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True Clutch

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 2/16/2011 11:02:44 AM

Coming through with the ball game on the line is the definition of a clutch player and they may have never been a better one that the NBA Logo himself, Jerry West.

His 63-foot buzzer beater to force overtime in the 1970 Finals against the Knicks is still shown often during NBA telecasts but in today’s game there are some surprising players that can be call Mr. Clutch of this generation.

The first name that comes to mind is that of the top All Star vote getter Kobe Bryant but as you’ll find out later in this piece is solid, but far from the best.

Alok Pattani of ESPN Stats and Information recently compiled a list of 27 players that were monitored with the game in the balance when they were trailing by or one two points, or tied in the final 24 seconds of regular season and playoff games since the 1996-1997 season.

Granted, Kobe has made the most in those situations at 36, but he took 115 shots to get there, 19 more shot but the next player that made the list.

Some names will be surprising to even storied NBA fans.

Take for instance, number 11 on the list of 27. It’s not other than Jalen Rose, who plied his trade for the Indiana Packers but is now and analyst on ESPN.

In 32 shots under these circumstances, he hit 12 for a solid 37.5%.

Of the current players, there is probably nobody in the room who would name Shawn Marion on the list but he ranks 3rd popping with 12 of 30 for a cool 40%.

The now injured Brandon Roy put up the same exacta numbers, as has Hedo Turkoglu.

Number 9 on the list has a special place in my heart. I watched Mike Bibby live and in person several times when he was tearing up the league in Phoenix and he chimes in at 15 for 39 when time is running out.

Making the list at 21 is Vince Carter who took the second most shots when it counted at 96 and popped at a 32.3% at this point of his career.

It’s no shock that number 10 on the list is arguably the best outside shooting big man that ever put up a jumper. Dallas Maverick’s Dirk Nowitzki stepped up 65 times so far in these situations and hit the shot in 25 of those attempts.

Other unfashionable current players to hit the big one are Tim Duncan, at 23 for 62; Ben Gordon at 17 for 49, Ron Artest at 9 for 30 and Raymond Felton, at 12 for 36.

Now for the big names that make the roster, but are on the lower level of the slate.

LeBron James has taken 69 potential game changes and made a respectable 33%. Jason Terry is right below Kobe at 14 for 45 and Kevin Garnett has hit so far with 22 of 72.

One name that is missing that is kind of a shock is Ray Allen, who is hours away from becoming the all time leading 3-point shooters.

Bettors should scrutinize these guys and project how they will do in upcoming tough games and know that often times the lesser lights shine brightest.



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