"Clutchness" has become one of the most appreciated and talked-about abilities in the NBA of late.
While it might be more difficult to measure quantitatively than the standard statistical categories of "points", "rebounds" and "assists" etc, 82games.com has done a pretty good job when it comes to evaluating crunch-time performance.
When compiling their list of the most clutch players in the NBA, 82games defines clutch time as "Fourth quarter or overtime, less than five minutes left, no team ahead by more than five points." Although this definition is not perfect (making a three when your team is up by five points with 10 seconds left hardly qualifies as "clutch"), it does provide a rather accurate portrayal of how the top players in the league perform under pressure.
Without these statistics at hand, fans can be tricked into thinking certain players always make the big shot; because they only remember the spectacular game-winners rather than the shots missed. In this slideshow, I will try to separate the perceptions of the players' clutch ability from the reality.
Of course, we can't rely purely on statistics. There are certain players we as fans have seen repeatedly take over games down the stretch, whether they have been leading our team to victory or reprising their role as the villain. For each player, I'll try to blend statistical evidence with viewing experience to come up with a fair assessment.
Stats Used: '09-'10 and '10-'11 clutch stats per 48 minutes. Only relevant stats used. Ex: If a player only attempted three "clutch three-pointers" in the season, the percentage made is not relevant.
- Must be a member of a playoff-caliber team
- Must have a significant sample size of "clutch minutes" played.
- When you think of the player's name, multiple clutch shots or performances should spring to mind.
- Must have an above average free-throw percentage (~76 percent). Otherwise, he is a liability.
- Must want the ball in his hands with the game on the line.
With that said, here are the top 10 clutch players currently in the NBA.
Please feel free to comment if you think someone has been unfairly omitted.