To be clutch or not to be clutch…that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous columnists and their even more outrageous statistics. Or, to take arms against their sea of numbers and by opposing, end them!
What is clutch? What are the characteristics that make one player clutch and another not? Does being clutch guarantee your team wins in crunch time situations? Is being clutch a capacity solely defined by statistical analysis and reporting metrics…or is there more to it?
Webster’s dictionary defines a clutch player as someone who is “dependable in crucial situations.”
Unfortunately, the word “dependable” can be interpreted in different ways to different people. So that doesn’t really help us, does it?
What if we play a little game to help us figure out just who and what clutch is?
When I say go, I want you to think of the most clutch players in the history of the NBA…ready?
Done? Okay, now let’s compare lists…
In no special order and without the help of any stats, I got: Magic, Michael, Larry, and of course “Mr. Clutch,” Jerry West. I’d probably also throw Reggie Miller in there as well.
Now for round two: Think of most clutch players in the game today….ready??
Okay, I got Kobe, Paul Pierce, Manu, and DWade…and I guess Carmelo Anthony should also be included.
So, how’d we do?
Chances are, our lists are pretty darn close. That’s because the names mentioned are synonymous with delivering when it mattered most. Not every time mind you….In fact, there probably exists a statistic or two, buried deep within some number cruncher’s hard-drive that proves otherwise; but often enough these players came through when their teams needed it most. And, in the hearts and minds of most intelligent basketball fans these are the players that exude the essence of what it means to be clutch.
In other words: these are the guys we want taking the last shot with the clock running down and the game on the line!