Clutch: Where Amazing Happens….If You Shoot It Enough Times

Posted: February 4, 2011 in NBA
Tags: , , ,

Inspired by this article from True Hoop blogger Henry Abbott, ‘your humble narrator’ has set out to define the true meaning of ‘clutch.’

To establish a baseline for my opinions, it is important to note that I am in no way a stats guy. I tend to look past the numbers, and feel there are more compelling stories in sports outside of how many points a player scores. However, the ultimate goal of any athlete is to win, to define his or her legacy by championships, along with the ability to carry a team during ultimate hardship.

Based on these leadership qualities, my interpretation of clutch players would be those who most efficiently put their team in the greatest position to win. Simple? Yes. Easily accepted among fans? Not so much. I’ve never understood the obsession, among fans and even media members, with the so-called ‘it factor.’ This non-existent will to persevere, to never accept losing and to emotionally push a team to victory, just doesn’t seem realistic to me. Call me a skeptic, but don’t all players want to win? Isn’t the goal to play at the highest level possible regardless of game magnitude?

Kobe Bryant is constantly lauded for having an “assassin” mentality, fortitude far greater than most of the league, which enables him to take over in last second situations when his team desperately needs a score. Based on the stats, and more importantly my own eyesight, I refuse to believe that someone with his type of game should ever be considered as “clutch.” When the vast majority of the team’s final shots are being taken—and missed—by him, he’s far from being a good captain and trying to ensure the best opportunity for victory.

The smart basketball move for all “superstars” should be to draw the defense in, look for an open teammate, and attempt the shot with greatest odds. The smart basketball move takes the glory and ego away from said stars, and certainly does not drive jersey sales. The smart basketball move doesn’t provide us with an epic television moment, but it does win games. Shouldn’t that count the most when it comes to a player’s legacy? Well it certainly does not, and if you weren’t already aware of that, just ask LeBron James and his “large-testicle” friend.

– Carlos Sanchez

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