Friday, January 3, 2014

Least Clutch: 2013-14

Anyone who watches the Wizards or any average to marginally better than average team recognizes that the difference between a 10, 15 and 20 win team right now is largely determined by play in the second half of the fourth quarter. From competitive high school basketball up to the NBA winners know how to close games out and losers tend to collapse in the closing minutes. Average teams waver between those two poles. To get a better understanding of players that might adversely affect their teams in these clutch scenarios, I attempted to identify the least clutch players this season.

I pulled 2013-14 per game data (as of last night's games) from NBA Stats on 'clutch play', which I defined as consisting of a player's team being behind four points or fewer up to being tied in the last four minutes of a game. (More succinctly--trailing closely in the final few minutes.) A total of 336 players met these first two criteria.

I wanted to winnow the group further to focus only on players that have received somewhat significant time in these circumstances so I eliminated players with fewer than five games played (126 players). From this group I eliminated players if they had averaged fewer than one minute per game (16 players). This left me with 194 players.

I measured individual clutch player based on three factors: effective field goal % (eFG%), turnover ratio (TO ratio; # of TOs/ 100 possessions), and defensive rating (DefRtg; points/ 100 possessions while the player is on the floor). Based on these three metrics a "clutch" player should have a high eFG% and low TO ratio and DefRtg. To further reduce the group of 194 players I first eliminated those with an eFG% greater than 50%. This eliminated 59 players. Those with the best eFG% that met the previous criteria are identified below:

Gerald Wallace (BOS) 125.0%
Manu Ginobili (SAS) 125.0%
Spencer Hawes (PHI) 121.4%
Iman Shumpert (NYK) 116.7%
Shawn Marion (DAL) 110.0%
Chris Bosh (MIA) 105.6%
Jordan Hill (LAL) 100%
Robin Lopez (POR) 100%
Miles Plumlee (PHX) 100%
Derrick Favors (UTA) 100%
Dwight Howard (HOU) 100%
Ekpe Udoh (MIL) 100%
Norris Cole (MIA) 100%
Andre Drummond (DET) 100%
Trevor Booker (WAS) 100%

Of the remaining 135 players I focused next on TO ratio and I eliminated those with a TO ratio less than 10. This eliminated 83 players, 60 of whom had a 0 TO ratio. Finally, of the last 52 players I focused on DefRtg and removed those with a rating below 100. This included 23 players. The ten players with the lowest DefRtg that met all previous criteria are identified below:

Jimmy Butler (CHI) 71.4
Jarrett Jack (CLE) 71.9
Tristan Thompson (CLE) 72.3
Trevor Ariza (WAS) 72.5
DeJuan Blair (DAL) 73
Marcin Gortat (WAS) 73.8
Courtney Lee (BOS) 75.2
Carlos Boozer (CHI) 76.1
Luol Deng (CHI) 79.6
John Wall (WAS) 80.3
The chart below captures TO ratio on the Y-axis, DefRtg on the X-axis and eFG% is measured by the size of the circle next to the player's name. Of this subset of relatively unclutch players, the most clutch of the unclutch (i.e., the better players) would have larger yellow circles next to their name (no circle indicates an eFG% of 0%), and be at the bottom left of the box, which indicates that they turn the ball over infrequently, and allow relatively fewer points per 100 possessions. 

The chart shows that most in this subcategory of unclutch players are lumped largely in the same area with a few exceptions. Tyreke Evans is noteworthy for his abysmal defense, but is an effective offensive player in the sense that he has relatively few turnovers and he shoots the ball pretty well. Most significant--and least clutch--are Zaza Pachulia, Channing Frye then Kyle Singler. These three, led by Pachulia, turn the ball over at an anomalously high  rate, shoot 0% eFG, and are among the five worst defenders based on DefRtg.

1 comment:

  1. Please provide, after all the analysis, the list of "most clutch players in the NBA".