dude, you are a complete joke. You obviously never learned how to put a complete sentence together so let me help you with some basic math – Kobe had 22 chances to win the game with time running off the clock. He only made 6 of them. Since you can’t count, or write, let me help you out. This means he missed 16 SHOTS total. Use your fingers if you need more help adding and substracting.

          Also, the no one is trying to bash Kobe’s career. The other gave him his props and said he is top 6 which is pretty damn good. All the article is saying is that he is overrated in the clutch when if comes to game winning shots, not that he is not a great player, and I agree.

          Feel free to buy yourself some flash cards you ignorant dumb ass bitch.

          Posted by Chrstophersen | February 21, 2011, 11:53 am
          • Don’t you know that bringing facts to the table = bashing Kobe’s career? ultimatorsports the Kobetard is the reason Laker fans get a bad rap.

            Posted by William | February 21, 2011, 2:26 pm
        • LMAO you have an entire Youtube page filled with Kobe clips and you talk about sucking Michael Jordan’s dick and asking if he can look in the mirror? Talk about throwing stones in glass houses…you’re the epitome of the pollyanna sunshine pumping Kobe-can-do-no-wrong fanboy that he mocked at the beginning of the article.

          And if that pic on your youtube profile page is actually you I wouldn’t want to look in the mirror…in fact I’d probably kill myself.

          Posted by The Hate | February 21, 2011, 12:20 pm
          • And your the epitome of the Jordan Jockers. You kiss his ass and you never give Kobe any credit, look dumbass your not being fair to Kobe he in my opinion is second Greatest NBA Player in history. So just deal with it Faggot.

            Posted by ultimatorsports | February 21, 2011, 12:27 pm
        • Man this is rich..after I verbally sodomize you below you call me a “jordan jocker?” Really??? I never said ANYTHING about Michael Jordan in any comment or post. The only thing I said was that YOU are a fucktard idiot fanboy who can’t formulate a coherent thought. You’re the one who obviously can’t deal with the facts. Maybe if you get that Kobe dildo surgically removed from your ass you’ll see the light but not likely.

          Posted by The Hate | February 21, 2011, 4:01 pm
          • ultimator ur an idiot. there is no such thing as a jordan jocker or a dick sucker for jordan. you can’t even compare jordan to other nba players. michael jordan is hands down the greatest athlete that has ever come out of North America. Look at his legacy…only a fool wouldnt be able to realize that mj transcends the game of basketball and is now a worldwide symbol of success

            Posted by jimmy martinez is a tool | April 27, 2011, 5:05 pm
  15. First of all, statistics can’t measure everything. Many of these missed shots can be attributed to last second heaves that really had no chance of going in. You can come up with lots of hypothetical situations.

    Secondly, I don’t think this is an appropriate definition of “clutch”. Many times a clutch basket, a clutch play (even a rebound, assist, or steal could fall in to this category) happens with 3 or 4 minutes left in a game. If it’s a close game throughout and then Kobe busts out late game with some clutch plays and puts the game away, it will have already been decided by the time there is 24 seconds left, but does that mean it wasn’t clutch a few minutes before?

    Posted by Poopenheimer | February 21, 2011, 8:20 am
    • Thanks for the read Poopenheimer. I am simply using the “Game Winning Shot” metric that the NBA uses for their own metrics. I agree with you that this is not the only way to measure clutch. It is only one way.

      However, all of the other data (2/2, 5/5, 4Q) reflect the same thing. Kobe tends to shoot a low percentage. We will be publishing more around this in an upcoming article.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 21, 2011, 9:34 am
      • excuse my ignorance…what is (2/2, 5/5, 4Q?

        Posted by Korey | February 22, 2011, 3:00 pm
        • Korey: Good question.

          The 2/2 is the stat measuring a players performance with 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter, and neither team up by more than 2 points.

          The 5/5 is the stat measuring a player’s performance with 5 minutes left in the ball game, and neither team up by more than 5 points.

          4Q stats, which can be much more broad and misleading, simply measures a players performance through the entire fourth quarter.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | February 22, 2011, 3:35 pm
    • Yes. The later in the game, the more urgent the need. Common sense, use it.

      Conversely, we could speculate about the games where Kobe plays horribly, but hits the game winner? We’re not! Look, you can keep changing the criteria to fit your supposed definition of clutch, but you can’t say the given criteria is not clutch! Yet Kobetards keep trying!

      Sure, there are variables, but all those mere mortal players that have better clutch statistics have to deal with those same variables.

      The spin Kobetards are using to defend this guy is astounding. Kobe is a great player, but he’s not special in the clutch and it’s really hard for Kobetards to wrap their heads around that.

      Posted by William | February 21, 2011, 2:49 pm
      • actually william,
        your comments dont make sense.

        From a statistical point of view, it doesnt matter where the shot is in the 1st quarter or the 4th, they all count the same.

        If Dwight Howard gets 5 fouls in the 1st quarter, but then fouls out in the 4th, is that 4th quarter foul “more important”?

        One of the hardest things about defining clutch is when is it “important” because as Hollinger and many stat pundits will have you believe, the outcome of a close game is totally random.

        If that is the case, then wouldnt it be more important to have players that consistently perform so well that the games arent close???

        Posted by Korey | February 22, 2011, 3:00 pm
        • Are you for real?

          We’re not talking about that shit you fucking dimwit! We’re talking about clutch here, what you’re talking about is irrelevant to the discussion. Yet, you have the audacity to say I’m not making sense?

          Obviously you’re either a troll or have a learning disability. If It’s the latter, I apologize for the insults.

          Posted by William | February 22, 2011, 3:38 pm
          • I’m not sure of your intellect William, because I dont know you.

            But I do know, your use of “Kobetard” and otherwise juvenile insults while simultaneously trying to make a point about basketball isnt very effective.

            Are you trying to have a conversation about basketball or play a game of who can curse the most and write the most provocative insult behind the viel of IP addresses and internet security?

            I’m not here to get into the latter, so I’ll let you be. One day we all understand what maturity is…

            Posted by Korey | February 22, 2011, 9:01 pm
          • I’ve perused your posts here, Korey. You’re obviously intelligent, articulate, and probably educated. Which makes your lack of comprehension all the more baffling!

            Your constant diversion, deflection, and ignoring of statistical analysis in this basketball conversation is rather ineffective!

            If you take offense to the term “Kobetard”, awesome! The shoe fits! It definitely is not meant as a term of endearment!

            One day, I hope you understand what comprehension is…

            In the meantime, more data will be revealed to prove what intelligent basketball fans already know. Will you continue to spin?

            Posted by William | February 23, 2011, 12:07 am
          • Damn, I’m an asshole.

            Sorry, Korey.

            Posted by William | February 23, 2011, 5:39 am
  16. “Clutch” can also refer to a a person who can be counted on, and Kobe fits the bill. Those last minute stats seem to show that he is successful when taking a last shot to win 31% of the time, but how many times did he take important shots earlier in the game to put that game out of reach? In other words, how many victories was Kobe responsible for winning BEFORE the final seconds? Too many to count, I’m sure.

    Posted by Stone | February 21, 2011, 8:43 am
    • Thanks for the read Stone. You are absolutely correct in your assessment that the Game Winning Shot is only one measurement of clutch, and clutch moments can happen throughout the game. However, all of the data (5/5, 2/2, 4Q) shows that Kobe is inefficienct during those instances as well. We will be publishing more in a future post.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 21, 2011, 9:39 am
  17. you can throw all this stats away. There’s a reason why GM’s and coaches choose Kobe as the most clutch player in the NBA. They see past the stats. They see something we can’t and i’m sure they are more knowledgeable than us when it comes ot basketball, so. Kobe is the best clutch player in the NBA.

    Posted by Joe | February 21, 2011, 11:40 am
    • Yeah GMs are the real authorities. That’s why a bunch of their teams suck ass year in and year out, right? Cause they see past the relevant stats and to… what?

      At the end of the day, anyone who thinks that stats don’t tell the whole story is being willfully stupid. The percentage of shots a player hits (adjusted for the extra points on threes and free throws, maybe minus the turnovers he makes) is the metric of how good a scorer he is. Attitude, ‘killer instinct’, “Sticking his jaw out like a nutjob”, none of that has anything to do with it, because at the end of the day he made the shots he made, and he missed the ones he missed. Yes, it’s possible that a few of the last shot data points are from half-court heaves, but it’s undeniable that those are a small segment of the data, and that every other star player in the clutch debate has about the same proportion of last second heaves to legitimate last second shots.

      We all know Kobe is good, and anyone who can understand some simple math knows that his clutch-shooting is not that good.

      Posted by The Truth Fairy | April 28, 2011, 1:08 pm
  18. hahahaha, i love the kobe di.ckriders getting butthurt that their “hero” is a failure.

    LEBRON is almost beating kobe in playoff gamewinners in just a couple years, LMFAO

    then when you mention lebron, kobe cawksuckers immediatly point to his 5 tainted rings- OH, you mean the first 3 where he was shaqs b1tch? what about when he just used gasol and artest? how quick you are to forget.

    i can understand the embrasssment you fools feel – heck, if i swallowed kobes lovejuice on a daily basis the way you sub-humans do, i wouldve killed myself a long time ago…which is exactly what i suggest to you disgraced suckers.

    Posted by kobe is a | February 21, 2011, 1:06 pm
  19. Sorry, ‘no one takes more shots than Kobe’ is wrong, if you look at Jordan/Kobe career stats, Jordan consistently scored more points than Kobe per season by attempting more shot attempts. (Look at Kobe’s 35 ppg season and Jordan’s 37). I don’t even want to type out all the other things wrong with what I’ve seen here, but I’m gonna go with the guy who said I’d rather have Kobe taking a clutch shot than Deaven George. It’s true and if you can’t accept that Kobe is the greatest clutch player (most game winning shots made in NBA history, if you think you can make more, go and take more and see if you can beat his # which is constantly growing per season), then you are being biased. I don’t care if someone made 5 of their 10 gamewinners in their career. They are not more clutch than Kobe just because they took less. You have to win more games and get more rings and to do that, you need to hit more shots. The work ethic Kobe has..did you not watch the Olympics? Carmelo Anthony became a much better defender after learning how to work harder from watching Kobe, and in the clutch, a team of the best all stars in the NBA and in the world gave the ball to Kobe, and Kobe delivered. Kobe’s work ethic is only paralleled by Jordan, so Wade, Lebron (don’t make me laugh), are out of the question and not even part of the debate.

    Posted by Jajaja | February 21, 2011, 2:40 pm
    • I hate to break it to you, but the facts are that no one has taken more game winning shots in the history of the Kobe than Kobe. And simultaneously, no one has missed more – this includes Michael Jordan. Jordan has taken more shots overall in his career, but has also missed fewer shots, therefore shooting a much higher percentage. Facts are facts. Can’t make them up.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 21, 2011, 3:32 pm
      • You haven’t considered the mix of two and three pointers, which closes the gap quite a bit in terms of effective shooting percentages. You aren’t making up the facts, but you’re not understanding that field goal percentage requires a contextual analysis to make valid comparisons.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | April 28, 2011, 3:07 pm
        • Good thinking Gil. But EFG% and TS% would only matter if a player had multiple opportunities throughout the course of a game. In a GW/GT shot metric, you only get one shot – it’s make or miss. Even so, of Kobe’s 6 makes, only 1 was a 3-pointers. So his percentage raises from 27.3 to 30.0.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | April 28, 2011, 3:59 pm
  20. Realist… you raise some good points on Kobe’s statistical proficiency in the last 60 seconds of games. There is another factor that needs to be considered here: The fact that EVERYONE in the building knew that Kobe was going to have the ball for the last second plays.

    Good coaches make defensive plans that acknowledge Kobe having the ball at the end and they permit him to receive the ball. Once he has the ball, then the defensive scheme unravels where he (Kobe) is limited to one half of the floor space where the passing lanes are also adjusted to limit access.

    Last year’s NBA Finals are a good example of Doc Rivers (Thibodeau) limiting Kobe to floor space. Another great example was Chuck Daly’s defensive schemes on Michael (before Mike learned about his team mates). The Pistons owned Mike until he matured and got tired of forcing the issue.

    Posted by Jack Armstead | February 21, 2011, 4:09 pm
  21. Fisher is more clutch. But clutchness can’t be measured by last second shots. What about those shots that he made to put the game out of reach. Let me describe a scenario, let’s say the Lakers are up by 2 with 30 seconds left, Kobe makes a shot with 15 seconds left making the game a two possession game with less than 24 seconds. There were plenty of those in his career as well. The fact is this, most of those shots he took with like 5 seconds left were well defended. Other teams are damn sure Kobe’s getting the ball, normally he’s shooting that type of “game winners” tripled teamed and fading away. And yes I’m a Laker fan/Kobe nuthugger.

    Posted by Mike | February 21, 2011, 5:36 pm
  22. NBA Realist, my commendation on a well-written and helpful article, and also on the professional manner in which you’ve handled the many unprofessional comments. We’ve all been around enough to know EXACTLY what the Kobe-head response to an article like this is going to be, and the jackals didn’t disappoint, but you deserve a lot of credit for handling yourself appropriately. Keep spreading the truth about Kobe!

    Posted by MadSammyboy | February 21, 2011, 5:47 pm
    • Thanks MadSammyboy. Appreciate the kudos. Its amazing how many folks want to ignore the facts. While the game winning shot metric is only one component of clutch, it is nonetheless important. Don’t worry, in the near future I will be publishing more evidence that shows Kobe’s performance in 4Q, last 5 minutes and last 2 minutes. You’ll really start seeing some dancing then.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 21, 2011, 6:51 pm
  23. yuo stupid you, dont evan know what your talknig about. JARK! kobe is the best most cluthest playar EVAR and you hater if you dissagree!


    Posted by GoldenBoyKobe24 | February 21, 2011, 5:50 pm
  24. The one missing part of this equation is whether that shot won the game. Yes, maybe Melo, has hit many game tying shots, or even shots to go up, only to end up losing. I have looked into it. And turns out, 90 percent of those 36 were game winners. And the 115 includes the first 4 years where Kobe was HARDLY the same player. And many forced heaves. Many coming with under 1 second left.

    Posted by Mambanator | February 21, 2011, 8:31 pm
  25. Kobe is a great player and a future HOFer for sure. ANYBODY playing in the nba is talented and thats the truth. I take great offense to kobe’s name being mentioned in the same sentence as Michael’s though. Kobe a good player, Michael the best ever. Period. The lakers know how to win and that has nothing to do with kobe unless you want to give credit to kobe for the 11 rings they had before he was a laker. Phil demanded kobe to traded many times, did he ever do that to Jordan? Hell no because MJ was a player and not just a scorer. Kobe always chokes in post season where legendary players are made MJ averaged 8 ppg more than kobe in the post season and they have played the SAME EXACT number of career playoff games! (179) That means MJ has scored 1,432 more points in the same amount of games. But that has nothing to do with winning which is what kobe fans do not understand. MJ was a leader and made everyone around him better and more importantly did not blast his team mates in the media if he played like shit. Rings? Please, kobe groupies wear me out on this!!!! Ron Harper has 5 rings, is he as good as kobe? Bill Russell has 11 rings, is he twice as good as kobe? He was lucky to be on championship teams thats all. Kobe on the Clippers? No rings and not even a great player. Facts are facts.

    Posted by EntroDaMc | February 21, 2011, 11:15 pm
  26. Since when does a clutch shot mean there is 24 seconds left on the clock? Clutch can be mean many things.. last second, last minute, last quarter, last game of the series.. and in every category I would take kobe because in the end.. he has the will to win, and he’s darn good at it. and im not a kobe fan.. clearly.. look at my name. just givin him his props

    Posted by Terry31 | February 21, 2011, 11:47 pm
    • Thanks for the read Terry31. Clutch is not definitely not excluded to only 24 seconds. However, the the game winning shot is till an important metric in measuring clutchness and the facts are that Kobe is 6/22. Moreover, his numbers with 2 minutes left, 5 minutes left, or the 4th quarter are not very impressive either (which I will be publishing in a future article).

      With regards to his “will to win”, I appreciate his courage, but it is only good if you can tout the results. Kobe has the benefit of playing with an extremely talented supporting case, case and point game 7 of last years Finals.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 22, 2011, 1:06 am
  27. this remark is rather bias. clutch doesnt necessarily mean the final seconds, it when the team needs it the most. I wont argue about who’s better between kobe and lebron, they are different individuals, kobe has the leadership, lebron on the other hand is still working on it. At this rate, Kobe is still gonna win a few rings. Till then, its gonna be lebron’s turn.

    Posted by KEN | February 22, 2011, 3:25 am
  28. jus cause he missed 16 game winning shots dont mean nothin he still made six most basketball players dont make six game winning shots they may not get 22 chances but kobe proves himself over and over again by winning the game he may miss the game winnin shot but he also is the reason they r ever close enough to win in the final seconds

    Posted by jordan | February 22, 2011, 7:24 am
  29. I am not a big Kobe fan, but it seems that this article has a very distinctive anti-Kobe slant to it. While the numbers look bad, how do they stack up against other big stars of recent years. Without a basis for comparision it is impossible to quantity whether that really is a terrible % the number doesn’t really prove anything. What were the numbers for Duncan, Olajuwon, Isiah, Shaq, Ewing, Barkley, Nowitzki, LeBron? 5%, 95%, 25%??? The majority of last second shots tend to be difficult, long range shots while double-teamed. Many are nothing more than 40 foot prayers. I wouldn’t expect even the best players to make more than a 1/3 of these Do you have any numbers to show how effective he is in the last couple minutes of games? I would put a lot more weight on that than a single shot. Guessing there would be dozens of important games the Lakers wouldn’t have even be in a position to take a game-winning shot without numerous clutch shots in the closing minutes from Kobe. It appears the only purpose of this article is to imply Kobe is overrated and Jordan is the best ever but you provide not resl evidence other than a couple random stats for Kobe. Bring some more data next time and maybe you can argue your point effectively.

    Posted by Brian Jones | February 22, 2011, 7:29 am
    • Thanks for the read Brian. The article was not meant to be an anti-Kobe attack but simply an illustration of the facts. In game winning shot situations, Kobe is 6/22. Thats it.

      Second, the arguement of my article is not necessarily who is MOST clutch. I disagree with your point that clutchness can only be measured relative to how other players are performing. Clutch is not relative. It is inherent. Therefore, if every player in the league is shooting 6/22, I have no problem saying that every player lacks clutchness. You either succeed in those situations or you fail, and it is not based upon what other players are doing. My goal was simply to dispell the notion that Kobe should be considered the overwhelming favorite to take the last shot.

      Third, I understand that the majority of last second shots tend to be long range “heaves” under duress and double teams, but every go-to player in the league has to endure them, not just Kobe.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 22, 2011, 3:18 pm
  30. 1st of all, I am not a fan of Kobe. But I do respect the way the guy plays the game. With that said comparisons to past clutch performers such as Michael, Magic, Bird, even Jerry West are a lil unfair to the past. Todays game is a far cry of a game that used to be great. The NBA is so watered down, it at times is very boring to watch. The rules of the game has changed which intern has taken away some of the luster of whats been done since the 2000 season til present day. Is that Kobe’s fault? No, but when compairing clutch performers you also have to take in account that the game has changed. There in lies the problem, Kobe plays in a game where yea double teams exist, but the game has become soft. Unless you talk to the younger crowd, Kobe doesnt even get a fair shot in the conversation. Old heads such as myself remember a game that brought us great rivals such a lakers-celtic, bulls-knicks, bulls-pistons. Series that which almost always produced clutch shots game in game out and fouls were pretty much called only if blood flowed. But even with all that, there is nobody else that plays in todays game that I would take over Kobe Bryant when trailing to hit the game winner.
    If you wanna blast comparisons, blast the Lebron-Jordan comparison. Cause King James, im mean Jester James (cause i think the comparison is a joke)aint even the best player in his own era, and depends on who you ask, aint even the best player on his own team.

    Posted by SloanPreston | February 22, 2011, 8:25 am
  31. Not taking a side on this one but I would like to throw out a question.

    If not Kobe, who would you all choose for the gamewinner?
    Also, would it matter if it your team were down by two or three points??

    Posted by Timmied | February 22, 2011, 4:51 pm
    • Great question Timmied.
      I will be publishing more about this in a future post, but my short answer? Pick your poison.

      Quite frankly, none of the NBA players in today’s game are clutch, at least not accoridng to MY definition, which is succeeding when you are given the opportunity. So it really becomes an exercise on taking the lesser of all evils. Rather than moving the ball, too many players in today’s game try to isolate go one-on-two rather than working through the offense with the game on the line. Everyone is trying to recreate the Michael Jordan highlight video.

      In response to your question as to who I would choose for the gamewinner, it would be Lebron James. Lebron has been accused of passing up shots, but I tend to disagree with the general public’s opinion around his decision making. Moreover, the guy is 5/10 in playoff game winners, which I will be discussing more about in a future post.

      In response to your question as to whether it would make a difference whether up or down by two points, my answer is not only “yes”, but I would take your question one step further to include whether my decision would be different depending upon the number of seconds left on the clock. If more than 3 seconds, I take Lebron. If less than 3-seconds, I take Kobe since no one is better at making tough shots than he is.

      However, this article was not about “who would I rather take”. Nor was it about “most clutch relative to other players” It was simply to address two things:
      1.) Help us define clutch independently of what any other player is doing. Clutch is inherent, not relative. You either succeed or fail.
      2.) To prove a point that the perception of Kobe in game winning situations is inaccurate, and that he is not incrementally better than the pack as the media would have you believe.

      I appreciate the insightful question. I’d be curious to understand who you would take, and why?

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 22, 2011, 6:42 pm
      • I had thought of something recently.

        You need to break down not only the aggregate clutch shots but separate these on what type of clutch shot:
        – 3ptrs v. 2ptrs.
        – 20-25 ft, 20-10ft, 5ft-in.

        I’d probably subtract all “clutch” 3ptrs just to view “clutch” under circumstances as typically those 3pt shots to tie are such desperation it’s ridiculous. But it’d be interesting to view.

        It’s my opinion, that you would choose a guy like LeBron in the clutch because he’s more like to get a game winning shot from layup distance whereas if you knew needed a jumpshot to win it, then you would take a Kobe.

        Also, I wish I can find the quote but Kobe had said early in his career that he though he had to take the jumper for game time because they won’t give you the fouls in traffic late.

        Lastly, Do we not account for “clutch-time” free throws? Shooting % is probably not the right stat, because drawing FOULS in the clutch and making FTs has additional benefits over just making the shot. True Shooting % is what you want there in the interim, but accounting for fouls shows you who is able to “control” the game a little bit more.

        Posted by Korey | February 25, 2011, 8:14 am
        • I love your passion man. You might be the only person as crazy about the NBA as I am.

          With regards to the shot breakdown, I did not have a chance to include that in the analysis, but I did include the time left on the clock once hte ball touched his hands. This should give you a good idea as to whether it was desperation or not. Off the top of my head though, the following were desperation shots:

          2002 Gm 7 tip attempt vs Sac
          2004 vs Houston
          2004 vs Detroit
          2009 vs Utah
          2010 vs Phoenix

          You are absolutely correct regarding the refs swallowing the whistles in late game situations.

          Your suggestion around FT shooting and TS% is a good one and I took that into consideration. However, there was only one instance that I could find where Kobe sunk a pair of game winning FT in the playoffs, (24 sec or less, team tied or down by 2) and that was in 1999 vs. Houston (Gm1). I caution you that could be wrong on this because my focus was on FG%, not FT, but this is what I found. Again, GW shots is only one measure of clutch.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | February 25, 2011, 3:16 pm
  32. “Ignoring the individual “data” in basketball is not the same as ignoring the outcomes of a medical trial, or ignoring scientifically validated theories. The “data” in basketball is not analogous to the outcomes of those experiments and theories, which are actually based on scientifically acceptable evidence, from carefully controlled experiments or from universally agreed upon axioms.”

    This is senseless ramble for “The proof that Kobe hasn’t been as clutch as we might think he is is right here in front of me, but I refuse to be moved by the truth.”

    What about the data don’t you understand? The accepted belief is that Kobe has made a lot of game winners at a high conversion rate, therefore he’s the best clutch player. The FACT is that he hasn’t, and he’s not head-and shoulders above the league in this category. The burden of proof is on you to show otherwise. Can you furnish it?

    Arguing against the facts isn’t being intelligent. It’s being a biased individual.

    Posted by Bob | February 25, 2011, 7:40 am
    • Thanks for the read Bob. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | February 25, 2011, 12:51 pm
    • Bob,
      good points, but I think a couple of your bases are a little off. Sorry to get all nitpicky but it’s what I do (and yes I’m probably liable to overread your statements and wax poetic).

      “The accepted belief is that Kobe has made a lot of game winners at a high conversion rate, therefore he’s the best clutch player. ”

      NOPE. I dont believe I’ve ever read that statement anywhere about “efficiency” in the clutch. I’ve nev

      Ever since Michael Jordan had the commercial where he said I’ve missed X game winners and failed, but that’s why I succeed, people seem to just dont CARE about missing game winners.

      MJ is the standard and he pretty much set it with that statement that coaches, players, and fans constantly follow.

      If anything, Kobe is regarded as “the best clutch player” because he has so many clutch moments (not just game winners) and because of that nobody CARES about the misses.

      Point to any NBA player who has had more clutch moments over the course of their career. And clutch is more typically assigned as “playing well in big games (ie playoffs)” than “hitting the game winner”.

      “The FACT is that he hasn’t, and he’s not head-and shoulders above the league in this category.”
      Of course, those facts are true. And I can also show you plenty of other facts that say Lamar Odom is probably the most important player in the league (+/-) or the Melo is the most efficiently clutch star in the league (although typically his playoff stats have been brutal). With regards to Melo, What’s the use of being the most clutch if you are going to suck in the other 75% of the game? Doesnt that imply that you are unclutch?

      “The burden of proof is on you to show otherwise. Can you furnish it?”
      Most people challenge the definition of clutch since it’s such a subjective term.

      But a limited view of statistics that are admittedly clouded by “white noise” such as time on the clock, quality of competition, quality of teammates, injuries, etc. is in no way a proof that X player is not clutch.

      The best you can say is that it “suggests” that the common beliefs are false but the current evidence on Kobe or any other player would not hold up in any court of law or even any undergraduate classroom.

      Quantifying exactly “what the common belief is” and then extracting the comprehensive, non-intstats that prove/disprove those beliefs is where the true BURDEN OF PROOF is, IMO.

      Posted by Korey | February 26, 2011, 6:08 am
  33. Hmm, Kobe down the stretch of tight and close games has been good in the playoffs:

    So that would be one piece of evidence pointing to him being “clutch,”

    The problem with Kobe is his choices in the final possession(s) of some of these games have been poor, and thus you end up with the 6/22 figure or 82games study on last second shots. Then people fall victim to cognitive biases and don’t use the available data to guide their conclusions:

    Posted by ElGee | March 3, 2011, 2:14 pm
    • Elgee: Great analysis. I want to applaud you for doing your research and actually bringing facts to the table. It quite refreshing.

      With that being said, there are 2 points that come to mind:

      1.) I believe that the Game Winning Shot is typically the most pressure packed, intense, clutch situation within a game. Not the only situation, and there are exceptions of course, just as there are different levels of intensity during key moments of the game, but to me the GWS usually offers the highest level. During those situations, Kobe is 6/22 which is in no way clutch. Moreover, decision making should certainly be taken into account as part of the clutch arguement: A player that makes better decisions is demonstrating more clutchness. So with regards to “Game Winning shots only”, it is irrefutable that Kobe is far from clutch.

      2.) With regards to Kobe being good during tight games, I am very much on the fence. His scoring certainly has gone up, but his FG%, EFG%, and TS% have also gone down. Now, I understand that his FTM and FTA have gone up which have raised his TS%, but based upon my analysis since 2003, a large number of those FT came with the game already decided (i.e. Lakers up by 3 or 4, other team misses a GW/GT shot, and Kobe is intentionally fouled), not in the heat of battle. In fact, Kobe and Nash shot more FTs with the game already decided than anyone else.

      Regardless, I appreciate your objective approach.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | March 3, 2011, 3:16 pm
  34. This is such an intelligent post, I mean of course when I look at this one single statistic everything makes sense…

    An intelligent person would not base an argument on one statistic. Actually an intelligent person will not try to compare a category which can not be quantified with statistics. The truth is there is no way to tell anything about an athlete by using statistics except for qualities directly supported by statistics. Examples include: Who scored the most per game? Who scored the most per game? Who is the most efficient scorer? However, determining a players ability in a crucial moment of the game is not one of them; this task is too open ended, subjective, and determines too much on outside factors. It is for these reasons no one has ever been able to quantitatively determine who is the greatest athlete in any respective sport.

    But you have decided to discredit a great player probably due to your own bias. Furthermore, you have not even succeeded in proving your point to anybody except for those that already disliked Kobe. The problem is not only that you are quantifying the non-quantifiable, but you are applying statistics incorrectly and insufficiently. To make a statistical study one has to consider ALL APPLICABLE statistics and categories. So, it seems this ill supported article’s real point is too tarnish a player you don’t like. The hastiness of chosing the numbers that you thought were great support without much else consideration is a sign of this.

    So don’t worry too much and just watch the game.

    Posted by Hakeem the Dream | March 5, 2011, 5:31 pm
  35. Just looking at your playoff shot summary (6/22), that encompasses 20 games. The Lakers won loss over those games? 12-8, or 60%. In fact, out of the 8 losses, they were able to extend the game to OT 3 times. That means, in the most pressure filled playoff moments, putting the ball in Kobe’s hands at the end of 20 games lead to a successful outcome 75% of the time (15 games).

    Talk to great NBA wings — ones with no agenda — and they’ll tell you it’s not whether he makes or misses the shot, it’s his ability to get A SHOT HE WANTS. Talk to coaches and they’ll tell you it’s not whether he makes or misses the shot, it’s the defensive attention and focus he draws. Simply put, with the ball in his hands down the stretch, he puts your D in jeopardy!

    Put the ball in his hands, and he’ll put so much pressure on a D and require so much focus with an arsernal of crafted moves and an uncanny ability to get “something” no matter what you take away, that he’ll open up the floor for THE TEAM to be successful more often than not… regardless of whether or not he makes “the shot.” He can do that because he’s spent years working on footwork, years working on nuance, years building a toolbox of options the breadth and depth of which has never been matched.

    There’s a reason Kobe has asserted many times that he could care less whether he makes/misses the shot. You all are analyzing checkers while the guy’s out there playing chess.

    Put away your myopic glasses and analyze the man’s IMPACT on closing or extending pressure filled games, and you might begin to understand why you assert his poor “clutch” performance yet still consider him top 10 to ever play the game. Include clutch plays, not just shots, roll in the number of times he’s down something — ANYTHING (not just shots) — to put away a team down the stretch, take a close look at just how he puts a D into scramble modes and forces help (because not to help is almost certain death), watch closely at just how hard the D works to take away spots — not spot, spots — and your measurements might actually start to show relevance.

    Or, you could take the easy route and throw up shooting percentage. Absolute forest for the trees argument, but definitely takes a lot less work.

    Then again, you could just as easily trust your eyes, intuition, coaches, players, and GMs. Your choice.

    Posted by JustSomeJoe | March 24, 2011, 12:12 pm
    • Justsomejoe – Thanks for the read, but I completely disagree with your take. My assessment was of one measure of clutch, which I consider to be the most pressure packed moment in a game. But trying to correlate putting the ball into Kobe’s hands and him missing, to the Lakers winning, is a real stretch. To me, this is another Kobe Nation effort to justify the facts, which means that we can take every superstar throughout the history of the game, and call them clutch just as long as their team wins. One moment or outcome is completely independent of the other and they are mutually exclusive.

      As an example, if Kobe makes a game tying shot that sends the game to overtime, but the Lakers then lose, are we saying that Kobe was NOT clutch just because the Lakers lost? Of course not. He was clutch in his game tying moment, but the Lakers lost. Its that simple. Trying to associate winning with clutchness in game winning shot situations is inaccurate.

      With regards to Kobe’s ability to create his own shot, I completely agree with you. No can do it better. However, creating does not equate to “making” the shot, and I can care less how fluid or pretty the shot is coming out of his hands. I just care about whether he succeeds. He certainly draws attention, doubles and triples, but so does every other superstar player in the NBA. For example, Dwayne Wade is not seeing soley single coverage every time he has the ball in game winning shot situations. He sees those same double teams as well.

      My suggestion is that you visit to understand the facts beyond just the game winning shot. You will see whether it is 4q, last 5 minutes of a close game, or last 2 minutes, Kobe’s numbers are subpar, and more the bi-product volume shots than actual successes.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | March 24, 2011, 3:36 pm
      • Appreciate the response. Here’s my take.

        Trying to isolate individual moments in a team sport where success is heavily predicated just as much on the relationship and intertwining of those moments as the moments themselves is, IMO, a losing proposition. At best, it doesn’t tell the whole story. At worst, it tells the wrong story.

        Saying “he certainly draws attention, doubles and triples, but so does every other superstar player in the NBA” is a shortcut. Neither Lebron, nor Wade has anything close to resembling the depth and breadth of Kobe’s offensive arsenal. Both rely far more on athleticism, though Wade has put in work and is much closer than Lebron. Regardless, saying “other guys draw that attention to” doesn’t negate the need to include additional metrics to truly gauge an accurate outcome (more likely, it means you have an inaccurate assessment of those other guys as well).

        Kobe’s job, like any other wing, is to put the ball in the bucket. But, just as important — probably more important, especially down the stretch — is applying constant pressure to the D and keeping them off-balance. Unless you can guage a guy’s impact breaking down the D over the course of a stretch has on a game’s eventual outcome — which involves looking at a lot of overall team percentages as well as other individual percentages during that time and comparing them to the norm, and until you can develop metrics of high enough quality that allows you to compare that impact across players & teams, you’re not going to get a truly accurate assessment of what having the ball in his or any other player’s hands during those times actually means. Simply relying on makes/misses to tell the story is a lazy approach (and I’m not zoning in on you here… I’ve seen no one put that effort into establishing these type of metrics).

        I’m a Laker fan… have been since well before Kobe. For years it used to piss me off to no end that the guy would constantly go into ballhog mode. Would also piss me off when Fish would pull up for an early 3 rather than getting the ball into the post. Then I took a step back and started to look at the game a bit differently… primarily because, the results didn’t jibe with what I thought I was witnessing (it just doesn’t make sense that the team would be so successful in the same games used to prove Kobe’s lack of success during key moments).

        Now, I can often tell early on when & where Fish is gonna pull up for a jumper, and it generally has nothing to do with that particular shot. Rather, he’s setting himself up for the shot that comes well later in the game when it counts. I can also tell when Kobe’s purposely pressing, how he’s pressing, and, sometimes, what he’s trying to setup. I also zone in on what the D is doing to try and stop him and how much focus he’s commanding… not just on the help that eventually comes (which has often been triple teams over his career), but also in guys looking to help (which usually includes everyone). As a result, I look at the game differently, and I’m less likely to get pissed over any individual shots. Granted, he does still go into chuck-mode now and then. But, often, it’s not the shot that’s important, it’s the “way” he’s moving the D.

        There’s a reason why players, coaches, GMs, etc. want the ball in his hands down the stretch. Might be interesting to ask coaches what type of pressure he puts on their D, how that pressure alone impacts their ability to be successful, and the difference between the pressure he and others apply (less, more, or the same). Stats interest me, but I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface in really putting together compelling metrics that tell the b-ball story. Might just be, there’s a reason he’s so damned successful, we just haven’t figured out how to gauge it yet.

        Posted by JustSomeJoe | March 24, 2011, 6:18 pm
        • great comment JustSomeJoe. We need more readers like you. I make similar points to you in my rebuttal to this article:

          The stats are even more amazing that you think. In his last 11 playoff games where Kobe has been tied or BEHIND with 24 seconds or less left, the Lakers have won 9 of those games. That is an 82% winning pct in the most clutch situations the NBA has to offer. You can spin that however you want, but you take wins and rings to the bank, not arbitrary stats.

          Posted by Brown Mamba | March 24, 2011, 6:34 pm
        • First off, I want to applaud you for putting significant amount of thought into you’re your response. It would have been much easier for me if you had just insulted me or responded with a “you suck” rather than compelling me to deliberate a response. Nonetheless, I think that I understand your point much better and appreciate the explanation. In sum, I agree with parts of your argument. Measuring the nuances of the game, particularly in specific situations, is extremely complex and there are no metrics that can tell the entire story. However, here are a couple of thoughts:

          1.) If I understand you correctly, you are saying that we need more complex metrics in order to truly understand and make better assumptions as to whether a specific player is clutch in game winning shot situations. If so, isn’t it then unfair to anoint a single player such as Kobe Bryant the runaway favorite? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that we are unable to truly determine who is most clutch until we have more advanced metrics? Yet, 78% of GMs, as well as coaches and players assume that having Kobe Bryant take the last shot is a foregone conclusion. Just as you perceive it as lazy to throw out the GW shot stat, I perceive it as lazy to take the opinions of so called experts and assume they are fact without having any hard evidence since GMs, players, and coaches have often been know to be wrong which is why there is a GM merry-go-round and coaches carousel. Players/GMs/Coaches are just as subjective, and just as susceptible to perceptions as anyone else. Its why there are so many “myths” in the NBA

          2.) To your point, if you are arguing that measuring the impact of a player’s clutchness in the last 5 minutes of a game, or even the last 2 minutes of a game requires an advanced understanding of how they also pressure the defense (resulting in open shots for teammates, or offensive rebounds because of Kobe double teams), I can somewhat buy that. However, it also means that we must again, not assume that one player is better than another until we have the data. Regardless, the game winning shot metric is much more straight forward. Putting pressure on the D, becomes less relevant in the game winning shot metric, because there is no pass off – the player himself (in this case Kobe) is taking the shot. Moreover, you rarely get a second chance offensive rebound within a single GW shot possession. Ron Artest’s/Pau Gaols put backs during last year’s playoffs is the exception, not the rule. The GW shot opportunity is miss or make and I just don’t quite see how pressuring the D becomes part of the equation, particularly with the clock running down. Its usually either make or miss with few exceptions.

          3.) Lastly, it is an interesting questions as to how the Lakers continue to succeed if Kobe’s numbers clutch numbers are so poor. My answer is simple: He has the best supporting cast in the NBA who can hide his flaws when he has a bad day. In other words, last year, if Lebron goes 6/24 in a critical game, they lose. If Kobe does it, the Lakers still have a chance to win. What I am not arguing is whether Kobe impacts winning – He absolutely does. However, what I AM arguing is that Kobe is overrated in the clutch, and I have yet to see ANY metric, measurement, or facts that demonstrates otherwise. Singling out his six individual game winning shots does not do justice if we disregard his 16 misses. It is inaccurate. He is far more the beneficiary of a strong supporting cast which lends itself to ultimately winning games.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | March 24, 2011, 7:22 pm
          • I also find it very interesting that the Lakers continue to win games in spite of Kobe’s well-documented struggles in the clutch. First off, I’d like to address a few of the logical inconsistencies stated above. I will then do my best to address what I feel is the reason for the Lakers’ continued success despite Kobe and the team’s struggles in the clutch. I will also admit prior to writing this that while I believe Bryant to be among the most overrated players in NBA history (he’s #14 on my list), I will attempt to be as unbiased as possible in writing this.

            First, for the fallacies stated above. Appeals to authority (GMs, players, coaches) are fallacies of defective induction that carry no weight in this or any other argument, period. Stating that what’s important is that Kobe gets what he wants from the defense, creates his own shot or has a huge offensive arsenal are all ridiculous arguments as to his crunch time prowess. Points win games, not style, degree of difficulty, or “wanting it more”. I want a player who can give me the highest percentage shot possible, not the most difficult (for the record, Pau Gasol has the 15th highest true shooting percentage among active players, while Kobe has the 37th). Along the same lines, applying pressure to the D is only worthwhile if it creates tangible opportunities. If it opens up better shots for Kobe they will also be accounted for in his and his teammates’ statistics. According to the following article, Kobe leads the league in game-winning or game-tying shots attempted from 2003-2009 with 56, but he is 4th in shots made and has only 1 assist. So “pressuring the D” may lead to a more tired defense, but it also doesn’t really lead to more Laker points. I’m not smart enough to figure out if Kobe is responsible for his teammates getting put-backs, but I certainly haven’t heard anything here other than wild speculation to support this claim.


            Next, I will reference the same article from to accentuate how poor Kobe’s clutch shooting truly is. Out of the players who had made 4 or more last second shots from 2003-2009, Kobe Bryant had a better shooting percentage than only 4 of the 75 players who qualified and was tied with a 5th at .250. Some will argue that this is because he had the most shots during this period, and certainly this argument carries some merit. However, Lebron James, Vince Carter and Ray Allen all had more clutch makes during this period despite fewer attempts, and Carmelo Anthony had 1 fewer make in 29 fewer attempts. And it is hard to argue that from 2003-2009, Lebron James, Vince Carter, Carmelo Anthony, or Ray Allen had a better supporting cast than Bryant to help account for this difference. Also, as a point of reference, MJ had 25 makes and 26 misses in this situation during his career in Chicago, for an astounding .490 that would crush any player in the league today, but he obviously was quite selective compared to today’s players.

            I will reference another fantastic article, albeit one only covering the last 2 season, to reference Joe’s valid point that individual statistics are not reflective of team success in the clutch (in this article defined by the 5/5 rule). I agree that you must look at team numbers to assess a great player’s impact. As of late December 2010 the Lakers were -13 with Kobe on the floor over the past 2 seasons (224 minutes total). That extrapolates to a margin of negative 2.7 points per 48 minutes of clutch time (using the 5/5 rule), which is about the level the Golden State Warriors play at over the course of a full game. Another way to look at it is that the Lakers give up .3 points per 5 minutes of crunch time. As a point of reference, James’ teams margin was +32 per 48 minutes, or +3.3 points per 5 minutes of crunch time. This suggests that not only is Kobe a poor clutch shooter, but the Lakers as a team suffer for his numerous misses.

            Finally, I’d like to address both the arguments that the Lakers winning despite clutch play makes no sense and that Kobe’s strong teammates somehow make up for his poor end of game play. I believe I at least somewhat successfully showed that the Lakers as a team are at best average in the clutch. Therefore, it would be simplistic to say that Kobe’s teammates somehow make up for his crunch time inadequacies. I present an alternate explanation. The Lakers, headlined by the admittedly fantastically talented Kobe Bryant, are a great team. Their margins of victory this year and last are 4.5 and 6, respectively. Thus, they are going to come into the final 5 minutes leading by an average of about 5 1/2 points, and they are going to lose 0.3 points per 5 minutes of “clutch time.” Because of their sustained excellence over the course of the first 3 1/2 quarters, their deficiencies in the clutch will only have a small impact on their overall win total. Thus, it is easy for us to think we see the Lakers pull out a tough close game with in reality they built a lead, held on, and still managed a victory. We frequently confuse winning with greatness in all aspects of the game, even though it is only a direct measure of team success with a huge degree of variance at that. Add the amazing artistry of many of Kobe’s game-winners and it’s easy for us to see him as a crunch-time hero when, in reality, he’s more likely to be the goat.

            Posted by Lochpster | April 12, 2011, 8:34 pm
          • Lochpster – Thank you for the read and the well articulated post.

            You are correct – the NBA is not figure skating and style points mean nothing without the results.

            I also find your take regarding the Lakers entering the final 5 minutes of a close game intriguing and am curious to whether there is any data that demonstrates the number of game in which the Lakers are actually leading entering crunchtime. It is an interesting take and a very possible theory.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | April 13, 2011, 6:50 pm
  36. Re #1: I think it’s inaccurate to annoint ANY player (fair or not) as a runaway clutch favorite (let alone, clutch) based on statistical analysis if the stats can’t accurately prove the assesment. As far as GMs/Players/Coaches are concerned, yup, I absolutely agree they’re subjective, and I don’t tend to buy anyone’s statement necessarily as fact. Yet, they are the experts, and they do have a “feel” for the intangibles. Do I read their “opinions” as proof? Absolutely not. But, I think it does a bit of a disservice to their integrity to assume they must just be jumping on the “player x” jock bandwagon.

    As a side note, I’ve seen it said that folks remember the shots Kobe made and forget the ones he didn’t. Perhaps it’s less about people buying into hype and more due to the fact that the team often won anyhow. You’re far more likely to remember a shot missed if the team loses.

    Re #2: And yet, through the 20 game playoff sampling, even though he put up quite poor shooting stats, the team still found a way to win 60% of the time and extend the game the other 15%. That’s actually pretty remarkeable.

    You used the Ron/Pau putbacks as an example. My question would be: what were Krstic/Ibaka/Frye/Richardson doing during those last shots? Were they out of position because of something Kobe was doing or had done up to that point putting their D more at risk, were they Kobe watching, were they focused on Kobe looking to take something(s) away if necessary, or was it just mistakes, great LA plays, or a combo of both? If they were mistakes, were they out of the ordinary? Do the same things occur against other players in the same scenarios?

    Points is: things seem to go well too often for it to be attributed to luck. In my view, there’s probably a cause and effect there. And, yes, I absolutely agree, again, that the argument applies to all players. For what it’s worth, if you can measure that type of impact, you come away with a far more valuable metric. Knowing a team’s chances for success is more important than answering the “is player x more clutch than player y.”

    Just to point out, I’m not arguing that Kobe is more/less clutch than player x, my argument is with using currently available stats to gauge clutchness… for ANY player.

    Re #3: In terms of the “supporting cast” argument, I’ve always found that to be a chicken & egg argument to a degree. Great supporting casts aren’t great until they win. If a team succeeds, the supporting cast is great. If not, not so much.

    It’s the same as trying to figure out a Coach’s overall impact on success, or how much Player Y makes Player Z “better”. Anecdotal evidence at best, and, in the end, all you really have are results.

    I admit, you might be right. But, absent relevant statistical proof, you’re stuck in the same position as I am in terms of measuring “clutch”: it’s a judgement call.

    I’ll let you have the last word on this. Cheers!

    Posted by JustSomeJoe | March 24, 2011, 10:33 pm
    • I’m still not convinced that there are multiple variables involved in the game winning shot and tend to think that it is a more straightforward metric than not. I guess I am not convinced that with 3 seconds left, and the limited about of time, a player is accounting for offensive rebounds as part of his shot selection. However, just my opinion.

      With regards to the Artest and Gasol examples, there is enough to support both of our arguments. In the Gasol instance, Ibaka was simply out of position as Kobe went one-on-one for his baseline shot. However, in the Artest example, Kobe was double teamed leaving the Phoenix defense out of position -although with less than 3 seconds left, I believe that double teaming the shooter, no matter who they are, is the correct move. Regardless, I understand your point.

      I understand your argument about the end result of winning games. However, I still believe that the events are mutually exclusive. Nonetheless, we agree to disagree and thats what makes the world go round.

      I had planned on publishing a follow-up article for Wade and Lebron as well, and I appreciate your feedback – you’ve encouraged me to take wins/losses and results into account as part of the overall discussion.

      Thanks for the read and the comments, and hopefully you stick around as a reader on Chasing 23.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | March 25, 2011, 10:41 am
  37. The fact that you even have to write this on a pro Michael Jordan website speaks volumes. You dont even have to write an article. Just put Kobe Bryants name on the header and it shows your fear. What are you so afraid of?? I think I know. You’re afraid of the fact that when all is said and done, Michael Jordan will no longer be considered the greatest. Kobe Bryant will. I mean Kobe has been a winner his ENTIRE career compared to only SIX years Michael Jordan was. Jordan only won for a THIRD of his career.

    Posted by TcbDog | March 26, 2011, 3:07 pm
    • “I think I know.”

      No you don’t know. Trust me. Just stick to whatever it is you do know.

      Posted by The Hate | March 26, 2011, 3:53 pm
    • Thanks for the read:

      1.) If you read our articles, our website is anything but pro-Jordan. Instead, it is more of a depiction of the state of today’s NBA in which today’s players are trying to chase after an unrealistic ideal. Even Jordan wasn’t as good as the urban legend that “Michael Jordan” has become, since as we all know, perceptions do not necessarily equate to reality.

      2.) How about responding to the article with facts regarding the 6/22? I am open to hearing your rebuttal.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | March 26, 2011, 4:49 pm
    • TCBDOG,You are completely nuts.

      Posted by Ben | April 10, 2011, 7:21 pm
    • Amazing how your future GOAT has won a single regular season MVP.

      Posted by William | April 20, 2011, 4:07 am
  38. Kobe is the most Clutch right now, Even michael jordan said he missed many game winnings shots, you are also putting the shots up from early in his career. People did not say he was cluth then, they are saying he is clutch now, basically from 2 years ago. He makes big shots throughout the entire 4th quarter on a regular basis. What about last year in the playoffs verse phoenix when he made those shots down the stretch to keep the lakers ahead.. come on.. now since he isnt the most clutch to some.. are you saying you would rather have another person in the nBA with the ball in the last 10 seconds over Kobe.. i think not.

    Posted by Luke | April 5, 2011, 3:10 pm
    • why dont you compile the times he made games winners period.. not just playoff since you want to portray like he is terrible at the last second shots….

      Posted by Luke | April 5, 2011, 3:12 pm
    • Luke – Thanks for the read, but I disagree.

      My analysis not actually includes shots from the beginning of Kobe’s career, but also his more recent performances. If you notice, over the past 2 years (2009, 2010), he is 0-4. Moreover, pointing to one game or one series, does not encapsulte all of his performances. The Phoenix game is just one game and you are disregarding all of the instances where he was unclutch or unsuccessful in hitting big shots.

      With regards to “who I would rather have” the answer is Lebron James who is 5/10 career game winning shots in the playoffs and has demonstrated the ability to shoot a higher percentage in clutch situations over the past 2-3 years.

      As a mentioned, Kobe clutch is a myth. But I look forward to any hard cold “evidence” that you can provide to refute my claim – and citing individual games where he makes shots, but disregarding the misses is inaccurate.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | April 5, 2011, 3:20 pm
  39. Why do you have the need to discredit Kobe or compare him to MJ and Lebron? I don’t see how a person just lives his life, studying stats just to try and tell everybody that Kobe is a fake messiah. Not anyone in here can play a lick of basketball and that includes you, and even if you did, you will never have the balls to do what kobe does when a game is on the line. I would think you would shit your pants or maybe write about it on how and why you boggled the basketball. Give me a break, stats are for geeks, just watch the game and enjoy it.

    Posted by John Patrick | April 5, 2011, 5:16 pm
    • John, thanks for read – but if fans didn’t exercise their right to evaluate and compare players, there would be no interest in the NBA, and therefore no sports debates. I hate to break it to you, but it is what makes the sports world go round.

      The objective of my article was simply to dispell a myth, and based on your emotional reaction, it sounds like I succeeded. Kobe shot 6/22, and that remains unchangeable. So rather than comparing Kobe Bryant to myself, how about responding intelligently to the points in the article? This blog is a bit different in that our readers come to the table with counterpoints. I am open to any evidence that refutes my position.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | April 5, 2011, 5:40 pm
  40. So where’s this article that shows the stats with the different amounts of time left? Also you need to ask, why had Kobe taken almost twice as more clutch shots than anyone else? Answer: There isn’t a single other player on the team that wants to. As Shaq said, no one else had the balls to take those shots. Results don’t mean much when you’re the only option. Miss or Make, he has to take em. Under those circumstances, I think he’s doing more than what he needs to be. If you think being the focal point of defense has no effect look at Carmelo on the Knicks, and try to understand why Lebron sold out his home state to go play with 2 other superstars. When the defense knew Lebron was going to end up with the ball, the heat went on a 5 game skid, because Lebron couldn’t finish.

    Posted by Likwid | April 5, 2011, 5:48 pm
    • Likwid – Thanks for the read.

      The follow-up article is around the corner – I only have time to change the world one nation at a time.

      With regards to your question about Kobe being fearless and taking the most shots, it’s flawed. Kevin Garnett has taken the second most shots (79 total) next to Kobe and it is not because he the second most fearless in clutch situations. Its simply because he has played one of the longest careers and because of the sheer number of games played, has been put in situations to succeed and fail more times than others. Kobe has a played 15 years in the NBA and put on more situations than the others. I simply do not buy the fearless arguement.

      Moreover, even if Kobe is the most fearless, who cares? I simply care about succeeding – In other words, I will take a player who demonstrates more fear and succeeds than the one who is fearless but fails. The NBA is about results.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | April 5, 2011, 5:57 pm
  41. bs all through..fuel the fire..

    Posted by nimble | April 6, 2011, 1:07 am
  42. Kobe was 100% in clutch FG last night against the Jazz! (shot attempts in the final 24 seconds of a game during which a player’s team is either tied or trails by three or fewer points) Amazing!

    Posted by Gil Meriken | April 6, 2011, 12:10 pm
  43. Good article, and I appreciate the responses you’ve made in the comment section as well. It’s depressing how many people are unable to just read what you’ve clearly said, or worse, reacted exactly as you described in the article itself. Well, depressing and funny.

    Posted by Braktooth | April 7, 2011, 5:04 am
    • Thanks for the read braktooth and completely agree. It’s facinating to see how people react when presented with facts. They will do anything possible to avoid surrender.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | April 7, 2011, 12:26 pm
  44. A fair article to support another fair article. Though a Kobe fan and originally from LA, Kobe is of course not perfect and always respect healthy debate, as long as the opposed have valid points and cover all sides of the issue.
    I must say I am looking forward to the article analyzing MJ’s “clutch” stats, both reg and playoffs. I think that Kobe is the most analyzed bball player of all time, for a number of reasons. You, THENBAREALIST, say that media and “Kobe Nation” help create the image that Kobe is far and away the most clutch player in the league today, and you and Abbot are looking to statistics and such to claim that though Kobe is one of the greatest, and “clutch”, certainly not far and away the “clutch king”, and want people to understand this, hence this article. However, isn’t it by this same rationale that MJ is considered the GOAT. Media helped make the Jordan image just like it did Kobe. Fans view MJ in the same light because they remember the makes, no different than Kobe fans. Nobody ever talks about “Jordan Nation”. In reality, Jordan and Kobe Nation are the same. You claim that Kobe is put on a pedestal as the “clutch king”, yet overrated. By that token, I claim that MJ is put on the same pedestal as untouchable and the GOAT. While I do agree that he is the GOAT (and by popular opinion the greatness standard), I believe he is not only touchable, he is DEFINITELY not far and away the GOAT, just, far and away, the greatest marketed athlete of all-time. Magic is just under him, and Kobe is getting close (on my list).

    Posted by Jordan Hunting | April 7, 2011, 11:17 am
    • Thanks for the read Jordan and I actually agree with you 100%. Feel free to read the “About Us” section on our homepage:

      We talk a bit about how Jordan has essentially become an urban legend and you will find that we try to be as objective as possible.

      In the interim, the MJ article that you are requesting is right around the corner. Stay tuned.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | April 7, 2011, 12:29 pm
  45. Love how the Kobe fanboys are completely oblivious to how their comments attempting to rip the article only confirm what it says about their misguided perceptions. Kobe fans are the most obnoxious and ignorant in sports.

    Posted by Ben | April 10, 2011, 4:07 pm
  46. Can someone provide a link to that Abbott article?

    Posted by Ishmael | April 17, 2011, 8:51 pm
  47. 4/25/2011


    Kobe Bryant, Lakers G 74%

    Kevin Durant, Thunder F 8%

    Dwyane Wade, Heat G 3%

    Ray Allen, Celtics G 2%

    Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks F 2%

    Based on 166 NBA players who responded to SI’s survey

    Read more:

    Posted by Gil Meriken | April 19, 2011, 2:27 pm
  48. whoever doesnt think kobe is clutch is seriously stupid as F…..last second shots do not account for clutch..4th quarters do! who is taking your last shot…lebron?hahah you idiots..give kobe credit where credit is due….5 rings and one of the best players to play and probably the most skilled offesnively ever

    Posted by jordan sublette is gay | April 22, 2011, 9:31 am
  49. I have this saying: stats don’t lie, but they don’t always tell the whole story. Some people say stats lie, but stats are facts, but some stats are necessarily good stats. Anybody can make up a stat, doesn’t necessarily make it a good stat or relevant at all.

    With that being said, nbarealist likes to continue to reiterate that the facts are the facts, that math is math, without looking much deeper into it. It’s kind of like WS/48 min. this year, which a lot of stat gurus take as the most important stat of all. Kobe is only 4th on his team, and if anyone has seen even a handful of games this year, it is very clear that Kobe is easily the best player on his team. But, hey stats are facts, right? Well, maybe or maybe not. What’s most important is what is behind the stats. Taking one stat, and living and dying by it is extremely sloppy.

    But, if you want to salivate over one stat, according to, Kobe leads the league in ppg this year. By that one stat alone, he’s most clutch right? And he’s been the top 3, at the very least, for several years running.

    I wouldn’t say by that one stat is the reason why Kobe is most clutch, but if I did, it’s the same as what nbarealist is doing here. Also, kobe haters are quite quick to point out that kobe isn’t all that clutch, but rarely name other players who are actually very clutch. It’s kind of like when Abbott thinks Kevin Martin and Shawn Marion are super clutch players and the players above all others who you’d want the ball in their hands at the ends of games, he pretty much loses his credibility, but that’s been gone for awhile now.

    Posted by boyer | April 22, 2011, 11:34 am
    • Thanks for the read Boyer – But I specifically mentioned within my article that the Game Winning Shot metric is only ONE form of clutch measurement. However, in my mind, it represents the MOST clutch situation in a game and I have yet to hear a compelling argument otherwise.

      With regards to the 82games stat, Kobe has certainly scored the most points, but also taken the most shots. To me ,when you are missing that many shots, it is not clutch, it is volume shooting. Clutch, quite simply is success vs. failures.

      Regardless, the GW shot metric stands on its own. We will be publishing more metrics in the future, all of which show that Kobe is overrated in the clutch, but until then, lets agree on one thing – In game winning shot situations during the playoffs, Kobe Bryant is NOT clutch.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | April 22, 2011, 1:43 pm
      • I can agree that in game winning shot situations during the playoffs, Kobe Bryant is 6 for 22.

        To say that means he is not clutch, that you would want someone else taking a game-winner … that’s purely a personal opinion.

        There is a subtle difference between “Who has made the most % in the past” and “Who has the best chance to make the shot in the future?”, especially when the sample size is so small (if you want a good measure of confidence in your results).

        Posted by Gil Meriken | April 22, 2011, 2:45 pm
        • Gil,

          I disagree. I think that 22 opportunities during the Most pressure packed moments in the game (which is more than anyone else) is ample evidence to show that in the past, Kobe Bryant has not demonstrated clutchness in game winning shot situations.

          Moreover, Kobe’s 5 in 5 metrics during the playoffs (5 min left, no team down by 5 – per the last 7 years on 82games) are poor as well.

          2003 – 35.3% FG
          2004 – 28.0% FG
          2006 – 42.8% FG
          2007 – 66.7% FG (only 2/3 shooting)
          2008 – 48.4% FG
          2009 – 41.2% FG
          2010 – 39.4% FG

          So other than the fact that you are a Kobe fan, do you have any logicial reason as to why we should believe that Kobe will make the next game winner in a playoff game?

          I am open to any objective evidence.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | April 22, 2011, 3:53 pm
          • The quality of his skill set. Does that count as objective evidence?

            I am a fan of basketball. And as above, it’s not only “Kobe fans” that believe he should be taking the last shot. Well, unless you consider those 123 NBA players polled who chose Kobe to be “Kobe fans”.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | April 22, 2011, 10:19 pm
          • Comon Gil – The”quality of his skill set” is not evidence that Kobe Bryant will be successful in the future and is about as subjective as it gets. There are plenty of players in the NBA who are highly skilled who have failed in clutch situations. The only evidence is the results – success vs failure. How many more shots does he need to miss before you acknowledge the facts? What if Kobe was 6/50? 6/100? 6/1000?

            Moreover, there is a term in sports called “overrated” – It is when the majority percieves something to be better than it actually is. Oftentimes, it is predicated on misperceptions, assumptions, and myths that become exposed down the road. It happens in sports all the time.

            Moreover, the same GM survey that stated that Kobe should be the player to take the last shot, also predicted that Kevin Durant would win the MVP, Deron Williams is the best PG in the NBA, and that the Washington Wizards would be most improved. Just because the majority believes something doesn’t mean that are correct – there is a possibility that they are misguided by their emotions.

            My objective in this article was to prove that and expose a myth, and I cited facts, not “opinions”. But if I am wrong I am completely open to
            any factual evidence.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | April 22, 2011, 10:50 pm
          • There are so many loopholes with your argument nbarealist, I’m extremely surprised you can’t see them, as many have pointed out to you

            You’re quick to discredit Kobe’s top ppg in last 5 min. in the league from and you can see the problems with that as I can, but yet our 6-22 has just as many loopholes, and I won’t rehash them. For one, to count a missed tip as unclutch, is just quite silly, I won’t say more about that.

            If Kobe is truly unclutch, then who would rather have over him? You’re quick to discredit him, but yet you don’t mention who you’d rather have instead of him. Also, I don’t really see someone who wins as much as Kobe can be unclutch, especially when Kobe’s teams are winning primarily because of him.

            Also, 22 shots is an extremely small sample size.

            Also, if Kobe catches the ball with one second left, he could just hold onto the ball and not shoot it, so it doesn’t affect his shooting pct., but how stupid is that, but the % of making any shot in that type of situation is extremely low.

            Also, I find it funny that guys like you are so quick to discredit the real experts of the game, GMs, and the people who actually play the game, the players, and with an overwhelming majority year after year, they want Kobe taking that final shot. Kind of funny isn’t it, well, not really, if you look at it from a logical viewpoint.

            The results that Kobe produces are undeniable, he succeeds over and over. There’s no denying that.

            Posted by boyer | April 23, 2011, 1:30 pm
          • Boyer,

            But he didn’t succeed over and over again – He succeeded 6 times and failed 16. Its basic math. How can we consider that clutch? Look, I’m trying to be open minded about this Boyer, but I still do not see the logic.

            Within the next 2 weeks, I am going to be publishing a follow-up to this article, and provide a comparison to other players who have shot a higher percentage in playoff game winners than Kobe. And yes, I have included tipped shots in the analysis of those other players as well, just as I would have considered it a made shot had Kobe succeeded. I am simply adhereing to the NBA stat guidelines and a missed tipped shot is considered a shot attempt just as a tipped make would be considered a made FG. Regardless, the tipped shot was just 1 of 22 shots. Does 6/21 honestly sound any better?

            With regards to the last second heaves, EVERY star player has had to take these. As an example, Lebron James made a GW shot with less than 1 second left in game 2 against Orlando -and yes, we count that one as well. Regardless, feel free to define any metric you want (5 seconds left, 10 seconds left, etc..) and I guarantee you that Kobe’s numbers are not much better.

            Lastly, regarding GM’s being the real experts, it is astonishing to me how many people actually accept their opinions as fact. Isiah Thomas who was both a former player and GM, and one of the voters on those previous polls that identified Kobe as most clutch in game winning shots, yet he nearly ran the Knicks franchise to the ground – and he is one of our so called experts? Most GM’s and coaches are fired within less than 3 years, and these are our experts? These “experts” are human and just as suspectible to myths and perceptions as anyone else. I do not rely on others “opinions” as to who should take the last shot, I rely on facts. And when the facts tell me otherwise, I can’t ignore.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | April 23, 2011, 3:46 pm
          • Nbarealist,

            You’re missing the point entirely. You think GW shots are black and white, and that’s your first problem and maybe your only problem in this analysis, which is why there’s so many differing opinions. It’s basketball, and not baseball, meaning, there’s always 10 people involved in every play with lots of plays and lots of things going on every second of the game. Nothing is black and white, and there’s lots of variables to consider, which you aren’t doing.

            Nobody is denying 6-22 isn’t good, but you are sloppy in that at least acknowledging some of those misses aren’t exactly normal shots. You’re quick to dismiss the loopholes in Kobe’s late game scoring this year leading the league ppg according to 82games, but do not recognize the own loopholes in this 6-22 shooting. You repeatedly say math is math and facts are facts. Kobe led the league this year in clutch ppg, and he’s repeatedly one of the top 3 players in clutch ppg every single year. Those are facts. Facts are facts, right?

            Also, Kobe does succeed over and over. You don’t win as much as he does without succeeding over and over. Really, winning equals succeeding, succeeding is winning. Kobe gets the job done. He might not get it done the way you might necessarily like, but he gets the job done, there’s no denying it.

            You named one GM, but that won’t change the percentages that much. And it’s not just GMs, it’s the players, too. Got any other examples? I’m not sure if you play basketball, but I do, and it’s pretty easy to recognize who the best players when you play. And btw, Isiah is much more of an expert than you, or me, or any media member out there. He might’ve been a bad GM, but it’s not too hard to recognize superior talent like Kobe’s and I’m betting if Kobe was a FA, Isiah would’ve tried to sign him, right?

            Posted by boyer | April 24, 2011, 1:58 pm
          • Boyer:

            I think that I understand your point clearly. I think that you are fundamentally missing my point.

            1.) I understand that there are different varibles that are associated with a game winning shot. But why are you assuming that Kobe Bryant is the only player in the NBA that has to encounter those variables? EVERY player has to encounter those variables. Are you really saying that Carmelo, Lebron, Wade etc.. have clean looks at the basket every time. No. So at some point “variables” become excuses. It may not be black and white for Kobe. But it isn’t black and white for any other player either.

            2. You are wrong – If you re-read my article I actually DO mention in my article that some of those shots were desperation shots. However, as previously mentioned, Kobe is not unique in being the only player who has had to take them.

            3.) With that said, Just for kicks, lets play do it your way. Lets take whatever varibles you mentioned into account and remove every single shot attempt that was a desperate heave, didn’t offer Kobe an opportunity to setup or was less than 3 seconds when he first recieved the ball. So we exclude the tip shot against Sac in 2002, the fallway 3 shot against Phoenix in 2011, and the desperation 3 against Utah in 2009. He is now 6/19 – is this really any better?

            4.) I absolutely do acknowledge that Kobe Bryant scored the most points in the crunchtime this season. However why you conveniently overlooking the FG percentages? He shot 40.2% during crunchtime. This means that he took a ton of shots to get those points. Is that really clutch? To keep missing shots during close moments of a game? Give a player enough shots, they will manufacter points.

            5.) You are changing the arguement. The arguement is about whether or not Kobe is successful in game winners. Not whether he is succesful as an NBA player. Of course he has been successful as an NBA. So has Bill Russell as well as many others- but that doesn;t mean Bill Russell was necessarily clutch. 2 different arguements. What Kobe has NOT been successful in is game winning/game tying shots. Whether it is justified and understandable, the facts remain that he was not successful.

            6.) Here is where you are really missing my message. Clutch is Clutch. It is predicated on success vs failure. 6/22 is not clutch on any planet, period. Now, if your argument is that there are multiple variables in the GW shot, I have already proven that Kobe is still only 6/19 when given the opportunity to setup his shot and get a clean look. Regardless, clutch is inherent in definition and is not reliant on anything that any other player in the NBA does.

            If you are still in denial, and want to disregard history, how about showing me evidence that Kobe IS clutch during game winning shots? Where is the proof?

            Lastly, you are really selling yourself short if you believe that you couldn’t have done a better job as the Knicks GM than Isiah Thomas.


            Posted by The NBA Realist | April 24, 2011, 4:04 pm
          • boyer wrote: “You’re missing the point entirely. You think GW shots are black and white”

            Of course they’re black and white. When the game is on the line, when there is only ONE SHOT that ONE PLAYER can take that is the difference between winning and losing…Kobe is 6 of 22. Period. And please stop talking about loopholes…you’re bringing nothing to the table as far as objective evidence in showing anybody any “loopholes.”

            Is it really that hard for people to understand the point of this article? As one of the best players to play the game (which the realist mentioned in the article and many times in the comments), you would think that someone who has a reputation of being clutch would have a better percentage when the game is on the line. That’s it.

            Posted by Milhouse | April 24, 2011, 2:18 pm
          • You finally admit that GW shots aren’t black and white, kudos to you. There’s countless # of variables in every situation of every nba game. They’re different for every single play in nba history, that’s why they’re hard to be compared to.

            Last night’s game is a perfect example. Kobe’s reputation as being fearless and an assassin for GW shots benefited him and the lakers, which you deny as not being relevant at all. Down 4 with 9 seconds, Kobe is basically triple teamed, and Pau gets an easy dunk. What other player demands this type of attention? None, other than Kobe. Then, on the next possession, Kobe has to shoot a ridiculously, tough desperation 3. He misses. You would claim that that fact makes him unclutch, which I find to be laughable at best. Sure, he misses, as would almost everyone else every single time. I just don’t think that means he’s unclutch, while you do. Kobe has proven lots of times that he is indeed clutch. Do you think it’s some coincidence or luck that he wins so often?

            I think where you differ among most people is how you’re looking at the situation. You think it’s more black and white, and think that facts are facts, well some facts, while you disregard other facts that state Kobe is the most clutch. You think those facts that state Kobe is the most clutch are bad facts, while others think that the facts you use are bad facts, it’s a difference of the way everyone looks at the situation.

            You also seem like you think you’re some type of expert, which I can’t stand amongst most media members. They think they’re experts, while that couldn’t be further from the truth. Year after year, players and GMs alike overwhelmingly think Kobe is the most clutch, and the way they defense against him in late game situations prove that. That’s all the evidence that you need, but you continue to ignore that.

            Posted by boyer | April 25, 2011, 8:46 am
          • Boyer,

            Thanks for the discussion. But We are going back and forth unncessarily on this one. So I am going to put the ball in your court. You telll me a better way to guage whether a player’s performance is clutch in game winning shot situations other than the NBA’s standard metric. do we expand it to 45 sec? 1 min? Do we exclude all desperation shots? If so we need to exclude the misses and the makes (like the one he hit against Detroit in the Finals). However, I guarantee you that the evidence will still look ugly for Kobe.

            If the answer is you cannot, and there are too many “variables” then lets agree that no one in the NBA can truly be judged as clutch and Keith Bogans is therefore just as clutch as Kobe Bryant.

            You have to have some criteria to measure Kobe vs. competition. You cannot simply claim that Kobe is clutch, ignore evidence to the contrary, and have no evidence of your own. Again, where is the tangible proof?

            I am no expert and am open to listening and learning. But if you make mention of all the successes, it is only fair that you make mention of the failures.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | April 25, 2011, 9:02 am
          • A note about the 22 shot sample.

            If you were to use statistical theory and had a null hypothesis that Kobe’s true probability of hitting the game winning shot was 46%, then using the 6 for 22, you could not reject that hypothesis with a significance level of 5%.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | April 26, 2011, 12:12 am
          • There’s major problems with your analysis. You’re looking at it differently than I am, and hopefully most other people. Most of the real nba experts: GMs and players look at differently than you and realize that Kobe is indeed clutch, year after year. That’s evidence. So, I might strongly disagree with how you look at it, I can kind of accept your analysis if not for the fact that you don’t use all the facts.

            Your repeatedly say facts are facts, well then use all the facts. Kobe was the most clutch this regular season according to 82games with a much greater sample size than your 6-22. If you want to basically paint this 6-22 as black and white, then please paint every other fact as black and white. You ignore these other facts. You ignore that Kobe wins so much, and he wins primarily because of himself, to me that’s super clutch, to you, I guess not. I guess the #6 all time reg. season scorer and #4 all time playoff scorer with 5 rings isn’t clutch and most of the ‘real’ NBA experts think he’s the most clutch, too. Those are facts, just like your ‘facts.’

            I don’t ignore Kobe’s misses, but I don’t ignore his makes, which you seem to do, either. Kobe has the most all time GW shots in nba history, and somehow he’s not clutch.

            The only thing I can kind of agree with you on is that there is no way to declare anyone king of clutch, but when you say stuff like keith bogans is as clutch as kobe, then whatever credibility you had is gone. And seriously, who are you going to take over kobe with the game on the line? You refuse to answer this question. Do you honestly think it’s some coincidence that Kobe wins so much and has been the top playoff performer each of the past 3 years, and it would’ve been at least 5 years if his team didn’t suck in 06/07.

            Posted by boyer | April 28, 2011, 7:59 am
          • Boyer, I am not sure why you continue to shift the discussion away from Game Winning shots. But I’m sorry – 6/22 in the game’s most clutch moments is not clutch? I’m really not sure what else I can say.

            Moreover, if you are talking about instances outside of the game winning shot, I’m not sure how you are overlooking this, but the clutch stats show that while Kobe Bryant scored the most points, he only shot 40%. Sorry, but thats not clutch either. If an NBA player takes a ton of shots, you are going to eventually score points. Clutch means making the shots when you are given opportunities. Not taking a ton of shots to get your points. So contrary to you claim, I am not ignoring the fact that Kobe scored the most points in the crunchtime. I am simply saying that scoring points at a 40% clip is not clutch. Its volume shooting

            I am also not ignoring that Kobe’s teams win a ton of games. But what you are failing to understand is that winning does not mean that a player is clutch. For example, Karl Malone spent 12 years leading his team to 50-win seasons. However, Malone was notoriously known as a player who failed in the clutch. I’m not saying that Kobe is Karl Malone, but just because a player wins, doesn’t mean he demonstrating clutchness. Bill Russell won 11 rings and no one is claiming he is one of the most clutch players in the NBA.

            Bottom line: Trying to mask Kobe’s individual failures behind team successes doesn’t work. For example, he shot 6/24 in Game 7 of the finals last year, and his team STILL won. Proof that Winning and Clutch are not necessarily one in the same. Kobe is a great, great player, overrated in the clutch, and the beneficiary of the most talented supporting cast in the past 20 years which helps him win ball games even when he fails in clutch situations.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | April 28, 2011, 6:54 pm
    • Boyer,

      If you analyze the list of shots, Kobe had a clean look at most of those. In other words, he had at least 5-10 seconds which means that he had time to setup and take a good shot. the only games that were desperation were the ones that Realist pointed out which is only 3 games. Otherwise, Kobe had enough time to get a good shot off.

      Posted by Chauncey Gandus | April 25, 2011, 7:51 pm
  50. First admission, I am a Lakers fan and a Kobe fan, but I also consider myself to be a fairly objective fan.

    There are clearly (as evidenced by some of the comments) many fervent, myopic, Kobe supporters, who will not acknowledge any of his flaws. There are also many pure Kobe haters, who take any opportunity to tear down Kobe’s legacy, and bash anyone who likes him.

    I believe you were relatively fair in your overall assessment of Kobe’s career, and I am open enough to realize that the stats you presented are not without merit.

    At the same time, you have to realize several problems. These numbers are VERY subjective. You said you will later provide stats on Kobe’s performances in the final 1 minute, 2 minutes, etc, but any of these stats is highly manipulatable. That doesn’t mean they are meaningless, it just means they are not entirely conclusive.

    Also, it is very hard to compare clutch stats to begin with,, because there are such varying degrees of opportunity for those stats. Kobe’s higher number of opportunities could be a negative for his efficiency, just as it is a positive for his raw accumulation of game winning/tying shots.

    Kobe’s determination and confidence in these circumstances can be both a negative and positive for his view in these circumstances. Kobe takes a majority of these shots for his team, not because he doesn’t trust his teammates, but because he believes so highly in himself.

    For example, there have been many opportunities where LeBron James (this year especially) could have been more aggressive and taken the last shot for his team, but instead he makes a relatively weak attempt to drive before passing off to an Eddie House or James Jones for a game winning attempt. Those misses by those guys could have very easily been misses for LeBron, but he chose not to take the tough shot. If he can’t get a (relatively) easy look, he is unlikely to shoot at all. This is not to bash LeBron. He is just of a different mindset than Kobe.

    Also, the quoted 82games stats were only until 2009. I’d like to see the numbers the last two years, especially last season where Kobe had no less than SIX game winning jumpers in the regular season.

    As you noted in the article as well, these stats do not completely dissolve any sense of “clutchness” from Kobe, as there are many undefined circumstances in which that quality could come into play. But just as the Kobe zealots will blindly dismiss those numbers, the Kobe haters will blindly accept them as pure proof that Kobe isn’t at all clutch. Both sides of that argument are just nearsighted at best.

    The whole point is, while these numbers are interesting to look at, and they do obviously carry SOME weight, they absolutely don’t tell the whole story.

    Posted by Robert DoBucki | April 23, 2011, 7:09 pm
    • Robert – Thank you for you candor and objectivity.

      You are correct in that while my article takes a strong position, I tried to be as objective as possible in my analysis. Moreover, I am not a Kobe hater, but actually a fan of his game. I simply believe that he is overrated when it comes to game winning shots and cite the data to support my evidence.

      I continually hear that my sample size is too subjective. In your case, you are stating that the data is highly maniputable. I disagree but understand where you are coming from. My primary objective was too debunk the myth around the league that Kobe Bryant should have the ball in his hands for the last shot, when the reality is that he has missed nearly 70 percent of the attempts. However, lets discuss this for a moment – if measuring a player’s performance within the last 24 sec, 1 min, and 2min is too subjective, and we are going to dismiss the data, help me understand the objective metric that we SHOULD use to measure Kobe’s performance. We can’t just annoint Kobe the king if all we are working off is the “eye test” – Kobe is prettier than everyone else and therefore most clutch. So what is the alternative metric for GW shots. Why should Where is the proof? It is unfair to overlook the fact that he has missed 16 shots and call him the most clutch player in the game, isn’t it?

      Lets also address the notion that Kobe is “willing” to take the shot and that accounts for something. I disagree. I would rather have a guy who is scared, but makes his shots vs a guy who is confident, but misses. I simply care about the results. Am I missing something?

      Also, with regards to the Lebron James example, I disagree. There has been a long-standing myth that Lebron James is afraid to take shots with the game on the line, and there is nothing further from the truth. I have an article that I will be publishing within the next week that speaks to this further, but Lebron James to me, makes the right basketball play. Lebron got criticized for passing to Donyell Marshall in 2007, yet Kobe didn’t get criticized when he passed off the Derek fisher for the game winning shot in the NBA Finals against Orlando. Both were the correct basketball plays, but the difference is that Kobe has Fisher and Lebron had Marshall. One guy made the shot, the other guy misses.

      To answer your question regarding 2010 crunchtime playoff stats, our team pulled that data together and Kobe was 13/33 – 39.4%.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | April 24, 2011, 11:44 am
  51. All you Kobe haters are ridiculous. At the end of the day GM’s and other players want Kobe taking the big shot. I’m pretty sure they know the game better than any of these stat nerds that manipulate numbers to diminish Kobe’s legacy. The guy hit like 6 or 7 game winners last year. Did you see game six of the wcf last year? He broke the hearts of everyone in phoenix. Game five of the finals last year with the Lakers struggling to score Kobe comes out absolutely scorching and made shot after shot in the third quarter,(they would’ve won had Ron Artest been able to make a free throw late), but by your “clutch” stats none of those shots were clutch; are you telling me that putting the team on your back when the game is slipping away in the third quarter does not require clutchness?

    Another factor that isn’t accounted for is the type and amount of shots Kobe takes in the “clutch” situations. Like the comment above me says, his supreme confidence in himself, which you bet your butt is part of being clutch, can at times skew his fg%. These stats being used to tear down Kobe are getting quite ridiculous. The guy is top five all time, he’s gonna six or more rings by the time he hangs it up, yet you people continuously try to tear him down.

    Once again let me state that gm’s, coaches, and players, the majority of them, want Kobe with the ball and the game on the line; that in of itself should be all the argument needed for his clutchness.

    Also you people who say that Kobe rode Shaq to three titles or Pau and Ron for the last two are just idiots and theres no need for me to respond to you.

    At the end of the day Kobe has five going on six rings, so take that. (Yes Horry has seven rings, but when you talk of all time greats, and current best players rings are what is used to separate them, its not used to separate an average yet very clutch player, from an all time great.)

    Posted by Nick | April 23, 2011, 10:48 pm
    • Thanks for the read Nick, but really?

      Did Isiah Thomas know best when he traded 2 first round picks for Eddy Curry?
      Did Michael Jordan/Rod Higgins know better when they selected Kwame Brown ahead of Pau Gasol?
      Did Jerry west know best when he signed Brian Cardinal to a 30 million dollar contract?
      Did the Jim Lynam know best when they traded Charles Barkley for Jeff hornacek?

      The point is not that the GMs are always wrong, but have been known to be wrong on several occassions.

      Thanks for point out the Phoenix series last year. Now how about pointing out all the misses? Interesting that you are overlooking the 12/40 4th quarter performance during all 7 games of the NBA Finals.

      I said it before and I’ll say it again. How does fearlessness = clutch? My definition of clutch is based on miss or make – not willingness to take a shot. Give me a coward who makes the shot over the courageous inidviidual who misses. At the end of the day, my guy has succeeded while the other has failed. Still waiting for an answer on this one.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | April 24, 2011, 11:57 am
  52. People are increasingly overusing the word hate when faced with criticism. It’s just sad.

    Posted by Adam | April 24, 2011, 9:12 pm
  53. heres some fun numbers for you kobe lovers, in this current series against the hornets, kobe is averaging in the 4th quarter 4.8 points a game, shoots 33 percent and has as many turnovers as assists and 1 rebound , and his team is tied with an undermanned and undertalented hornest squad,shit he doesnt elevate his play in the 4th quarter his play gets worse,haha.

    Posted by samtotheg | April 25, 2011, 1:33 am
    • Way to cherry pick “un-clutch” moments.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | April 26, 2011, 12:15 am
    • Yeah, SAMTOTHEG. Kobe’s poor 4th quarter performances in the 1st round of a current playoff series have nothing to do with what we’re talking about here. Oh wait…

      SMH at Gil. Is it really cherry-picking if the un-clutch moments far outnumber the clutch ones?

      “Cherry picking can refer to the selection of data or data sets so a study or survey will give desired, predictable results which may be misleading or even completely contrary to actuality.”
      Nice try.

      Posted by William | April 26, 2011, 5:27 pm
  54. Clutch – Sports . an extremely important or crucial moment of a game. This isn’t something that can be easily metricized (as your disclaimer states), and I can easily think of some clutch Kobe moments that likely can’t be measured by stats, but by wins. Let’s take the 2000 Finals Game 4 for instance, where the Lakers lost Shaq to fouling out and Kobe carrying the load at the end of the 4th and overtime, giving the Lakers a 3-1 series lead instead of facing a 2-2 series tie and another game in Indiana. This would be Kobe’s first clutch playoff moment.
    For a second example, I’ll go more recently to the 2010 WCF, Game 6. Phoenix makes a push in the 4th, only to be closed out by big shot after big shot by Kobe. If I recall correctly Nash pays some respect by saying the shots Kobe made to put them away were “best-player-in-the-game shots”. Now the Lakers weren’t losing which would eliminate the necessity for a game winning or tying shot, but the shots Kobe made killed the Suns’ spirit.
    I can’t really think of a task in sports that can be harder than bailing your team out with a game-winning or tying shot, but if Kobe has a 1-in-3 chance of actually DOING it, I’d takes those odds given the fact that it’s largely due to him that the game was that close to begin with. Being clutch could mean a strong offensive push in the 3rd quarter, a game-changing PLAY in the 4th, a spirit-breaking dunk in the 2nd. This is something that isn’t easy to quantify, but we see the man do it time and time again. Which gets to my point, clutch play is something that clearly shifts the momentum in a team’s favor, something that has to be observed in the game, not compiled from the box score.

    Posted by J.T. | April 25, 2011, 1:59 pm
    • J.T.- Thanks for the read. But if you re-read my post, you will notice that I said that Game Winning/Game Tying shots are only ONE measure of clutch. And you are absolutely right, there are several other moments outside of the last 5 minutes during which a player can demonstrate the clutchness. However, the Game Winning/Game tying shot to me is the MOST clutch moment within the game – not the only moment – but the most clutch.

      You have cited as examples different instances in which Kobe was clutch. I am not going to argue against that. So now, list all the instances when he WAS NOT clutch. Based on the statistics such as the 5 in 5 data on, there are 2-3 times more instances in which Kobe missed shots in the clutch vs, when he made them. Yet you are only mentioning the makes. Fair is only fair and You cannot hold on only to the positive moments and completely disregard the negative.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | April 25, 2011, 3:42 pm
  55. Jt, again you only want to cherrypick pro clutch kobe moments, what about game 1 against the lowly new orleans hornets this year when kobe tried to take over in the 4th quarter and missed his last six shots, and had a turnover out of bounds , he blew the game.You say they are in the game becuase of kobe did you watch that 6 for 24 performance by kobe game 7 he was bricking left and right the bigs and the rebounds(and the refs) kept La in it,not kobes pivotal game 7 clutch performance.

    Posted by samtotheg | April 25, 2011, 2:49 pm
    • The point I was making is that clutch can’t be measured by stats alone and that a clutch moment can happen in just about any point in the game. Just look at last night’s game. New Orleans was shooting over 80 pct and after a couple of dunks, the wind was taken out of their sails. This in my mind is also a measure of clutch because plays like that can sometimes irrevocably change the flow of the game and crush a team’s spirit.

      Now, I didn’t mean to imply Kobe is clutch ALL the time. The man is human. I’m fairly certain Michael Jordan wasn’t clutch all the time either. That’s what this is all about right? Is Kobe more clutch than MJ? Is he even close? Let MJ be the standard metric and I’m sure the numbers won’t look nearly as bad. Trust me, as a Lakers fan I’ve had plenty of moments where I’m yelling for Kobe to pass the freaking ball or lament over him trying to do too much. However, I’ll say again that if he has a 31% chance of pulling of win, then I’m taking it. Has Kobe cost the Lakers some games with mistakes? Undeniably so. There are only a few players that exist that can overcome that and have enough confidence to attempt it again.

      Samtotheg, I watched last year’s game 7 and Kobe’s shooting was atrocious, along with everyone else’s. He was trying to do too much for most of the game. How’s that for blindness?

      Blindness is trying to discredit guys for their accomplishments and attempting to make them fraudulent. The media didn’t produce the dunk on Okafor last night…

      Posted by J.T. | April 27, 2011, 9:48 am
      • J.T. – A couple of thoughts:

        1.) I think that there is a difference between pivotal and clutch. Kobe’s dunks last night were more “pivotal” than clutch. Clutch to me means that your team absolutely, positively needs a basket and the ramifications of a miss or failure become magnified given the stage of the game. Moreover, there are different degrees of clutch. Which brings me to my second point…

        2.) There is no doubt that a clutch moment can occur anything during a game. But the game winning/game tying shot presents the MOST clutch opportunity. I have yet to hear a logicial argument otherwise. Had Kobe missed a shot or failed to complete those dunks, the Lakers would have still recovered and likely won the game. However, a missed game tying or game winning shot is a missed shot, and there is no guarantee for second chances. And in 15 years, Kobe is 6/22.

        Posted by The NBA Realist | April 27, 2011, 9:56 am
        • I have to agree with you there. Moments like last night’s are more pivotal than clutch, yet they aren’t any less important. I did stray from the point.

          I find it amazing that Kobe has only attempted 22 game winning shots in 15 years, which lends to the fact that there wasn’t a need for it either by the Lakers having put the game out of reach or vice-versa. The examples I made in my first post were another measure of clutchness, where the other team finally realizes “Hey, he’s not going to let us win” and they go cry in the locker room.

          I have to correct you on one of the entries though, which also is one of my favorite moments. 2006 Game 4 OT shot was a true game winner with no time on the clock. Nash was tied up at 6 seconds.

          Posted by J.T. | April 27, 2011, 10:18 am
  56. Dudes right, Kobes a product of the media.
    Also I would love to see if you factor in turnovers into game winning possessions.

    Kobe also turns it over a lot in this situation.

    Also would be nice to see assists too if your going to factor in turnovers, for an even more descriptive result. Adding these will expose how blind Kobe supporters are.


    Posted by Dylan | April 26, 2011, 12:28 pm
  57. Also, pleasee do the final 5 or 2 minutes of the game, but for Lebron, now theres going to be a real story, cus he will blow Kobe out of the water for that one, and make for another real article.

    Posted by Dylan | April 26, 2011, 12:30 pm
  58. Arrogant laker fans always refer to the past. three of kobe’s rings has “shaq” engraved on it, one has “pau”, one to “ron-ron”.

    All LA fans keep repeating “we were also down last year, bla bla bla.”

    Wake up and smell the vineyards LA fans. No rockets, no suns in this year’s playoffs. and no boston to.

    LA has a penchant of throwing away the real big things. the potential four-peat, malone-payton combo DEMOLISHED in 5 by Detroit, when experts and la fans alike were saying LA in 5.

    Let’s see Kobe drop 81 now. Chris Paul, put him out of his misery

    Posted by you'reDONEson | April 26, 2011, 1:12 pm
  59. Hey man, Great Article by the way. Didn’t want that to be lost in all of this. Had to have taken a lot of research.

    Posted by J.T. | April 27, 2011, 9:56 am
  60. omg the guy is not trying to say kobe isn’t clutch. hes just trying to say hes not the most clutch guy of all time. seriously, everyone knows kobe is good at basketball and is good in the clutch. hes just not the BEST.

    Posted by jimmy martinez is a tool | April 27, 2011, 5:08 pm
  61. Gary Neal is clutch. Facts are facts.

    Posted by Gil Meriken | April 28, 2011, 3:09 pm
  62. So, the lakers are 7-1 in the last 8 closeout games on the road. That’s just insanely good, plus they have the most road playoff wins over the last 4 years, nearly .500 on the road in the playoffs over the past 4 years, which is also insanely good.

    And guess what, Kobe has scored at least 30 in each of those games, which is the all time record. Probably not tonight, but he’s played a good first half in limited minutes.

    Hmm, yea, I guess he’s not clutch. But, facts are facts. The man steps up in the playoffs and is the primary reason his teams win over and over, but I guess that’s not clutch. Oh well, some people.

    Posted by boyer | April 28, 2011, 6:13 pm
    • Please tell me how Kobe steps up in the playoffs. His career numbers are virtually identical for regular season vs playoffs, except his FG% and FT% is worse in the playoffs. Look it up. That’s really elevating his game, huh?
      “Some people”

      Posted by William | April 28, 2011, 10:10 pm
      • For the sake of the spirit of this article, Kobe may not be great at hitting game winners, but he’s great in pivotal (thanks Realist for the clarification) moments in games. I’ll use last night’s game as an example. New Orleans was attempting to pick up momentum, the crowd was getting into it, then Kobe nails a 3 from 27 feet as the shot clock expires, shutting the crowd up. New Orleans would make 1 FG in the next 6 minutes of the game. By the time they’d make another they were staring at a 17-point deficit.

        So stepping it up doesn’t necessary mean he’s scoring 30 and grabbing 10 boards. Ask Lebron if that works. It’s all about making the plays that change the momentum and in most cases kill the momentum and will of the opposite team.

        I’ll take pivotal and win by 18 over clutch any barely winning any day.

        Posted by J.T. | April 29, 2011, 10:20 am
        • The problem with a lot of people is that they’re only looking stats, and can’t see beyond them. Kobe can play so many different ways and still dominate the game. At times during the hornets series, he was a scoring machine, then he was a defensive stopper, then he was a facilitator. The opposing team never knows what they’re going to get. He puts so much pressure on the opposing defense, it’s so difficult to game plan against, and he requires double and triple teams regularly or he will kill you, thus, other guys on his team are routinely open and getting great looks. Pau benefits the most from the attention of the defense that is required on Kobe.

          William, if you haven’t seen the nba playoffs for the past 15 years, then fine, but if you’ve had, then it’s pretty blatantly obvious of the dominating performances Kobe routinely issues against his opponents. It’s time to wake up and face the real facts.

          Posted by boyer | April 29, 2011, 10:45 am
          • Hilarious. I’m the one who came with facts to dispute your assertion that Kobe “steps up” in the playoffs. You come back with cliches and generalizations. Yet, I’m the one that needs to wake up and face the real facts?

            Here’s a fact for you-
            Let’s say Kobe’s post season statistics were significantly better. You’d have no problem using it as evidence to support your perception in this discussion.

            Posted by William | April 29, 2011, 12:19 pm
  63. MJ shot 33-49 in clutch situations, that’s like 57% wayy higher than 31%, so people really need to stop all of this bullshit saying MJ shot similarly in the clutch, Idc about Kobe being clutch or not, but don’t try to bring MJ down to his level

    Posted by Colin | April 29, 2011, 12:08 pm
    • Now THERE’s a guy who ACTUALLY stepped up in the post season.

      And I love how he often made the right basketball play. How many times did he set up guys like Kerr and Paxon for game winners? Kobe wants to take the shot and that’s often to the detriment of the team. A fundamental difference between a great basketball player and the greatest.

      Posted by William | April 29, 2011, 12:32 pm
      • NO QUESTION MJ was better. The guy was totally unbelievable and best any of us have ever seen grace a basketball court.

        57% is waaaay better than 31%, but the numbers guy in me asks “where’s the beef?” There’s a list on Kobe. Where’s MJ’s list? Not that I don’t believe you, but I’d like to see it for myself.

        Now it’s really an apples-to-apples comparison and if 57% is actual, that would mean Jordan shot better than his average FG%, substantiating a “step up” and since 31% is lower than Kobe’s average FG5, that substantiates a “step down”. Great.

        FYI, Kobe made assists to Fish and Artest the past two years in the deciding minute of the deciding games of the last two Finals.

        Posted by J.T. | April 29, 2011, 1:05 pm
        • Good stuff J.T. Thanks for the examples. A more in-depth comparison that included game winning assists would be interesting, and I would change my tune if I were wrong. But I’m pretty sure I’m not.

          Found this on…
          “Now we’re not Kobe haters by any means and I will readily give him his due as one of the best NBA players (note however, I didn’t say the best) but he certainly has an overblown reputation when it comes to the clutch shot: people remember the ones he hits, but not the ones he misses, and heck you think a 56 FGA to 1 assist ratio might be part of the problem?”
          Yikes! I think this stat goes up to 2009. Still, pretty disturbing no matter how you slice it.

          Posted by William | April 29, 2011, 1:22 pm
          • That’s why I look at the numbers myself. 56 FGA to 1 assist if totally ridiculous. You can take a brief glance at the stats and clearly see this is something pulled out of some dark, smelly place. I even actually calculated it:

            Career Reg Season FGA-21370 AST-5154 Ratio-4.146

            Career (Playoffs present) FGA-4115 AST-978 Ratio-4.208
            Career (Playoffs up to 2009) FGA-3501 AST-829 Ratio-4.223

            MJ Reg Season FGA-24537 AST-5633 Ratio-4.356

            MJ Playoffs FGA-4497 AST-1022 Ratio-4.400

            I decided to add Jordan in at the last minute just to put these numbers into perspective. So Jordan shot the ball more? Sarcasm aside, Jordan fought the same criticism as a ball-hog before he won a ring, so I all of this isn’t new. I even recall hearing in recent video of end the ’91 Finals that it was rare that a team won it all with a scoring champion. He changed that fact quite a bit.

            Kobe has turned the ball over more often during his career 3228 to 2924, which boils down to 2.9 to 2.7 tov/game. As far as I’m concerned this is in the noise.

            Posted by J.T. | April 29, 2011, 1:52 pm
          • Before you pat yourself on the back, remember we’re using the game-winning shot metric. Dark and smelly indeed.


            Now that we’re back on topic, I’m still wondering what an advanced analysis would reveal about game winning assists, not career assist to FGA ratios.

            Posted by William | April 29, 2011, 2:31 pm
  64. Since this entire blog is called “Chasing 23” I assume everything in it is written to either glorify MJ or detract from any player who threatens to equal or surpass his legacy someday. Using that caveat to temper my expectations for objectivity in this blog, I have to ask where Jordan’s game-by-game log of “clutch” shots is? He’s considered the “GOAT” by most people, so compare Kobe’s shooting stats to the so-called best ever and let’s see how much more clutch Jordan was.

    I love it when people compare stats in a vacuum, and when people come up with their own definitions of what “clutch” means. Every game is different and every late-game situation is different, and a shot with 50 seconds left in a close game is just as clutch as a shot with 5 seconds left in a close game. EVERY shot matters down the stretch of any close game.

    Posted by Chad Covington | April 30, 2011, 11:43 am
    • Chad – Thanks for the read. Also feel free to read the about us section to understand why we named our site Chasing23. You will be surprised.

      With that said, rather than attacking Michael Jordan, I would be interested in your response to 6/22. Not every shot is the same and a last second shot merits far more clutch regognition that a shot made with 50 seconds on the clock. If a player misses with 50 seconds, they still have a chance to recover. But a last second shot is oftentimes means a win or loss and is less forgiving.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | April 30, 2011, 12:00 pm
      • I’m not attacking Jordan at all. I actually didn’t say anything negative about him other than he’s the “so-called” best ever (because he shouldn’t even be compared to centers or power forwards to determine all-time greatness). I merely asked where Jordan’s list was. He is the bar by which every other player (or at least every other shooting guard) is measured right? So I would like to see a game by game breakdown of Jordan’s career in the final seconds of close games as a comparison. If Kobe is “chasing 23” then let’s see how close he is.

        You can’t compare these clutch stats in a vacuum anyway. When Kobe has Smush Parker, Chris Mihm, Kwame Brown, Bryan Cook, Luke Walton, Deavean George, and Sasha Vujacic as teammates and Player B has two all-stars and four other solid shooters as teammates, Player B is less likely to be doubled or tripled in clutch situations and will get more open shots. That was only for a few years, but you get my point. You can’t compare stats in a vacuum. All “clutch” shots are not created equal.

        Posted by Chad Covington | April 30, 2011, 8:06 pm
        • For the record, I’ve never claimed Kobe was any more clutch than any other player, but the purpose of this blog seems to an effort to prove Kobe is well below average as a clutch player. Given the sheer number of times he’s been in clutch situations and the percentage of those times when he was the primary or sole scoring option, and given that he has 7 Finals appearances and 5 rings, I have a hard time believing Kobe is a below-average clutch player.

          Posted by Chad Covington | April 30, 2011, 8:22 pm
  65. The real question, and one that no one can answer, is : what were the chances of the alternative shots the could have been taken? You can assumed it’s higher than 6/22, but that’s a pretty broad assumption. What if all other opportunities and outcomes in those 22 shots would have resulted in less than 6/22? It’s not about comparing to other players, it’s about comparing to other possibilities. We need a time machine to run all the other possibilities, and see just how much higher the % would be if Kobe and his team did something else.

    Posted by Gil Meriken | April 30, 2011, 1:11 pm
  66. Make that 6 for 23.

    But this highlights an important point. This particular shot against the Mavs was a very good look. Would you have wanted someone else to take that shot, because you know that Kobe is 6 for 22 in game winning shots in the playoffs? Of course not.

    You point is that “Kobe has not been clutch in the playoffs, so he does not deserve that reputation”. Great. But you still want him taking that last shot. Well, maybe you don’t, but I do. I’ll take that look over any of the other alternatives that were available tonight.

    Posted by Gil Meriken | May 2, 2011, 11:30 pm
  67. There was some idiot who was trying to say Kobe’s clutch stats very similar to Jordan’s. Heres the truth:

    Game Winning Shots:

    Michael Jordan made 33 out of 58 game winning shots which is a 56.9% shooting percentage, while Kobe has has made 29 but attempted more game winners, and is a 27% career shooter in game winning situations.

    Get your facts straight idiots. Theres a reason MJ is the greatest of all time, and one of those is that.

    Posted by Ragib Zaman | May 3, 2011, 10:35 pm
    • Thanks for the read Ragib – The Jordan Playoff GW/GT stats are right around the corner. Stay tuned.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 4, 2011, 7:20 am
    • I agree MJ, stat-wise, are much better than Kobe. However, MJ was NOT…I repeat…NOT THE GREATEST! How about YOU get your facts straight! MJ is like 4th on my list. Kobe is probably like 8th or 9th.

      Posted by ShaneFM | May 4, 2011, 2:06 pm
  68. To the author:

    Henry Abbot suggested Kevin Martin is the most clutch player in the NBA. In previous seasons he’s suggested Lebron or wade but backed off as they’ve been horrible this season. As they’ve taken less than 30 shots in their careers, going 1-8 this season drops their percentage to abysmal numbers.

    Here’s the point, none of that matters. Basketball isn’t about efficiency, it’s about basketball. Kobe Bryant, other than his rookie season against Utah has never been placed in a playoff series he Can and should win, and because of his horrible performances in the fourth quarter or overtime, lost the series. He has been a starter on 50 win teams 8 times prior to this season, he has made the Finals 7 of those 8 seasons. He has won 5 championships and lost two handily. But he has never lost a series because he came up lame in close and important games to teams he can and should beat. LA had no business being up 3-1 against Phoenix and should have never beat them. All of their losses to Phoenix were blowouts except for one overtime game in which Kobe scored 50 and the last 12 in the 4th quarter.

    Clutch is not defined by efficiency, but by a fearless command of the situation leading to results. Lebron James has wilted or quit in at least two series where his team was the clear cut favorite (Boston and Orlando), and came up poor and sub-par for another 3 (Boston 08, Detroit 06, San Antonio 07)

    Dirk Nowitzki for all his efficiency, has still been bounced out of the Playoffs by inferior teams in multiple occasions that had a large share of close games.

    The modern stat geek forgets basketball, belittles fundamentals and intangibles, and relies on efficiency. If I asked you which team is best offense in the league you would probably look at PPG, or pace, or points per 100 possessions, or statistics. You probably wouldn’t realize basic fundamental basketball:

    “a sound offense provides chances for offensive rebounds and defensive floor balance” – Phil Jackson

    Does that sound like a Don Nelson, Mike Dantoni team? Or does it sound like a team that understands that a sound offense predicates itself on rebounding/defense and thus leading itself to 11 championships in 20 years!

    My point is that efficiency is unimportant. What’s important are “basketball plays”. Fundamentals and sound execution. The results of the shot are whatever and don’t matter. Watching the greatest coach of all time and the greatest player of his era for a decade have taught me that. Maybe you should change your viewpoint of “clutch” and “good” when in relation to basketball

    Posted by Vahagn | May 4, 2011, 12:33 am
    • Thanks for the read Vahagn.

      First off, I am measuing Playoff GW/GT shots where the stakes are higher, not regular season. To say that the Playoff last second shot holds equal weight and consequence to the regular season last second shot would be false. The ramifications are far different.

      Moreover, I completely disagree that Kobe Bryant has never failed in a playoff series that he can and should win. In 2004, he was primary reason for what is arguably the greatest upset defeat in NBA History against the Pistons. Moreover, his 2003 Lakers were the defending champs and SHOULD have won the Spurs who had only one legitimate star (David Robinson was a shell of himself). Lastly, the Lakers were favored against Boston in 2008 and absolutely COULD have won. Also, feel free to watch the tape on the pivotal Game 3 performance against Detroit in 04 with the series tied 1-1. Kobe Bryant was horrendous.

      With regards to your other statements, I am not sure what they have to do with the GW/GT shot. I will tell you though, that if you are going to claim that Kobe Bryant is most clutch begins he has won the most, you will have to remain consistent and state that Bill Russell and Bob Cousey are more clutch than Michael Jordan. Its silly.

      Winning has everything to do with your supporting cast.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 4, 2011, 7:38 am
      • Actually ,the primary reason the 2004 Lakers lost to the Pistons was the injury to Karl Malone.

        I don’t know about the Lakers being favored against Boston (maybe in Vegas) – but they had a worse regular season record and did not even have home court advantage. Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza were also injured.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | May 4, 2011, 2:22 pm
        • Disagree Gil. Even without Malone, the Lakers had 3 HOFers. Detroit had one All-Star and a bunch of role players. They had no business in beating the Lakers and other than Golden State in 1975, 2004 will go down as the greatest upset in NBA History.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | May 4, 2011, 2:37 pm
          • If Detroit had one All-Star, then the Lakers only had two, because Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, and Ben Wallace(and Mehmet Okur!) have all been All-Star many times over, in addition to Ben Wallace’s multiple DPOY awards.

            With the injury to Malone, the Lakers were forced to give significant minutes to Stanislav Medvedenko and Luke Walton, who each played over 70 minutes in the series.

            Contrast that with the Piston’s bench players, none of whom played more than 70 minutes in the entire series.


            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 4, 2011, 5:10 pm
          • Gil, not sure which facts you are looking at , but none of those Detroit players were All-Stars in 04. And none of them are HOFers. The Lakers had 4 HOFers, 3 who were able to play, and should have won running away. They were overwhelming favorites, even with a gimpy Malone who played in 3 of the games.

            They lost because Kobe Bryant shot them out with a stat line of 23points, 4reb and 3ass on 38% shooting including 4/13 with 11 points in a pivotal game 3.

            I am on record in saying that Kobe did NOT quit in Game 7 of the 2006 playoffs. However, he definitively quit in Game 3. Watch the tape.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | May 4, 2011, 5:39 pm
          • I understand you were saying that they were not All stars at the time.

            But they were All Stars in 2006, possibly getting overdue recognition for their play.

            On the same point, neither Kobe nor Shaq nor Payton were HOFers at the time :)

            But Payton was well past his prime. That’s like saying the Heat had three HOFers when they beat the Mavs, or the the Mavs currently have two HOFers.

            The fact that the Pistons made it back to the Finals the very next year is a testament to their strength. However, a healthy Malone for the Lakers would have beaten the Pistons in 2004. With Malone, they had beaten the top-seeded Spurs.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | May 4, 2011, 8:15 pm
          • Disagree. Kobe/Shaq/Payton were playing at a HOF level and just the year prior, and Payton was not “past his prime”. You don’t go from averaging 20/8/3 to suddently washed up 1 year later. Payton struggled mightily to fit within the Laker offense. However, from a talent perspective, he was still one of the best players in the NBA.

            Of course the Pistons made it to the Finals the next year. They were a mediocre to good team who benefited from an injured Dwyane Wade in Games 6 and 7. Otherwise they would have finished the season exactly where they were expected. The Eastern Conference was simply a weak conference. Someone had to finished in 2nd place.

            Regardless, that Laker team was expected to challenge the 96 Bulls for best record ever. Each of the 4 HOF entered that season playing at a high level. Their chemistry simply didn’t mesh, and Kobe was horrendous in the NBA Finals (only Lebron in 07 was arguably worse when comparing superstars.) and shot them out of the series. No excuse to get beat in 5 games.

            Posted by The NBA Realist | May 5, 2011, 2:29 pm
  69. Since your throwing out misleading stats that tell the story you want to tell, then I’ll throw stats at you as well. Check this link out:|977;season=r

    Read it and be sure to back-peddle your whole argument.

    Posted by ShaneFM | May 4, 2011, 1:33 pm
  70. The true myth here is that you are claiming that you have a EXACT solution in STAT form which YOU DON’T! You, apparently, are not equiped with the knowledge of basketball enough to realize what Clutch exactly means. Clutch to many people are many different things. But your defining clutch in what you perceive clutch to be, which is in the playoffs in the last 24 seconds when they are tie are bhind. Unfortunately this is a small portion of what clutch signifies.
    If you look at season clutch stats, especially last year, he was dominant! But your not including this…just playoffs in the last 24 seconds when they are behind or tie. This is what I’m talking about when your STAT analysis is this little small window to show your right. Well, I could show a small window STAT on MJ in the first seven years of the NBA and in his college days that would make him about as average a player as Derek Fisher…but that wouldn’t be fair…would it?
    Just go to StatsCube website and look-up Kobe for the regular season this year and then select “IN CLUTCH”…you will see how he is above average.

    Posted by ShaneFM | May 4, 2011, 1:45 pm
    • Wow Shane. You seem pretty angry. The challenge here is that literacy is obviously not your strongsuit and you are interpreting whatever you choose to interpret, so let me help you out:

      I my article, I specifically stated the following:

      “Keep in mind that the game winning/game tying shot is only ONE metric of clutch, and in a future article we will post additional data reviewing Kobe’s performance during the last 2 minutes, last 5 minutes, and the entire 4Q, which further substantiates my point”

      Did you just completely overloook this?

      So contrary to you what you would like to believe, I am simply stating that the final 24 seconds are one measure of clutch. However, I also will tell you that the game winning shot is the MOST clutch situation possible since any other missed shot prior to the GW/GT shot offers a player a chance at redemption. The GW/GT shot is miss or make, and oftentimes win or lose. No second chances.

      Lastly, you couldn’t have substantiated my arguement any better when you pointed to this years clutch stats. Did you fail to overlook the fact that Kobe is 40% in crunchtime? 40%? In other words, he performs worse during crunchtime than he does during the course of the game. Kobe scores the most points because also takes the most shots – it is called volume shooting and volume shooting is NOT clutch. Even a broken clock is right twice a day and if a player continues to shoot the ball, they are going to eventually score points.

      No backtracking here. Thanks for further proving my point.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 4, 2011, 2:11 pm
  71. When it’s all said and done your MISLEADING stats of Kobe’s clutch prowess will never amount to anything. Your still a pathetic nobody on the internet attempting, in a very sad little way, to discredit Kobe’s Greatness. YOU, on the other hand, has no greatness to speak of. Oh man…was sad little man you are. LOL

    Posted by ShaneFM | May 4, 2011, 1:56 pm
    • Never amount to anything? It’s a fucking blog post with a guy stating his opinion. Nothing more…nothing less. The only thing sad here is how seriously you’re taking this post or his other Kobe post.

      Ok reading your other posts that’s not the only thing that’s sad.

      Posted by Milhouse | May 4, 2011, 5:34 pm
  72. this is to vahagn. Wtffff? Bron quit against orland in 09? are you a cocaine addict? Ur a fool< game one 49 game 2 35 and the game winner. game 3 and 4 41 and 44 and game 5, ommmmg game 5. 37, 14, ad 12 with his bac against the wall. he scored 17, 5, and 5 in the 4th alone. he scored or assisted every cav field goal in the fourt. ur a fool, stop listening to a hateful dan gilbert and read a stat sheet or watch a recording of the series u fooool.

    Posted by Frank | May 4, 2011, 5:14 pm
  73. The only part of the article that truly interests me is the stats used. The article basically reaffirms what I already thought in greater detail, but I was wondering why you don’t weight put additional weights on certain parameters like distance from the hoop and number of defenders on Kobe when he is taking the shot. While it would certainly take more work to find the data and think of appropriate weights, I feel that it would be a better measure of how clutch Kobe really is in Game Winning/Game Tying situations and it would give you a way to compare a jump shooter like Dirk and a slasher like Lebron in the clutch.

    Posted by Interested Bystander | May 4, 2011, 11:58 pm
    • IB – Thanks for the read.

      I am not quite sure what distance from the hoop or number of defenders would reaffirm. Every star player is faced with similar scenarios (i.e. multiple defenders, limitations on the clock), and ultimately it comes down to their ability to get a clean look and knock down the shot. So I think that through the course of numerous scenarios, everything evens out in the end.

      You are correct in that the ability of a slasher such as Lebron to get an open look does help to improve success rate. I wrote about this comparison in a follow-up article:

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 5, 2011, 10:53 am
  74. its all about degree of clutch. yes kobe nation he is very good in the 4th which makes him clutch, but in order to obtain that jordanesq clutch you need the ball in your hands with 5 sec left and a 15 footer to win it all. See your argument is like saying peyton manning is clutch cause he dominates the 4th quarter but then sucks in the 2 minute drill. Or saying jeter is clutch cause he owns the 7-8 innings but sucks in the 9th. kobe has to dominate when it matters bottom of the ninth 2 out bases loaded full count 100mph heater coming is he gonna hit it or whiff it. if i was watching id expect kobe to give me a nice breeze

    Posted by ManPitt | May 5, 2011, 12:19 pm
  75. Thank you MANPITT! It does not matter how good someone plays in the minutes or quarter leading up to the final seconds! Y’all are just weakening y’alls argument by bringing that up about Kobe being “clutch” in the 4th quarter. Sure he can make baskets and bring his team back into a game in the last three or four minutes, but what happens when he misses the game winning shot, all his work was for nothing, he missed the MOST IMPORTANT shot of the game, which is not being clutch at all. Being clutch is realizing everything you have done in the game up to that point and making sure that all your hard work just wasn’t done in vain by missing the last shot to win the game.

    Posted by Adrian Uriegas | May 10, 2011, 2:43 pm
  76. Apparently this topic can be argued forever:

    The interesting question is: How did all of this begin? Because the GMs all chose Kobe? It would be nice to see their reasons.

    In reading Abbott’s article he made a point that Kobe takes extremely difficult shots and I could do nothing but agree. Whether it be a defender that doesn’t fall for one of the 4 pump fakes he gives or if he’s being chased out of bounds by two defenders falling away, he is going to shoot. If there is space for him to rise and shoot, it’s going up. That has to be the strategy of opposing teams. “Hey man, he’s going to shoot it anyway so let’s force him to the corner of the court with two guys.”

    I think that’s the only thing that really can’t be quantified in performance metrics, and that’s basketball strategy. All the stats ultimately tell is where the ball ends up on the court and in part how it got there.

    Posted by J.T. | July 12, 2011, 1:03 pm
  77. Like most passive-aggressive Kobe HaterBoys, (Abbott, Simmons, Beckley Mason, Mark Haubner, Matt Moore) you manage to be wrong across the board here. You might do better if you spent less time worrying about vapid, masturbatory constructs like “Kobe Nation” and more time trying to analyze the game.

    First, there is not a particularly good argument, unless you go very heavy on era adjustment and career value, that Kobe is one of the ten best players of all time. I say that as a lifelong Laker fan. He is more like 15-25 all-time.

    Second, Abbott, being the kind of arrogant clown that he is, both misread and overreacted to the GM poll. Kobe sandwiched a season in which he made SIX game-winners between two title runs, the second of which involved a late comeback in Game 7 against an historical rival. Put down the HaterBoy Kool-Aid a minute and ask yourself a question: if ANY big-name NBA player–Wade, Paul, Durant, Nowitzki, James–did that, would he get the “clutch” tag? Of course.

    But since it was Kobe, it really BUGS guys like Abbott. And you. So Abbott has made a huge deal about it, and has turned the whole thing into, basically, a political argument–doing stupid stuff like talking about a death threat he got in his email,”debating” an MSM guy like Mark Heisler, and portraying himself as “objective.” There is zero doubt in my mind that if the same poll comes out in 2014 and the answer is “LeBron” Abbott will either endorse the poll or ignore it. As will you.

    Third, as has been pointed out many times, by limiting the argument to “last shots in certain situations”, Abbott is cherry-picking data to further his agenda. If he were interested in a real discussion, he would look at different kinds of mertics and data frames, talk about it with stat guys, etc.

    But he’s not interested in a discussion. He’s interested in:

    a) Page hits
    b) Venting
    c) Reassuring himself, as you are here, of his intellectual superiority to the hardcore Kobe fans who post on the internet.

    There were a couple of legit points on this topic be made by Abbott (and his bobos like yourself) at one point, but you lost that battle a long time ago.

    Posted by ucla1 | August 13, 2011, 5:41 pm
    • Thanks for the read, but I am having trouble understanding your arguments. Calling me a Kobe Hater doesn’t change anything. How about coming to the table with some facts?

      First off, help me understand what “era adjustment and career value” you are referring to? Is this a subjective metric that you have come up with in your own head?

      Second, the 6 Kobe game winners that you are referring to are regular season game winners, not playoff game winners, and come with far less pressure, scrutiny, and consequence than the playoffs. Again, no one is taking away what Kobe accomplished in the reg season, but in my mind, true success comes in the playoffs.

      Lastly, help me understand the other metric I should be looking at? In the playoffs, Kobe is 7/22 (31.9%) in GW/GT shots, 39.4% with under 5 min (no team up by more than 5 points), and 41.4% in fourth quarters as whole? So which stats should we be looking at again??

      Rather than accusing others of “mastubatory constructs” how about bringing some facts to the table. Obviously, my eye test is telling me something completely different than yours, except that I have the evidence to substantiate my position.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | August 13, 2011, 5:53 pm
      • If basketball statistics are the only observations that are considered “facts” and “evidence”, then one cannot win this argument.

        Fortunately, not all fans of basketball believe that basketball statistics are analogous to the statistics kept in baseball or controlled scientific experiments. I’m not talking about intangibles, I’m talking about the fact that individual basketball statistics have a huge problem in that each one of them (points, rebounds, assists, steals, etc) is generated by five players, but then allocated only to one player.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | August 13, 2011, 7:14 pm
        • Gil,

          I am not disputing your point about stats and actually agree with you to a degree. Stats are not the end all -be all, for measuring performance and do not tell the whole story. However, they should not be entirely dismissed either and can oftentimes make a very, very strong case. Put another way, you watch Kobe a see a guy who makes playoff game winning shots while missing few. I watch him and see the exact opposite. I have simply seen too many game winning/game tying scenarios in which he has missed. Both of our eye tests are coveying different results. So who is right and who is wrong? Kobe cannot be both clutch or unclutch, can he?

          Well, based upon what has actually happened in the past, I believe that evidence or stats favor my original assumption and I still have yet to hear a strong argument to the contrary. However, I am open. Put another way, if we watched every game winning/game tying playoff situation throughout Kobe’s career, we would have found 25 opportunities during which he missed 18 times.

          Posted by The NBA Realist | August 14, 2011, 12:17 am
        • Gil, stats in controlled scientific experiments, baseball, and basketball all share one thing-they are imperfect. In fact, all evidence is imperfect. I can’t prove with 100% certainty that the earth is not flat, that I am not a brain floating in a vat of goo, or that I even exist. But there’s lots of good evidence that points toward my existence as a human being on a planet that is not flat, so I tend to believe it. When imperfect evidence suggests something, I still tend to trust that data unless there’s better evidence somewhere. If you insist on being a nihilist and ignoring good solid evidence, feel free, but you won’t win any arguments on here.

          Furthermore, I don’t think we are here to “win” arguments. At least, I’m not, and I suspect Realist isn’t either. The goal is to understand the game better. My opinions change when evidence contrary to them is presented, as should the opinions of any reasonable observer. I am open to the idea that Kobe is indeed clutch, but I have seen no evidence presented that would convince me of this. Is there such evidence? Perhaps, and if you could provide me with such evidence I would believe it. That evidence would probably come in some mathematical form, since that is the language of scientific discovery and thought and has been for thousands of years.

          Are you open to the idea that Kobe is not clutch? Or that Kobe isn’t as good as MJ? If so, what would it take to convince you? The data supports the opposite viewpoints fairly strongly, so why do you believe what you do? If your mind is not willing to change, there’s no reason to debate you.

          Posted by Lochpster | August 14, 2011, 7:59 pm
          • Lochpster, there are varying degrees of imperfectness of “evidence” in the models I described. On a scale of 1 to 10, with imperfect being 1 and perfect 10, the evidence in a controlled scientific experiment is a 9. Baseball stats as they are kept today describe a winning player at a 6 or 7. Basketball stats as they are kept today are something like a 3 or 4, especially when it comes to distinguishing excellent players from each other (as opposed to separating the good from the bad).

            Posted by Gil Meriken | August 30, 2011, 7:40 pm
          • could you, then, provide the process of how you were able to reach that summary judgement of the available metrics?

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | August 31, 2011, 9:33 am
          • the other thing that I would like answered as to the inadequacy of the statistical measurements: if, in the case of Jordan v. Bryant. one player has greater raw data and greater rate data and more award shares and more championships, where is the evidence deficient?

            How could one attempt to argue successfully that the player who has less of EVERYTHING is as good, let alone better?

            I suppose supporting cast could be one factor; yet, Bryant, in my mind had the better supporting cast for his career.

            If you could please explain how the mythology is so ineffective in explaining why Jordan is measurably greater than Bryant, I would greatly appreciate the insight.

            You have attacked the numbers several times, yet have offered no reasoning as to why the numbers don’t tell at least most of the truth.

            For those of us less euridite, please help us.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | August 31, 2011, 2:00 pm
          • “Basketball stats as they are kept today are something like a 3 or 4, especially when it comes to distinguishing excellent players from each other (as opposed to separating the good from the bad).”
            Says who?
            Why rationally debate someone who is irrational?

            Posted by William | September 1, 2011, 3:38 am
          • What’s irrational is believing that a model like, say, Wins Produced, or PER, is a valuable gauge for determining player quality. To my knowledge no NBA team has used either of these models to build a team. Unlike, in baseball, where Billy Beane’s “Moneyball” success has been well documented. Sure, teams will use statistics, but not the ones that are spouted here and other forums. They may use situational statistics, but I’ve never seen a trade made based upon WP48. You might believe that if a team did use WP48, they would be successful. But they don’t. And there’s a reason. The catch-all stats don’t work like that. You say I’m crazy, but I say the burden is on you to show me it works. Because I’ve followed the prognostications on sites like Wages of Wins, and it’s like reading a horoscope, or tea leaves. The reader or author sees what they want to see. If their projections are different than reality, it’s because the player improved (even though plenty of others could see the player was better to begin with), or the allocation of team minutes was wrong. Or if the projections match reality, then wow, the model works! Did you know that if you take Wins Produced’s projections of team wins (using several models), they don’t do any better than Vegas’ predictions (which are largely set by gamblers’ expectations)? You would think they would have some advantage. So please, show me where the basketball model works and how successful it has been in comparison to baseball in player evaluation and transactions (not compared to some guy who told you Carmelo Anthony was the best player EVAR, or that Allen Iverson is great). These models are no better or worse than a gambler’s expectations, yet some treat them as if they are scientific fact. Basketball is a game with a dizzying amount of variables, and the individual contribution to team outcomes like points, assists, rebounds, and defense are not the same as the main discrete interaction found in baseball (pitcher vs batter). Each point has a different contribution from an individual player. Sometimes a point is 95% from the player who scored, sometimes it’s 5%. Same for rebounds, assists, steals. This is not captured in the stat.

            Anyway, I have a separate point here, and that is: taking the number of shots made in a “clutch” situations divided by number of attempts, and seeing who has the best % is not necessarily the best method to determine who is the best player to take a “clutch” shot. Especially of the sample of shots is fewer than 100, and the shots are taken in different situations aside from time and score considerations. You can say that the % that people think Kobe makes is much higher than he actually makes. Sure. But to conclude then that he is not the best to take a “clutch” shot is not a rational conclusion. Because there is a difference between using those %s and basing your conclusion on them, especially when you have other information available (like your knowledge of the player’s skill set, garnered from countless hours of game play and practice). The question is not “what is Kobe’s % in these situations”, the question is “what would have another player have shot or done in Kobe’s situations?” an answer that is ultimately unknowable, using a limited “clutch %” statistic. And I don’t mean unknowable like whether I am a brain in a vat is unknowable. I mean very clearly unknowable, because the situations those shots are taken in by Kobe are very different, materially different, each one, than the ones taken by other players.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | September 1, 2011, 5:23 pm
  78. the facts are wrong. you just throw stats up in the air. i saw 1 clear mistake in one of the game winners he hit against phoenix (it was a buzzer beater, not a shot with 6 seconds left in OT). If i see a clear error in one of the items, why should I assume everything else is right? provide conclusive evidence, name sources, give us access to this evidence and then you get to trash people. Too many times have I been told lies supported by made up/wrong facts.

    Posted by pelado315 | November 6, 2011, 5:30 pm
    • Pelado315,

      I am not sure where I am trashing anyone. I am simply revealing the facts which you clearly are unwilling to accept. However, if you would like additional evidence, feel free to visit the tape and prove me otherwise.

      The 6 seconds was meant to indicate time in which Kobe took possession of the basketball. Regardless, it does not change the fact that he is 7/25.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | November 6, 2011, 8:35 pm
  79. thoughs stats up their are false,… this is jus another hater page,… kobe is the clutchest player in nba history deal with it,… he has 38 GW in all,…. people dont really kno what they are talking about,.. yall jus love ta hate,… and for the people who do like him,.. knowing he is great,… then more power to u

    Posted by Aaron | December 8, 2011, 9:02 am
  80. 36% is pretty solid for the last shot. FG% plummets at the end of games, and this analysis would benefit a lot from comparing Kobe to other players rather than a whole game’s field goal percentage.

    Posted by Dean | January 1, 2012, 5:37 pm
  81. Excellent article. I have been screaming the exact same point to anyone that would listen. Kobe is not clutch! I would like to see he FT percentage at the end of games…and i would like to see his clutch shot percentage compared to Horry or D. Fisher…

    Posted by petie | January 6, 2012, 9:06 pm
    • Thanks for the kind words petie. We will have another Kobe clutch article coming out later this year.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | January 7, 2012, 1:07 pm
    • I think the biggest thing about the article is the length of the shot. And one of the major misconceptions is that Kobe often does not play closer to the basket at the end of regulation, specially during situations where off an inbounds after 2-3 set plays, and picks and Kobe takes what’s given to him via the defense. That is false, and to the detriment of Kobe’s overall Clutch stats.
      It doesn’t mean Kobe can’t be crafty or that Kobe is a square compared to Jordan, it means Kobe almost ties Jordan for AMOUNT of clutch shots MADE. Forget that there is a percentage involved during the postseason, Kobe has had a longer tenure in the NBA so his numbers are subject to get increasingly less consistent. If you want to include the meaning of the word clutch, why not get into the amount of set plays that led to clutch plays. Clutch shots mean little as well, if you’re constantly hobbled with injuries or play through injuries. Much like Jordan toward the end of his career. In this article we’re implying that the reason why Kobe is worse, or not as good is because of the amount of shots he’s taken and missed, when if you adjusted the same amount to most everyone, in the positions they were, in the arenas they were in, in the situations had. I guess what’s most depressing is how the article is channeled toward the stathog who facietiously likes to state oversimplifications of highly complex and vague interpretations of clutch. I can’t for example recall Lebron going for a clutch shot, when he’s in a breakaway during a high flow offense during a blowout.

      I think we also lose perspective in the amount of playoff games played. Also lost is the difficulty of team faced. Kobe made by far, the same or equally the amount of clutch shots against teams ranked in the top 3 of the same or opposing conference. Kobe is also asked to play more outside of the paint due to his propensity to be surrounded by bigger players than him. That’s not Kobe’s fault. That will in itself mean Lebron and Jordan will have less clutch shots would it not? Lebron had free-reign to post-up, get one in in a drop pass, or floater. It doesn’t mean Kobe is a worse player, just statistically based on these closed circumstances a lot isn’t taken into account. The last thing that needs to be taken into account is being physically limited and therefore unable to score clutch shots. Like you said, constantly perception makes you believe what you might otherwise not perceive to be real, the same we can apply to somebody such as Kobe. For example if Kevin Durant had suffered the litany of injuries Kobe has accumulated throught his career, it wouldn’t be him missing shots due to to inability to recognize his perceived ability, it would be directly tied to his being handicapped in said situation. I just think it’s a little easier to base an argument on these stats that don’t take other situations into account. Intangible obvious advantages you have in your field, it could be smarts if you’re a physicist, it could be lack of weight if you’re a competitive prized-marathon runner, or the disregard for pain if you’re a boxer, wrestler, or mixed martial artist, things like height, physical limitations due to injury. I’m in no way trying to make excuses for Kobe for having unimpressive clutch making totals, I am pointing out that clutch shooting metrics are inherently derived from situation and circumstance leading up to the actual shot. I can rarely for example picture Kobe missing both freethrows with the game on the line, like I can rarely remember Derek Fisher missing clutch shots at ANY point during key moments of the 4th QTR to decide playoff games, but I can also rarely remember Lebron want to take the hit for attempting to clean up for his misses, when he doesn’t take those same clutch shots.

      Posted by DODOO | January 10, 2012, 4:42 pm
      • I would love to see a model, comparing Kobe to D Rose, Deron Williams, Lebron James, and yes Jordan, Larry Bird, Carmelo Anthony for a deep comparative analysis. The key thing to underscore here is not the amount of shots, hits or misses, but the setting, team faced. Another for Kobe would be he’s a streaky end of game shooter. It plays against him in the stats, but if Kobe picked better shots than say 5 or 10 of his 25 shots, he’s almost at Jordan levels. Hindsight being 20/20 of course. Regardless, I still want Kobe for the lack of a better word taking the last shot, not Lebron, because he wouldn’t try to make the last shot, but Kobe who would give you a chance, albeit 20% less than Jordan would.

        Posted by DODOO | January 10, 2012, 4:59 pm
    • I retort saying that this is stately false in order to paint Kobe as an underachiever. And say that Jordan had hall of fame caliber players and had an aggressive top heavy team for the duration of his career. It’s also funny to note that when Jordan wasn’t around his teams were 47 to 55 win teams, which you can’t say for the 2004-2007 Lakers. Save for when Phil Jackson led the team through adverse situations, Kobe led teams, and yes far worse teams than Jordan’s worse teams (ie more inexperienced, less productive, less stat-worthy, less deep) for longer stretches at a time, which would explain Kobe’s deserted championship hunt from 2004-2008. Go ahead and try picking any of the 5+ roster changes against any of Jordan teams. You’d take your pick of Scottie Pippen, Andrew Bynum or Luc Longley/Bill Cartwright, Dennis Rodman/Horace Grant, Steve Kerr over Sasha Vujacic, as your starting lineup and you know it.

      Want to try a different experiment? Try picking any of those same roster guys from the 1999-2003 Lakers, and 2008-2011 Lakers. You wouldn’t which only says one thing. Kobe’s team from 2004-2007 would likely have been .500 teams WITH Kobe. Without Kobe the team, even with Kobe as a bad influence (due to his alleged bad comraderie) would benefit from Kobe IN the team, and furthermore strike the notion that without Kobe the team would have thrived? Yes the same team that had by far worse players than the 2000 Clippers (recordwise) with Lamar as the same person, or the Heat who battled to be relevant in the playoffs before Shaq got traded there?

      Give me a break. It’s ok to deride a player but to confuse reality with fact is blunt to put it lightly. You could argue that Kobe should be more proficient as a player and more successful, but one thing Kobe lacked for a long period of time was teammates who willingly sacrificed during the off-season to better themselves and their team situation, and who didn’t play for contract extensions. Kobe often times found himself amidst, shaky underperforming role players who gave a 3rd of their ability, and it’s true that Kobe many times 2-played with Gasol just to help keep the team afloat in the West. Not due to any Kobe deficiency that would lead you to believe he was unhelpful to the team thriving, but to the lack of help from his teammates. That’s stating facts.

      Posted by DODOO | January 10, 2012, 6:16 pm
      • ^ This was in response to this comment by Paulie Walnuts “Paulie Walnuts said this: “I suppose supporting cast could be one factor; yet, Bryant, in my mind had the better supporting cast for his career.””

        Posted by DODOO | January 10, 2012, 6:19 pm
        • I don’t think you considered The Bulls from 1984 to 1987.

          Pippen is a HOF player.
          Grant was a worht AS, but other than that. . .

          I don’t recall a player of SHAQ’s caliber on that squad.

          I had previously written about the value of Ron Harper and Rodman’s value is well documented.

          There always seems to be this strange forgetting of the Bulls that were 38-44, 30-52 and 40-42.

          Those Bulls offered very little help to Jordan.

          When you examine the 1993-94 Bulls (the year Jordan didn’t play at all), they really overachieved in terms of points scored and points allowed. Their record was 55-27 but should have been more like 42-40. They weren’t that good, but played great defense.

          Posted by Paulie Walnuts | January 10, 2012, 7:44 pm
          • DoDOO,

            In your last paragraph you are stating speculation and not facts.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | January 10, 2012, 7:46 pm
  82. Your list is a little suspect… lots of inaccuracies.

    In 2008 against Spurs, Kobe hit the game winner in Game 1, not 5.

    2002 – WCF v Kings – You REACH a bit adding a miss tip in… considering he hit 2 free throws to put them up 2 points with 20 seconds left. Then Shaq misses potential game winner and Kobe manages to out jump everyone for a desperation TIP IN… yet you count that as a miss.

    2003 – Rd 1 v Wolves – Says Kobe misses TWO game winning shots in OT of the same game. Of course, it fails to mention how the Lakers were dead in the water in regulation but Kobe hit a 4-point play in final minute to send it to OT.

    2003 – Rd 2 v Spurs – Says Kobe misses game winning shot with 13 seconds left. Of course, the Spurs won 87-82 — not sure how there was a “game winning shot” scenario.

    2002 – Rd 2 v Spurs – Says Kobe misses potential game tying shot at end of regulation. In reality he double dribbled with 1.3 seconds left trying to pass to Fish. Then Duncan shot free throws with 0.2 seconds left.

    Those are just a few mistakes in your list.

    Not sure why I expected anything less from a site titled “The Myth of Playoff Kobe”.

    How about your cite your claims like a grown up?

    Posted by Jeff | January 17, 2012, 5:57 pm
    • Jeff,

      Hmmm… I will acknowledge that there was a typo in indicating Gm 5 instead of Gm 1 in 2008. But I’ll tell you what… if it makes you feel better knowing that Kobe is 7/25 – except that one of those 25 misses came during Game 1 instead of game 5 – then I’ll let you have it.

      On a side note, it sounds to me like you are struggling quite a bit to understand the defined criteria for a game winning shot. I could refute your claims point by point, but have already done this throughout the comments section. So here is my suggestion: Read the article one more time. And if you are still struggling understand the defined criteria for a GW shot, read it a second time. Then, if you are still don’t believe that Kobe is 7/25, feel free to read this ESPN article which validated our findings:

      Then, you can spend a few hours trying to explain how 7/25 is “clutch”.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | January 17, 2012, 6:29 pm
      • You just keep saying two numbers over and over again that have no meaning, “7/25”. Jeff just pointed out a combined 5 mistakes in 4 games (I’m ignoring his first comment, it means nothing) which makes your column false and the stats meaningless. And thats only looking at 4 games! I watched them, he was right with all of them. So either you did a horrible job researching or you regurgitated someone else’s horrible job- either way it makes your piece a joke. I don’t even like Kobe, he’s obviously a good player but I’m not a follower in the least. And you don’t even have to begin to tell me hes no Jordan, no sh*t! This article is worth my expletive though…nuff read.

        Posted by JOSHUA | January 19, 2012, 5:28 pm
        • I’ll try and help you at a bit. What 7/25 means is the following: With the game on the line, Kobe Bryant failed 18 times and succeeded 7 times. Hope that helps!

          Posted by The NBA Realist | January 19, 2012, 5:33 pm
  83. The numbers from this article need to be taken with a large grain of salt.

    Kobe did not miss a shot against the Sixers in 2001. He turned the ball over with 20 seconds left in regulation, and that does not count as a shot attempt.

    Furthermore, the original Abbott article used definition of a game-winning shot attempt, which is essentially “down by 2 or less with 24 seconds left”. This article changes that definition to “down by 3? to fit its agenda and thereby renders all that research USELESS.

    In short, this is a poorly researched article that skews the real results by bending the rules.

    Posted by Franz | January 18, 2012, 2:59 pm
  84. Jordan himself recently debunked this “analysis”. As a sports journalist, the most efficient way to garner page hits have been the words: “Kobe Bryant Not Clutch”.

    Excellent credibility, author. I suppose that you are more knowledgeable than actual NBA players, General Managers, and Legends.

    Posted by Conor O. | January 19, 2012, 12:52 pm
  85. If Jordan considers Bryant’s work to have produced comparatively well to his own – a resume that you based an entire website’s concept upon – then I suppose that there is that credibility, at least.

    This is what would render your analysis irrelevant.

    Secondly: Excellent! A list consisting of three names of potentially hundreds who would oppose your bias.

    Posted by Conor O. | January 19, 2012, 6:43 pm
    • no idea what you are referring to “3 names”. Also I have not seen a single article where Jordan acknowledging Kobe to be as “clutch” in game winners as he was. But thanks for the read regardless.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | January 19, 2012, 6:52 pm
      • Do you think you’ll post an update of Kobe’s misses and makes of gamewinning/gametying shots inside 24 seconds through 2012? I’m curious to know if he’s actually improved since this article has written. I doubt he has though.

        Again, I would like to commend you on a great article.

        Posted by Dee | March 22, 2012, 9:47 am
  86. *”… resumé…”

    Posted by Conor O. | January 19, 2012, 6:44 pm
  87. just an anecdote: Bryant approached Lebron and told him to SHOOT…during the winning time in Orlando.

    What happened? Lebron passed up the chance to play hero ball.


    On the biggest stage, under the brightest lights, in an All-Star game where nothing but honor is at stake, Lebron elected to pass.

    His team lost.


    And Lebron, on hindsight, admitting that he should have done MORE.


    It’s the pattern that makes me sick to the stomach. I love Lebron’s game. But it’s proving very difficult to defend his lack of killing instinct.

    That’s why Larry, Jordan, and the rest of the NBA who’s who would not pick him over someone who’s totally his opposite – KOBE.

    Posted by Jourdan | February 27, 2012, 12:00 am
    • Which brings me to the point that’s being discussed here.

      I won’t deny the facts. Kobe’s numbers on game-winning/game-tying situation is dismal compared to peers. He is less “clutch” that Lebron, Carmelo, or Ray Allen.

      But at least he’d attempt to shoot the ball, with a broken wrist, an inflamed knee, or a broken nose.

      The thing is Kobe has been paid 20+ fucking million dollars to win a game. I really won’t expect him to pass it to a teammate when he has a clear shot at the buzzer, or could go off a shot that, by his standards, could be made. I really don’t see that as a minus on his game. Not even when his 36/115 overall, and 7/25 in the playoffs.

      Why? Bec. he’s not with Lebron, Ray Allen, Carmelo, or any one on clutch list who, by your clutch statistics, has the higher chance of winning the game on the buzzer.

      He’s with the Lakers.

      And on the Lakers, he’s the main choice. Hands-down. He has the range, athleticism, versatility, and resolve to take that last shot.

      So yeah, Kobe might not be the best “clutch” player, stats-wise. But I still get the kick just watching the opposing coach’s face when Kobe launches a tightly contested 3-point game-winning shot. I’d take that over Lebron hanging his head low (and I feeling sick to core) because he elected not to take his.

      Posted by Jourdan | February 27, 2012, 1:52 am
    • Are you really using an All Star game as barometer for something meaningful?

      You realize that James, Wade, Durant, Love, Parker, Anthony, Nowitzki and Deron Williams ALL had better games than Bryant, right?

      La Marcus Aldridge recorded an equal number of assists and rebounds to Bryant’s ONE each!!!

      If you wish to elevate Bryant ahead of a peer, try using Bryant’s virtues rather than another players perceived faults.

      Posted by Paulie Walnuts | February 27, 2012, 6:37 pm
  88. hey,i am the biggest jordan fan and i’ve been following nba basketball for 20+years now.
    i can tell you that being clutch is not only defined with this method.
    ok,espn gave their method,which is being down by 1 or 2 (or even 3) with less than 24 seconds to go…yes in that case kobe is 7/25.
    but that’s just one method,he could have said,let’s see how he does during the playoffs comparing to the regular season,that is another method.
    or he could have said,let’s see how he does in the 4th quarter in playoffs,that’s another one.
    you see.being clutch only means,being good under pressure,that’s all,it’s not necessarily the very last shot.
    but you cannot win 5 championship without being clutch.

    Posted by ahoua | March 9, 2012, 2:19 pm
  89. another thing,kobe is not in the top 10 player of all time man,be serious.
    you said that you’ve been following basketball for more than 20 years.
    if you only take the lakers,there is shaq,kareem,magic who were better than him.
    yet,he is better than elgin baylor,jerry west,james worthy etc.
    and just to add something about being clutch,even a whole game can be considered a clutch situation.
    like a real decisive playoffs game,not necessarily game 7 tough.

    Posted by ahoua | March 9, 2012, 2:42 pm
  90. AGAIN….ya’ll are killing me with useless Kobe w/o Shaq comparisons…..all the people that keep saying Kobe wouldn’t have won those first three championships w/o….ya’ll need to be slapped!!! becuz the underlying message that you’re also saying is that Shaq wouldn’t have won those rings he did w/o Kobe and D. Wade…..becuz as I recall history…yeah Shaq was in his prime….but…..I recall him never winning another championship w/o the most dominating 2 guards in the game….

    it takes more than raw performance to be a champion….anyone who has ever been one can testify…

    Stats don’t matter…..we’re talking about the Xfactor….the stuff that makes champions….Lebron doesn’t have that Xfactor….that’s why he’s not a champion…..that is simple math for you right there….

    the reason why I’m not giving up the rock to Lebron with the game on the line….is because he doesn’t have that coldblooded assassin in his eyes….that “I don’t care if you foul me…break my leg…or what….but this next shot is going in”….

    so it doesn’t matter! there is no “myth” about it…..if you’ve ever suited up and played the game in uniform you’d know who those players were….players that when you had to score at that particular time….they scored….that makes a clutch player…execution in the most opportune of times…..when you fail to execute in those high pressure situations as Lebron has over his career… don’t get labeled as a “clutch” player….

    STOP HATING! we know Kobe isn’t MJ in personality…but you can’t take his career and say that he’s overrated when he’s got more accomplishments than any other active player….and he’s still hungry….ya’ll need to stop!

    the man has been producing the last 12 or so years since he’s been the starter…..if you were this team’s owner you would be drooling over having someone like him in your club for that long…selling tickets….and making your team prestigious….so quit whining!! Kobe has accomplished the same things that MJ has done in this time in his career….not necessarily in quantity…but they both accomplished the same things…..something Lebron has to keep working for…

    Posted by shorome | March 29, 2012, 12:42 am
    • “Stats don’t matter…..we’re talking about the Xfactor….the stuff that makes champions…”

      Ah yes, the “X factor”. The unprovable, unquantifiable, completely subjective quality that somehow separates Kobe from all of his peers.

      …but only when the Lakers win. When they don’t, watch how quickly the “X factor” becomes irrelevant and Kobe fans start pointing the blame at his teammates.

      Posted by The Realist #2 | March 29, 2012, 8:59 am
    • Questions for you. Who is still playing in the postseason right now? Lebron or Kobe? Who lead his team to victory time and time again when they were down in the series Lebron or Kobe? Who hasn’t sucked in big games in the postseason Lebron or Kobe?

      Some Xfactor that Kobe has. 4 points in the 4th of a huge game vs Denver, sucking horribly vs OKC(who Lebron is averaging 31 points a game vs right now)…so got to love Kobe’s xfactor…but here is where you respond its the fault of his team not his fault. Because he only gets credit when they win never blame when they lose.

      Posted by nightbladehunter | June 15, 2012, 8:02 am
  91. okay,i totally rocked this articel,untill you said, kobe is top 10 all time. and will go down as a top 5 player ever…WOW,really?? kobe has to do some big things to go down as a top 10 player man,he should be right now between 15-20,everything else is a joke of epic proportions and media coverage.
    wake up

    Posted by MJ GOAT | May 27, 2012, 5:03 am
  92. okay,i totally rocked this articel,untill you said, kobe is top 10 all time. and will go down as a top 5 player ever…WOW,really?? kobe has to do some big things to go down as a top 10 player man,he should be right now between 15-20,everything else is a joke of epic proportions and media coverage.

    Posted by MJ GOAT | May 27, 2012, 5:04 am
    • MJ – Thx for the read.

      When I wrote the article over 1 year ago, I admit that I did not have the same historical perspective that I do now. In sum, I had very little knowledge of players such as Wilt, West, and Robertson. Over the past year however, I have had an opportunity to start researching and learning, and as a result, completely agree with you that Kobe will never be Top 5, and arguably will fail to make Top 10. As of now, he fluctuates between 10-14 on my list.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 27, 2012, 9:33 am
    Who gives a rat’s ass about all these pointless, meaningless, extreme pseudo megelomaniac computerized data stats?

    Michael ‘Air’ Jordan, 6 Rings
    Kobe ‘Black Mamba’ Bryant, 5 Rings

    Kobe is still ACTIVE and has at least several more RING CHANCES to go, to catch and surpass MJ.

    With the LAKERS addition of point guard Steve Nash to an already All-Star STACKED Team at Staples Center, Do any of you really think MAMBA is done collecting Rings??

    You should be smarter than that, come on, dudes.

    IF K24 passes up J23 in RINGS, then KOBE becomes the “GOAT Shooting Guard” between them both. Period.

    THIS present “GOAT Battle” IS ONLY Between Jordan and Kobe, since there are numerous GOATS in the NBA.


    LA KINGS have 1 Stanley Cup.
    Montreal Canadiens have 23 Stanley Cups.

    Which team is the GOAT between these two teams? It’s damn sure NOT the LA Kings LOL!
    (btw, I’m an LA KINGS fan)

    So If KOBE gets 7 RINGS before He Retires, then he will become the NEW “GOAT Shooting Guard” over JORDAN ONLY, and there is nothing you MJ fans could argue about after that. Period.

    KOBE vs Jordan! The Battle of RINGS is the main focus here, because RINGS make GOATS…not stupid Stats.

    Jordan can easily become SECOND FIDDLE to The Black Mamba in RINGS, and that is every KOBE fans DREAM…for him to Surpass MIKE for major bragging rights LOL

    Do you guys get it now?

    Computer data STATS and “Side Order Trophies and Achievements” do not matter.
    The only thing that does matter in the NBA are RINGS, banners and Cookies!

    Ask Charles Barkley next time you see him (haha) and I bet he’ll tell you this,
    “Look here now, let me say this much. RINGS…Rings…Look..NBA Rings…they’re everything in the whole wide world… Everything else Sucks!”

    Sir Charles knows what’s up, So stop all the dumb shit and ridiculous arguments.

    MIKEY “air” Jordan is CURRENTLY the GOAT Shooting Guard against KOBE K24, until or IF at all KOBE “black mamba” Bryant can surpass him.

    IF K24 cannot do it before he Retires, then MJ remains the GOAT against the Mamba ONLY.

    NO SINGLE NBA PLAYER can be the GOAT all by himself.
    ‘WHY?’, you asked?

    Don’t be a fool and don’t be arrogant and ignorant all at once. Let’s get this RIGHT the first time.

    ELEVEN PHUCKIN RINGS! Not Six, Seven, eight or five. LOL

    SO how the Hell are you gonna say that Jordan is the GOAT over BILL RUSSELL?? Impossible.

    You’d be one stupid ass NBA fan to say that. Damn.

    IMPOSSIBLE! Jordan can never be Greater than BILL RUSSELL. LOL. Not a single present day NBA player can catch Russell, unless they’ve passed him up in NBA RINGS. Go for it, try to get 11 Championships in today’s ERA of NBA Basketball. There’s no way.

    Will that type of B-ball Dynasty ever happen again??

    OK dudes…Here are the GREATEST OF ALL TIME for each NBA Position.


    BILL RUSSELL >> Center, 11 rings
    Tommy Heinsohn <> PG, 6 rings
    John Havlicek:>> SF, 8 rings
    Sam Jones >> SG, 10 rings

    They are all BOSTON Celtics! whoah

    I’m a die-hard LAKER FAN from LAKER NATION, born and raised in LA 😉

    KEEP IT REAL, dudes.

    JORDAN is sick! KOBE is sick!
    Just enjoy them on YouTube videos and have fun with life.

    End the STAT madness, sons. Let’s see if KOBE can do it. That’s the real challenge. GET to number SEVEN, Mamba! You’re so close…

    Do you think KOBE will do it?


    Posted by blackMamba_PhuckJORDAN | July 14, 2012, 1:46 am

      NBA GOATS, Lord of the Rings, from BOSTON CELTICS Dynasty

      Bill Russell, Center, 11 rings
      Sam Jones, Shooting G, 10 rings
      Tommy Heinsohn, PF, 8 rings
      John Havlicek, SF, 8 rings
      Bob Cousy, Point G, 6 rings

      Other NBA GOATS based on Rings-

      Robert Horry, SF, 7 rings
      Kareem Abdul Jabbar, C, 6 rings
      Michael Jordan, SG, 6 rings
      Scotty Pippen, SF, 6 rings
      George Mikan, C, 5 rings
      Magic Johnson, PG, 5 rings
      Kobe Bryant, SG, 5 rings

      Posted by blackMamba_PhuckJORDAN | July 14, 2012, 2:10 am
    • Oh, no.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | July 14, 2012, 8:13 am
    • Wow… blackmamba sure is passionate. Kobe getting 1 or 2 more rings will elevate him above MJ? What if he gets them on the bench or with his leg in a sling? It’s not always how many, sometimes it’s HOW.

      Posted by bringbackmalcolm | July 16, 2012, 10:02 am
      • Yep, it’s always about how.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | July 16, 2012, 12:56 pm
      • Well, Kobe already got 3 being a side kick to shaq(I dont want to hear that he was an equal shit either, kobe bummed it up in the his first 2 finals and shaq played monstrous while kobe did have a great finals against the nets again shaq was extraordinary, it wasnt 50/50 or they would have been co mvp, it was shaq dominating) anyhow , so kobe got his first 3 rings playing sidekick and he got his next 2 rings with really only playing well against the magic, (his shooting percentage for the finals agaisnt boston is the WORST all time for a finals mvp, so really kobe needs to just get 5 more rings AND PLAY WELL , to be on jordans level,I would also note lebrons not near jordans level either.

        Posted by samtotheg | July 16, 2012, 1:13 pm
        • Oh I love it when the uninformed trot out things like

          “his shooting percentage for the finals agaisnt boston is the WORST all time for a finals mvp, so really kobe needs to just get 5 more rings AND PLAY WELL , to be on jordans level,I would also note lebrons not near jordans level either.”

          I abhor using individual box stats to make my arguments, but in this case, your argument doesn’t even hold in your tiny world using “advanced” statistics.

          True shooting % is a measure that purports to account for all types of shots: 2pt fgs, 3pt fgs and FTs.

          Kobe’s TS% in the 2010 Finals was 52.8%. Care to know what MJ’s TS% in 1998 Finals was? 51.6%.

          But these things don’t mean much to be, it’s more of a logic exercise, one to show you that in addition to being incorrect in reality, you are not even consistent with individual box score metrics.

          At least Paulie Walnuts is consistent, as much as I may disagree with his methods.

          Samtotheg is straight sipping haterade.

          Posted by Gil Meriken | July 16, 2012, 2:50 pm
          • spare me the nonsense you kobe tard first. Where did you get those numbers , since I know the formula for true shooting percentage Ill figure those numbers out for myself later, and second of all fuck the true shooting percentage, that formula can influence a players shooting percentage with free throws, Im only concerned when the player does not get free trips to the basket , as I stated and its accurate look it up kobe had the worse shooting percentage of a finals mvp ever, and the single worse shooting game with that 6 for 24 dog crap. IF you want a good indication of how your boy kobe does in the finals compared to real elite players like jordan or lebron than use bruce blitzs true precision formula, and if I am a hater you are a kobe slurper.

            Posted by samtotheg | July 17, 2012, 1:05 pm
          • LOL TPR!

            2pt FGM – 2pt FGA + .50 *(3PT FGM)

            Ok, let me humor you here.

            Kobe’s TPR in the 2010 Finals

            51 -65 + 7.5 = -6.5

            MJ’s TPR in the 1998 Finals

            66 – 85 + 2.5 = -16.5

            Lebron’s TPR in the 2012 Finals

            35 – 35 + 1.5 = 1.5

            This is the most moronic formula for evaluating players, as all it’s doing is punishing 2pt shooters with less than 50% shooting. In fact, you could just take as many 3 pointers as you want, and your TPR would go up, regardless of how many you made!

            But here ya go, Samtotheg. Kobe and Lebron destroyed MJ in TPR.

            I don’t normally stoop to ad hominem, as I’m sure others on here can confirm, even if they’ve attacked me, but I can say for certain that you are an idiot.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 17, 2012, 2:03 pm
          • Double fail guys.

            Sam-TPR is one of the worst stats I’ve ever seen. A guy who goes 4-10 from 3 and a guy who goes 5-10 from 2 will have the same TPR, zero. Yet the guy who shoots threes will have two more points. Even worse, since the league averages for these stats are below 50% and 40%, respectively, above average players get penalized for not meeting unreasonable efficiency expectations. Chris Paul, for instance, was above average efficiency by any measurement of shooting except for his negative TPR. This is a very poor surrogate for eFG%, which is in and of itself a poor surrogate for TS%. Why wouldn’t you care about free throws?

            Gil-I think you misunderstand this statistic, which does not surprise me given how poorly Blitz himself defines it. A missed 3 counts just as much as a missed 2 in TPR. If you miss a whole bunch of 3s, your TPR will definitely get worse. Nonetheless, this is one of the rare times I will back you up-TPR is horrible.

            Posted by lochpster | July 17, 2012, 6:42 pm
          • Loch-

            Blitz lists his formula at his site


            It is displayed as (this is copy and paste):

            TRUE PRECISION RATING really separates the volume scoring shot jackers from the accurate ones

            2pt made shots (1) – 2pt missed shots (1) + 3pt made shots (0.5) = TPR

            So I do not see anything that accounts for 3pt attempts in this formula.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 17, 2012, 7:12 pm
          • From his website:

            “What is the formula?
            TRUE PRECISION RATING aka Shot made/missed differential stat:
            – Each 2 point shot made is worth 1 point.
            – Each shot missed is worth negative 1 point (I do not penalize a missed 3 point shot by 1.5 points, merely 1 point).
            – Each 3 point shot made is worth 1.5 points.
            – 3 pointers are completely factored in to this shot made/missed differential statistical analysis.”

            Also from his website

            “3 point shots are graded on a curve with this metric, because obviously you get an extra point for making a 3 rather than a 2. ”

            Hence, it is clear that he means for 3 pointers to be included in his formula and made a mistake typing it. It is debatable whether the formula itself or his explanation of it is worse :)

            Posted by lochpster | July 17, 2012, 7:26 pm
          • Thanks Loch

            So let’s try

            TPR = 2PG FGM – FGA + (3PT FGM)*1.5

            To humor SamtotheG

            Kobe 2010 Finals

            51-163+ 15*(1.5) = -89.5

            MJ 1998 Finals

            66- 164 + 4*(1.5) = -92.0

            I had to keep from laughing as I calculated this, as it’s like a parody of someone using the individual box scores and concocting some magic formula. Just ridiculous.

            I almost think Blitz is trolling here, as he sought to find a formula that would rank Kobe among the lowest of players. But as you can see, Kobe is right with Jordan here in his Finals performance! LOL.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 17, 2012, 8:39 pm
          • Of course, I don’t think either Jordan or Kobe deserved those Finals MVP awards in the first place. If Kobe over Gasol was bad, Jordan over Karl Malone was equally so, if not worse. Too bad we quit even considering players from the losing team for the award back in the 70s.

            Posted by lochpster | July 17, 2012, 10:55 pm
          • “Of course, I don’t think either Jordan or Kobe deserved those Finals MVP awards in the first place. If Kobe over Gasol was bad, Jordan over Karl Malone was equally so, if not worse.”

            Wow. I’m speechless. I really don’t see how anyone can consider that Malone deserved the MVP over Jordan that year.

            I can agree that Malone’s stats were a little bit better (mainly his TS%). I’m also with you to say that players on losing teams should be considered MVP, but… a player on a runner-up team really needs to be significantly better than the one on the winning team. That was not the case.

            Also Malone had a crucial turnover in G6 (ball was stolen by MJ) while Jordan scored a game-winning bucket.

            Additionally Malone had a terrible G2 when the Jazz lost homecourt advantage.

            Karl’s best shooting games were:
            – G3 (which was meaningless as it was practically over at halftime)
            – G5 (Utah were down 3-1 anyway and the series was practically over)
            – G6 (very important game, but Jordan was better – although this is debatable)

            To me this is not even close.

            Kobe vs Gasol is a completely different matter and if you like I can explain why.

            Posted by doosiolek | July 18, 2012, 5:52 am
          • I don’t appreciate people like Gil running around the internet and posting false information. Gil can’t even properly calculate True Precision Rating, hell he didn’t even properly calculate the amount of missed shots Jordan or Kobe had in a given NBA Finals Series.

            Anyways, read CAREFULLY and comprehend. I seemed to confuse someone with the way I typed out the formula. I have decided to clarify how this is calculated, and when you read this I hope you come to a further understand of what True Precision Rating actually represents.

            There are 2 ways to perform the actual arithmetic to calculate True Precision Rating…. and I will illustrate:
            Formula 1: You can look at a player’s total shots taken in the sample size, subtract the made shots from the shots taken and this will give you the total amount of missed shots (C) that the player has. You now take the amount of made shots a player has, and you subtract the amount of 3 pointers he’s made in the sample size and this gives you the amount of 2 pointers (A) that he’s made in his career. You also will need to use the amount of 3 pointers (B) the player has made during the sample size.

            So before you go into the simple formula, you first take the amount of 3 pointers the player has made in his career and you multiply those by 1.5 which will give you (B).

            So, A+B-C = TPR

            Formula 2: This is where I lost someone. They didn’t understand the intricacies of calculating the formula each way (GIL). This is also a much easier way of doing this. A more logical way, which is how I calculate TPR but both come out to the same numerical value. Everything is based on a 1/2 scale. Instead of a FG made being worth 2 or 3 points, you take every field goal made in your sample size and you count those as 1 (A), you take ever missed field goal and count those as -1 (B), now you take ever 3 pointer made and count those as 0.5 (C). This is the way to circumvent separating the made 2’s from the made 3’s.

            A + B + C = TPR
            So, made shots (1) – missed shots (1) + 3pt made shots (0.5) = TPR

            Examples of each method:
            Player X has 300 made shots in his career, 800 shot attempts, and 75 made 3 pointers.

            Formula 1: 225 + 112.5 – 500 = 162.5 TPR

            Formula 2: 300 + 37.5 – 500 = -162.5 TPR

            If you insert the data properly, it will come out the same in each formula. Again, it accounts for every missed shot, and every made shot. When the reader and user of True Precision Rating properly recognizes and comprehends that everything in True Precision Rating is purely based on a half-scale compared to the scoring system in the NBA, the importance of the metric should be obvious.

            VERY F’ING IMPORTANT: So if this player has a -162.5 TPR, that means he actually cost his team a chance at 325 more points than he scored for his team, since TPR is all on a half-scale compared to the scoring in the NBA.

            I have my doubts that Gil will be able to comprehend this information.

            Posted by Bruce Blitz | July 18, 2012, 9:38 am
          • I know spelling this out may not be good enough for Gil to comprehend, and that’s why I don’t want Gil on my website again. I like having people around with good comprehension skills. So I digress and will post the following:

            I used my own common sense to calculate that Jordan was 35 years old in the 1998 NBA Finals and Kobe was 31.

            Game 1 Kobe: 10-22 (10 made, 12 missed)
            Game 2 Kobe: 8-20 (8 made, 12 missed)
            Game 3 Kobe: 10-29 (10 made, 19 missed)
            Game 4 Kobe: 10-22 (10 made, 12 missed)
            Game 5 Kobe 13-27 (13 made, 14 missed)
            Game 6 Kobe 9-19 (9 made, 10 missed)
            Game 7 Kobe 6-24 (6 made, 18 missed)

            I don’t know what your major malfunction is, but that’s 66 made and 97 missed.
            Kobe made 15 three pointers in the series.
            So that makes Kobe’s 2010 NBA Finals True Precision Rating: -23.5

            Game 1 Jordan 13-29 (13 made, 16 missed)
            Game 2 Jordan 14-33 (14 made, 19 missed)
            Game 3 Jordan 7-14 (7 made, 7 missed)
            Game 4 Jordan 12-27 (12 made, 15 missed)
            Game 5 Jordan 9-26 (9 made, 17 missed)
            Game 6 Jordan 15-35 (15 made, 20 missed)

            So Jordan made 70 shots and missed 94 shots.
            Jordan made 4 three pointers in the series.
            So that puts Jordan’s 1998 True Efficiency Rating at -22.0

            Kobe’s True Precision Rating was 1.5 worse with a 4 year age difference.

            Let’s take it one step further, Jordan wasn’t playing basketball when he was 31 years old, he was in the hot sun working on his baseball swing, fielding skills, and base running around the clock.

            SO let’s look at Jordan when he was 30 years old, which is a HELL OF A LOT closer in the terms of age in this comparison.

            Game 1: Jordan 14-28 (made 14, missed 14)
            Game 2: Jordan 18-36 (made 18, missed 18)
            Game 3: Jordan 19-43 (made 19, missed 24)
            Game 4: Jordan 21-37 (made 21, missed 16)
            Game 5: Jordan 16-29 (made 16, missed 13)
            Game 6: Jordan 13-26 (made 13, missed 13)

            So Jordan made 101 shots and missed 98 shots.
            Jordan made 10 three pointers in the series.
            Jordan’s True Precision Rating in the 1993 NBA Finals was +8.0

            Nice try kiddo.

            Let’s take it one step further…

            Kobe at the age of 30 against the Orlando Magic:
            Game 1: Kobe 16-34 (16 made, 18 missed)
            Game 2: Kobe 10-22 (10 made, 12 missed)
            Game 3: Kobe 11-25 (11 made, 14 missed)
            Game 4: Kobe 11-31 (11 made, 20 missed)
            Game 5: Kobe 10-23 (10 made, 13 missed)

            In the 2009 Finals Kobe made 58 shots and missed 77 shots.
            Kobe made 8 three pointers in the 2009 Finals.
            So Kobe’s True Precision Rating in the 2009 Finals was -15.0


            Posted by Bruce Blitz | July 18, 2012, 9:42 am
          • Bruce,

            Your analysis is analogous to the statements made by Gil and Boyer that Jerry West was hurting the Lakers’ chances of winning titles because he could not dribble with his off hand or could not play today because he lacked a strong cross over dribble.

            Many that post here fall victim to the “What I see in the here and now is the best ever.”

            This is why silly comments that marginalize players like West or Bird and even Russell lack depth and complexity. Gil has said that I am “consistent” and I agree with that. The REASON that I have consistency is that I use a logical process of evaluation that involves many layers including result data, black ink, environment, team results, and award shares. Most seek singular data points and dismiss all any evidence that may be contrary to desired outcomes.

            I am not seeking to elevate or PROVE any players value; I am seeking to FIND players value.

            true that there is a normalization to account for context and play style, but often the assumption is that rebounds points and assists will be evenly distributed. I strongly disagree that we can apply a uniform reduction across the board for all result data.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 18, 2012, 10:14 am
          • To Paul, unfortunately I don’t have much time to chat with you here. I will say this, the TPR metric is ONLY a metric that illustrates in further detail a player’s ACCURACY as a scorer and can be applied to the team concept of winning basketball games. There is also an adjustment that should be made per era (with the originals of the 50’s and 60’s). The quality of a career True Precision Rating is the sample size based on the average quality of opponent holding virtually the same value as other players from said era. For instance, other wing players from this era have a much higher True Precision Rating (LeBron, Wade, Durant) for their careers. It illustrates the more disciplined approach to scoring that these players present on the court. Kobe’s a free spirited type player who doesn’t always keep the team concept in mind and the value of EVERY POSSESSION. WE generally agree. I’m big on looking at the quality of a defense, the quality of an era, the rules that players play under, the margin for error that their teammates create for them, the system they play in, and I base my analysis on watching games. I also am not one to look at a player’s scoring as the “be-all, end-all”. Some players may not be the most accurate scorers but they make up for it with non scoring contributions, OR playmaking. That’s why I created the “missed shot to rebound” and “missed shot to assist” ratios that you see during the regular season on my advanced metrics page (

            In closing, Gil is a fanboy. Have a good day people.

            Posted by Bruce Blitz | July 18, 2012, 10:21 am
          • Bruce,

            When you citied Jordan’s age for the 1998 Finlas, it struck me that very few players have played significant minutes for a ring at age 35.

            At present, I have only found two others: Kareem in 1982-83 and Wilt in 1971-72.

            Kareem shot 37-67 (all 2’s) and 20-26 FT for 91 points or 22.8 ppg.

            I only have Wilt’s makes and not attempts, but Wilt averaged 19.4. Sadly, I also do not have any rebounding or assists data for Wilt.

            Considering Jordan was 35 in the 1998 Finals and still performed at that level should pretty clearly lead us to a similar conclusion regarding his status.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 18, 2012, 10:32 am
          • Bill Russell was also 35 in 1969.

            I think that completes the list of 35 year old starters playing in the NBA Finals.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 18, 2012, 11:28 am
          • Bruce Blitz – the rantings of an idiot.

            This is what I get for trying to follow the conflicting formulas and explanations of a buffoon.

            Did your site not say specifically:

            TRUE PRECISION RATING really separates the volume scoring shot jackers from the accurate ones

            2pt made shots (1) – 2pt missed shots (1) + 3pt made shots (0.5) = TPR

            Maybe you ought to correct that.

            Blitz is a fanboy of MJ, plain and simple. He does not understand basketball, basketball strategy, or simple evaluation of individual players.


            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 18, 2012, 3:32 pm
          • Bruce-A few points. First, fix the explanation on your website. It’s wrong.

            The formula badly penalizes three point shooters. Say player A goes 11 for 30 from 3 and player B goes 15 for 30 on 2s, player A scores 3 more points than player B. Player A has a TPR of -2.5, player B has a TPR of 0, yet player A scored more points.

            Additionally, because you count a make and a miss equally, you’re misequilibrating against the league average. The NBA as a whole last season had a TPR of approximately -10,000. This is because your formula expects a player to hit 50% from the field and 40% from the arc to break even. Only four players shot 50% from the floor and 40% from the arc this year-Klay Thompson, Ersan Ilyasova, Courtney Lee and JJ Redick. Do you want these guys to be your standard? Obviously, some centers make a lot of 2s and don’t shoot 3s and hence will have a high TPR, but this further skews the league efficiency numbers because, on the whole, 3 point shots in the NBA were worth more than 2 point shots last year on a per shot basis.

            An easy fix would be the following.

            Instead of subtracting missed field goals, subtract field goal attempts multiplied by the league average points per shot divided by two The formula would be as follows.

            (FGM + 0.5 3PM)-0.487(FGA)

            This easy fix allows you to measure whether a player cost his team points when measured against the league average, which I assume was your goal all along.

            Posted by lochpster | July 18, 2012, 4:55 pm
          • Loch – it’s still just manipulation of the highly flawed individual box stats.

            It also doesn’t look at things from a game theory view. You’re saying that a player “costs” his team if he misses. But what is the cost relative to? The flaw in your thinking is that another player with a higher FG% will perform better than the player with a lower FG%, if you “give” the first player the latter’s shots.

            That’s not how basketball (shoot, even life) works. But this is why I disagree with you and Paulie. In some form, you are assuming the individual stats are “transferrable”. But they aren’t. A guy moves to another team, and a different role, it’s highly possible, even probable those his individual stats will be different. What we’re all looking for is some measure of what an individual player brings to increase the TEAM’s performance, not just his own individual box stats.

            It seems obvious to the individual box stat cruncher that everyone should try to optimize their individual stats. It’s a great idea in theory, because who wouldn’t want at whole team of 50% shootings, scoring 20 ppg, 10 reb and 5 ast per game? But in reality, if everyone attempted to reach those marks, you would have a highly dysfunctional team. Something like the Wizards, I imagine. So it’s not in the team’s best interests that every player try to get the best individual stats. It is, however, in each teams best interest that each player play in a manner that maximizes the team’s points and minimizes the other team’s points. This “manner in which they maximize the team’s outcome” is where we should be having our arguments, not in the realm of individual box stats.

            A large question of the maximizing argument is: what is the alternative? In the case of Kobe Bryant, it’s almost a knee jerk response that it’s better for Kobe to give up shots when he shoots a low percentage. It’s obvious when he shoots terribly, but what about when he shoots something around 40 or 45%? Is the alternative for him to shoot less, and assume the others will keep their same higher FG%s? I don’t have enough time here to fill out the details, but the short answer is “no”. Of course, there are times Kobe plays stupidly, but many times, he’s actually taking the shots that keep the team’s FG at an optimal level, because if someone else takes them, the outcome will be even worse. Look at the FG% of Kobe’s teams. It’s not like he’s dragging them down. If you took him away, everyone else wouldn’t stay at their %, else that would mean the Lakers would be one of the best shooting teams if not for Kobe. Taking him away affects the entire team. Taking any star player has effects on the entire team. This should be obvious.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 18, 2012, 5:23 pm
          • I will happily acknowledge that statistics have flaws, but I’m still waiting for something better. How are you going to come up with better evidence than the things you can actually measure? Beats me.

            As for this game theory nonsense, you say Kobe’s taking shots that keep the team’s FG at an optimal level? Do you have evidence? Of course you don’t. In fact, such an analysis would require use of advanced statistics, which you don’t even believe in.

            I get that you like Kobe and want to find a way to support him, but this is all smoke and mirrors, and they’re pretty transparent smoke and mirrors at that.

            “Facts are facts and will not disappear on account of your likes.”
            ? Jawaharlal Nehru

            Posted by lochpster | July 18, 2012, 9:57 pm
          • Loch –

            Unfortunately the “things” you are measuring in the individual box score are not the things that influence winning. They may be loosely correlated. But saying that a “point” is a fact is much the same as saying the color of players shoes is a fact. But what does the fact mean and how does it correlate to winning? That’s the question.

            Manipulation of the individual box score is not going to give you anything worth using in a precise way. Garbage in, Garbage out.

            Someone tells me 2+2=4. That’s stupid. What are you adding? 2 pirahnas + 2 worms = 2 piranhas.

            You can’t just apply a mathematical model to some data. You have to ask yourself if the data is worth using for your model. There’s better data to use, and yes, I haven’t come up with it, because it would require using spatial data gleaned from video technology.

            Basketball is a sport much close to soccer than it is to baseball. The day someone can come up with a statistical model to value individual soccer players at every position is the day I can believe that there might be a valuable statistical model for basketball.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 18, 2012, 10:21 pm
          • Ach, I forgot to add to the end of my message:

            “The average human has one breast and one testicle.” ~Des McHale

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 18, 2012, 10:26 pm
          • Gil,

            What you have written is garbage.

            I can agree that there are contextual elements that appear in a solitary box score that can lead to blind alleys, but when data is used in combinations, it becomes far more useful.

            To simply disregard ALL result data simply because there MAY be biases and illusions is really silly UNLESS you have an augmentation or an alternative. However, over the course of a season, or better, several seasons, patterns will emerge from the data to which we can draw accurate conclusions.

            You allude often to alternative evaluative tools existing and Mark Cuban has, in fact, employed such tools. Yet, I can promise you that the box score data is still utilized in combination with the other tools.

            How about this offer: When you can actually PROVE to the world that you do have a superior method to the box score, how about ZIPPING IT.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 18, 2012, 10:37 pm
          • Paulie – my silence will not change the error of your ways.

            But by all means, continue to use all manner of machetes, hammers, and shovels (your “result” data, black ink, environment) when what you really need is a scalpel.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 18, 2012, 10:55 pm
          • Perhaps, but until you or someone else provides it I will rely on the only reliable metric there is.

            Clearly, you have nothing but contempt for those of us less informed, why waste your time on the hopeless?

            Please, go away.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 18, 2012, 10:58 pm
          • The interesting thing is that Gil will attack my methodology and say that “it has little or nothing to do with winning”

            Yet, I offer the Hierarchy that I have arrived at by the application of my methodology and ask: Who on the list exemplifies “not winning”

            Moses Malone
            Karl Malone
            Rick Barry
            David Robinson

            Which of the above 30 players would not be considered as a major contributor to winning?

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 19, 2012, 7:06 am
          • Upon review, I would move Rick Barry down to #30.

            #31-40 is something like this:


            #41 Mikan

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 19, 2012, 12:55 pm
          • “There’s better data to use, and yes, I haven’t come up with it, because it would require using spatial data gleaned from video technology.”

            You have nothing but your own preconceived notions and, apparently, a whole lot of free time to troll internet forums. Put up or shut up.

            Posted by lochpster | July 19, 2012, 6:17 pm
          • After further review, I have to move David Robinson ahead of Pippen and Garnett and the three point guards.

            So, 20-30 should be.

            20) Erving
            21) David Robinson
            22) Thomas
            23) Cousy
            24) Stockton
            25) Garnett
            26) Pippen
            27) Wade
            28) Nowitzki
            29) Frazier
            30) Rick Barry

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 19, 2012, 7:11 pm
          • Paulie – “Perhaps, but until you or someone else provides it I will rely on the only reliable metric there is. ”

            Reliable to what degree? Certainly you can use individual box stats to discern between the 1st best between the 100th best player. But anything more precise than that seems to be out of the reach of models based on the IBS.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 19, 2012, 8:07 pm
          • “You have nothing but your own preconceived notions and, apparently, a whole lot of free time to troll internet forums. Put up or shut up.”

            So until I can create or find the model that incorporates the spatial positioning of the players on the court, I cannot comment on the glaring flaws of current models, and not just their flaws, but out and out inaccuracy – and I must use said bad models? OK. That’s one of the less rational things you have said.

            “I used to believe that anything was better than nothing. Now I know that sometimes nothing is better.”
            — Glenda Jackson

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 19, 2012, 8:11 pm
          • That’s what I get for feeding the troll. Shame on me.

            Posted by lochpster | July 19, 2012, 11:14 pm
          • Loch

            A troll seeks only to annoy.

            While my comments may annoy you and others here, that is not my goal and aim.

            My goal is to move you closer to the truth.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 20, 2012, 1:19 am
        • In fact, Lebron’s TS% ws 55.8% in this latest Finals.

          But this is like reading tea leaves, if you really use individual box metrics to guide your evaluations. You will see what you want. But that’s a pitfall in other types of evaluations, as well.

          Posted by Gil Meriken | July 16, 2012, 2:54 pm
          • fucking gil the moron goes on blabbing about how someone is an idiot and failed to do the TPR formula correctly haha, anyhow loch I can see what you mean abou TPR when u do the formuals for kobes games it makes it his detroit series etc a better series than his new jersey nets series(even thought that was kobes best finals series) and gil is like fucking fox news I swear , how come you didnt compare kobe to 92 93 jordan you know the same jordan who averaged 41ppg over 50 shooting from the field, see I can cherry pick too retard, why not compare all finals performances , I got the numbers ill tell you what , jordan has had 3 SERIES shooting over 50 percent from the field ,(his first 3 series ) kobe has had 3 series where he didnt shoot for 50 percent for a single game ( against the 76ers , against the magic boston in 2010) kobe is the furthest thing from jordans level.

            Posted by samtotheg | July 18, 2012, 1:13 am
          • To Sam…

            Kobe’s 2004 NBA Finals (25 years old): 10-27, 14-27, 4-13, 8-25, 7-21
            That’s 43 made shots and 70 missed shots. Kobe made 4 three pointers in the series.
            Kobe’s 2004 NBA Finals True Precision Rating: -25.0 TPR

            Kobe’s 2002 NBA Finals (23 years old): 6-16, 9-15, 14-23, 7-16
            That’s 36 made shots and 34 missed shots. Kobe made 6 three pointers in the series.
            Kobe’s 2002 NBA Finals True Precision Rating: +5.0 TPR

            Um, how you figured that Kobe’s 2004 NBA Finals TPR was better than his 2002 NBA Finals TPR is BEYOND COMPREHENSION FOR ME.

            For further measure….
            Kobe’s 2001 NBA Finals (22 years old): 11-23, 13-30, 6-13, 7-18
            That’s 37 made shots and 47 missed shots. Kobe made 1 three pointer in the series.
            Kobe’s 2001 NBA Finals True Precision Rating: -9.5 TPR

            Kobe’s 2000 NBA Finals (21 years old): 6-13, 1-3, 14-27, 4-20, 8-27
            That’s 33 made shots and 57 missed shots. Kobe made 2 three pointers in the series.
            Kobe’s 2000 NBA Finals True Precision Rating: -23.5 TPR

            So let’s go to the 2 Jordan NBA Finals appearances from his prime that I haven’t posted.
            Jordan’s 1992 NBA Finals (29 years old): 16-27, 16-32, 11-22, 11-26, 14-23, 13-24
            That’s 81 made shots and 73 missed shots. Jordan made 12 three pointers in the series.
            Jordan’s 1992 NBA Finals True Precision Rating: +14.0 TPR

            Jordan’s 1991 NBA Finals (28 years old): 14-24, 15-18, 11-28, 11-20, 12-23
            That’s 63 made shots and 50 missed shots. Jordan made 2 three pointers in the series.
            Jordan’s 1991 NBA Finals True Precision Rating: +14.0 TPR

            For good measure, even though I always say that Jordan was past his prime when he came back from baseball, let’s look at Jordan past his prime in the Finals in the 2 series that I haven’t posted yet.
            Jordan’s 1996 NBA Finals (33 years old): 9-18, 9-22, 11-23, 6-19, 11-22, 5-19
            That’s 51 made shots and 72 missed shots. Jordan made 6 three pointers in the series.
            Jordan’s 1996 NBA Finals True Precision Rating: -18.0 TPR

            Jordan’s 1997 NBA Finals (34 years old): 13-27, 11-20, 9-22, 11-27, 13-27, 15-35
            That’s 72 made shots and 86 missed shots. Jordan made 8 three pointers in the series.
            Jordan’s 1997 NBA Finals True Precision Rating: -10.0 TPR

            I will post a full article on the NBA Finals comparison between Kobe and Jordan on my website when it pertains to scoring accuracy.

            IF you’re confused on how to apply a metric it’s always best to ask the metric creator a question instead of pulling a “GIL” and conveniently trying to discredit a metric which illustrates that his favorite player isn’t who he claims him to be, ASK THE CREATOR.

            I was charging you all 150.00 per minute, you owe me a big donation. JK :)

            Posted by Bruce Blitz | July 18, 2012, 10:15 am
          • Samtotheg please, stick to TPR.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 18, 2012, 3:34 pm
          • how is “seeing what we want” form the box scores less reliable than whatever you use as your basis of analysis?

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 18, 2012, 10:20 pm
          • “how is “seeing what we want” form the box scores less reliable than whatever you use as your basis of analysis?”

            That’s my contention. It’s NOT any better or worse, generally. But I think you do claim that your method is better.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 19, 2012, 7:31 pm
          • I would say any method is better than NO method.

            At least with the process I have, I can make adjustments as new refinements are added.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 19, 2012, 7:34 pm
          • Samtotheg:

            Bruce Blitz = the Glenn Beck of basketball commentary

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 19, 2012, 9:50 pm
  94. Since my True Precision Rating metric became a topic in this post thanks to [[GIL]] I thought you guys would enjoy this:

    Thanks for the inspiration GIL!

    Posted by Bruce Blitz | July 18, 2012, 12:46 pm
    • bruce Whats your theory behind not including free throws in your TPR, I dont disagree with the idea , in my estimation free throws penalize a shaq and d howard and lebron a rondo , guys who are EFFICIENT from the field but are known for having bad games from the line, and they reward shotjackers like AI and kobe, who have decent shooting percentages,not to mention the lazy commit a foul play to stop a fast break and technical foul shots etc.

      Posted by samtotheg | July 18, 2012, 1:27 pm
    • TPR – toilet paper rating, pretty much what it’s good for.

      Thanks for all the poor analysis, Bruce!

      Posted by Gil Meriken | July 18, 2012, 3:36 pm
      • you keep dissing boxscores and stats and now bruces formula,so what should we use to measure INDIVIDUAL EFFICIENCY for a nba player.DO not say something stupid as wins or losses and or minutes played, whats a reasonable alternative, the eye test, according to my eye test kobe is a volume shooter , who doesnt not score in the most efficient way possible, and his play is a detriment to team basketball,and to you hes probaly some guy who can walk on water, point is , stats take the OPINION out of it,you hate stats because it doesnt boost yer favorite player. Yet you used TS percentage and etc,to make your arguement for kobe.

        Posted by samtotheg | July 18, 2012, 5:25 pm
        • SamtotheG = MJ slurper.

          Posted by Gil Meriken | July 19, 2012, 6:31 pm
          • My favorite player is TIm duncan ,favorite athlete is Anderson silva my favorite sport is MIXED MARTIAL ARTS, however THee only player you are willing to defend to defend and or right about is KOBE bryant it is you, who is the pole rider , kobe pole rider gil meriken.

            Posted by samtotheg | July 20, 2012, 9:45 pm
          • Well that’s good to know, because Kobe is better than Tim Duncan.

            My favorite sport is table tennis.

            Posted by Gil Meriken | July 20, 2012, 10:09 pm
          • Exactly, how do you prove that Kobe is better than Duncan?

            You can’t use any data as you have deemed it irrelevant.

            Posted by Paulie Walnuts | July 21, 2012, 1:19 am
    • “It illustrates the fact that said player entrusted himself, or his team trusted him to take the shots that he took along with the fact that he was unable to convert on more shots he was entrusted to take.”

      This makes no claims on whether anyone else on the team would have converted more shots than the player who did take the shots.

      Posted by Gil Meriken | July 19, 2012, 7:33 pm
  95. To Doosi-I can’t tolerate another discussion about the 2010 Finals, but I’d love to discuss ‘98.

    Not only was Malone able to score extremely effectively on Rodman and often through a double team, he was also the most effective rebounder during the series. No small feat given that Rodman, the GOAT rebounder, was largely made a nonfactor by Malone (3.3 PPG, 8.3 RPG and marginal defensive impact). And while Malone obviously started slow in the first two games, in the last 4 he’d become so dominant that the Bulls were routinely attempting to double team him, yet he continued to punish them at an extremely efficient rate (and much more so than MJ, who was not efficient at all).

    Not sure why a great performance doesn’t matter just because your team is down 3-1. And as for that crucial turnover on Malone in game 6, you’ll remember that finals MVP Jordan wound up blowing that game with an egregious offensive foul on that last possession…

    Wait, they didn’t call THAT?

    Nonetheless, Malone was a great offensive player and a great rebounder this series, and his man barely scored. Conversely, Jordan was a low efficiency scorer who didn’t really impact the games in other ways. He won the MVP for all the usual bad reasons-name recognition, leading scorer, team won. He was not the best player, not by a long shot.

    Posted by lochpster | July 18, 2012, 5:20 pm
    • interesting notes on the 98 finals loch, you paulie and nba realist I can respect you guys Im not a Mj slurper, my sport is MMA ,my guy I root for is Anderson silva, I like the stuff you 3 type here, even nba realist 2, see what you typed about malone being MVP, is something I would not find espn. STupid shit that boyer brown stain mamba, and gil the shill meriken type is the same shit you see on skip bayless show(lebron cant close, stats dont matter, kobe is on par with MJ etc.)

      Posted by samtotheg | July 18, 2012, 5:28 pm
    • @Loch

      Happy to further elaborate.

      As I wrote earlier, I agree the Mailman was statistically better than MJ, but it is not undisputed as you try to suggest. Let’s compare:

      MJ: 41.7 33.5 .516 4.00 2.3 1.8 0.7 1.7
      KM: 40.5 25.0 .553 10.5 3.8 1.0 1.2 3.8

      So Malone was more efficient scorer although it’s not like he was that much better than Jordan. MJ on the other hand scored much more. We can say that he was inefficient, but that is only partially true given that the rest of the Bulls had a TS% of .506 for the entire series. This means the Bulls were better off when MJ tried to score.

      Malone was also a better rebounder (something that was expected). If we look at steals and blocks I’d say no one has a claer adventage. So this leaves us with assists. In theory Malone was better (averaging 1.5 assists more), but he had just as many turnovers whilst Jordan had far less.
      Looking at the stats above are you really willing to say that Malone was better by a mile?

      “He won the MVP for all the usual bad reasons-name recognition, leading scorer, team won.”

      I agree with name recognition and leading scorer to be bad reasons, but team won must have some value when evaluating players peformance. Why? It means that Jordan did enough for his team to win while Malone did not. Is it possible that Jordan would have played better if he had to? I think yes. It is similar with regular season MVP award. Your team needs to win at least 50 games otherwise you will not be the MVP. It’s fair, because when you are on a bad team it is far easier to accumulate great stats. This is why in my book a player on a losing team can win the Finals MVP, but he must be clearly better than the guy on the winning team.

      “Not sure why a great performance doesn’t matter just because your team is down 3-1.”

      It, of course, does matter, but it was simply too late. The Jazz needed Malone most in the first two games and he didn’t deliver. Had he played better Utah would have probably won both games being up 2-0 coming to Chicago. In reality they almost were in a 0-2 hole (G1 ended in OT).

      Let’s analyze MJ vs KM on a game-by-game basis:

      G1 (PTS TS%)
      MJ 33 .507
      KM 21 .392

      G2 (PTS TS%)
      MJ 37 .495
      KM 16 .401

      G3 (PTS TS%)
      MJ 24 .637
      KM 22 .806

      G4 (PTS TS%)
      MJ 34 .506
      KM 21 .480

      G5 (PTS TS%)
      MJ 28 .454
      KM 39 .658

      G6 (PTS TS%)
      MJ 45 .541
      KM 31 .650

      G3 performance was not very important since it was a blowout game (both stars played well in that game anyway). Out of the remaining five games Malone was clearly better only in G5 (when the Bulls were up 3-1). Although in G6 Malone was scoring more efficiently his crucial turnover combined with MJ’s three straight clutch plays gives MJ a nod.

      On the other hand Malone played poor in G1, G2 and G4 (three games his team needed him the most). His performance cost the Jazz the series. MJ was clearly better in those three games.

      To put things into perspective Jordan is widely criticized for his performance in ’96 Finals. Many people say that Kemp deserved the MVP in that series. I incline to agree, but I also know that when the Bulls needed Jordan most, he delivered. MJ’s averages from the first three games of that Sonics series:

      MJ: 41.7 31.0 .587 5.30 5.0 2.0 0.3 2.3

      After that the Bulls were up 3-0 and the series was over. That’s why it matters WHEN you performed well, not only THAT you performed well.

      “you’ll remember that finals MVP Jordan wound up blowing that game with an egregious offensive foul on that last possession…”

      This is true, BUT times were different back then – they did not review plays back then. Jordan knew that and he pushed Russell off by design. He knew he would get away with it. I once saw interview with MJ done by some older guy. It was filmed on a basketball court. MJ gave they guy similar push and when asked if he could “get away with it” MJ replied “if you’re good enough you can”. So instead of criticizing Jordan we rather should give him some credit for mastering all elements of the game (including fooling the officials).

      I acknowledge that Malone “outbarkleyed” Rodman and played very good defense. I realize that overall Malone was scoring better than Jordan. Yet he failed in each crucial moment.

      By no means was Malone that much better to validate your statement that:

      “If Kobe over Gasol was bad, Jordan over Karl Malone was equally so, if not worse.”

      Posted by doosiolek | July 19, 2012, 7:41 am
      • “they did not review plays back then.”

        That play would not have been reviewable today, either.

        Posted by Gil Meriken | July 19, 2012, 6:29 pm
      • The league average true shooting percentage that year was .524, Jordan shot .516. That’s a low efficiency volume scorer to me, and he was being guarded by Jeff Hornacek. Conversely, Malone crushed Rodman and often a second defender, albeit with a lower usage rate. You can’t explain away the difference just based on a higher usage-the gap is far too big.

        Likewise, Malone had a huge edge in rebounding. You explain this away because it was expected. I say, so what? It had a huge impact on the series-frankly, it’s what kept an otherwise overmatched squad afloat.

        We can call their passing and defense a wash. It’s not as if Jordan really shut down Hornacek, and Malone basically erased Rodman from the series, but I’m not going to argue too hard here because it’s so hard to measure.

        I’m not going to give Jordan credit for being able to cheat. Nor am I going to discredit games because of a difference in the standings. Frankly, it’s a credit to the Jazz that they bounced back from a crushing game 3 defeat and took the Bulls to what should have been a 7th game. I think they probably would have won game 7 unless the refs intervened.

        Frankly, I’m don’t think Jordan outplayed Malone in any phase of the game, when, at a minimum, Malone crushed Jordan and the Bulls on the boards and was a better offensive player. The fact that Stern and the refs handed this series to Jordan on a platter doesn’t mean that he was the best player.

        Posted by lochpster | July 19, 2012, 6:46 pm
      • “After that the Bulls were up 3-0 and the series was over. That’s why it matters WHEN you performed well, not only THAT you performed well.”

        Although I agree that the timing of performances most definitely is a key factor, I disagree with the 96 finals example. If someone were to just read your comment, they would think that Jordan dominated the first three games and then just took his pedal off the gas for the last 3. One of the weirdest subplots of the entire series was when Coach Karl was going to put his defensive ace on the best player in the world. It literally took the Sonics to be down 3-0 for Karl to realize that maybe the best defensive point guard in league history should be put on MJ for most of the game and not Mr Vincent Askew. The difference in terms of how comfortable he was with those two guys guarding him were real noticeable in both the box score and the actual games.

        Posted by stillshining | July 20, 2012, 3:36 am
  96. Shooting Guard comparison (NBA Finals): Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan

    Kobe Bryant … 37 career NBA Finals games
    11 games with FG%age at 35% or worse
    5 games with FG%afe at 50% or better
    7 series | 5 series wins | 2 Finals MVPs

    Michael Jordan … 35 career NBA Finals games
    3 games with FG%age at 35% or worse
    18 games with FG%age at 50% or better
    6 series | 6 series wins | 6 Finals MVPs

    If Kobe has been “clutch”, what term can we use to describe Michael Jordan’s play?

    Posted by Ken | January 2, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Posted by Deekay | March 8, 2013, 11:49 pm
  98. The most ridiculous part about this is the assumption that “clutch” exists. It doesn’t, people perceive Kobe as clutch because largely, he performs about as well as he normally does in high pressure situations, which is to say pretty well. Trying to draw any conclusion at all from 42 shots is just insane. That kind of analysis gets you fired from any job that requires any sort of forecasting or understanding of what has already happened and why it has happened.

    Kobe is largely known as “clutch” because the “clutch” shots he attempts are usually a ridiculous level of difficulty (probably to his teams detriment overall, although who knows what alternatives were available), when he makes it, it gets replayed over and over. Conversely, he doesn’t get too much crap for missing for the same reason. Because of that it doesn’t surprise me that his percentage is a bit lower at the end of games, my personal opinion though is that he is better at making these kind of shots than anyone I’ve ever seen play. Which admittedly is more just plain fun and interesting to watch than a fundamentally sound screen that gives somebody a wide open shot.

    So is Kobe “clutch”? nope, nobody is, hell, you can’t even define it. Clutch is a ridiculous myth perpetuated by people searching for heroes. It’s fun to talk about who the “gamer” is on your AAU team as a kid, but when you are an adult mining years of NBA data in search of an idol, it’s basically as legitimate as Ghost Hunters on the History Channel. Conclusions drawn from selective perception to support a preexisting desire, shit in: shit out.

    Posted by Economist | March 9, 2013, 1:00 am
  99. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all
    that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say great blog!

    Posted by cool golden retriever and lab mix material | May 5, 2013, 8:20 am


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