Does Deron Williams Choke In The Clutch?

Gordon TrueCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04:  Deron Williams #8 of the Utah Jazz reacts during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Deron Williams is widely regarded as one of the premier point guards in the NBA. Most would rank Williams as at least one of the top three players at his position.

Does he choke at the end of games, though? Let's look at the numbers.

Last season, Deron Williams averaged 24.33 points per 48 minutes of game time.

However, he only averaged 19.2 points per 48 minutes of "clutch" game time (defined as the last five minutes and overtime when neither team is ahead by more than five points).

Where most great players' scoring average dramatically increases (LeBron from 36.55 to 66.1, Kobe from 33.4 to 51.2, Chris Paul from 23.62 to 39.2, etc), Deron Williams' average actually drops off.

Last season, Williams shot a very respectable 46.9% from the field and 37.1% from three-point range. However, during clutch time, his percentage drops all the way to 37.5% from the field and 21.4% from three.

The numbers show that, last season at least, Deron Williams shot the ball poorly during crunch time.

How about his assist numbers? Maybe he tends to go into point guard mode in crunch time. Williams averaged a remarkable 13.66 assists per 48 minutes of game time last season. However, that number dropped to 11.5 assists per 48 minutes of clutch game time.

That doesn't sound like too bad of a drop off until you look at the turnovers.

His turnover average for the season was 4.29 turnovers per 48 minutes of game time. During clutch time, that number jumps up to 5.8 turnovers per 48 minutes, good for the 2nd highest average in the league (behind only Earl Boykins).

Not only do his assists decrease, but his turnovers increase. Not a good combination.

There's more to the story.

His rebounds drop from 5.2 rebounds per 48 minutes to 1.9 rebounds per 48 minutes during clutch time.

His free throw shooting (a very important part of being clutch) also drops from 80.1% to 70%.

I admit, I am not a Jazz fan so I don't see Deron Williams play more than a handful of times a year and in the playoffs. Numbers don't always tell the real story, so if there is an explanation for these stats, please share.

Because right now the bottom line is: These stats seem to suggest that Deron Williams chokes in the clutch.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.