Bucks Diary

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Which Bucks are Clutch?

First of all, a belated Happy Media Day, antlerheads! You know what that means -- Bucks basketball season is upon us again. I love it. Today I'm examining which Bucks get it done when pressure's on in the "clutch".

82games.com defines “clutch play” as the final five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, with neither team enjoying a lead that exceeds five points. I was curious how the Bucks players performed in the clutch. I have undertaken a comparison of the player’s overall statistics against their clutch statistics (only for those players who logged enough clutch minutes to provide a meaningful statistical comparison). Some very interesting patterns emerge. Here’s an analysis of the Bucks.

Michael Redd

Surprisingly, Redd’s numbers fall across the board in clutch time. His overall effective field goal percentage declines significantly (50.4% to 44.0%); driven mostly by the decline in his efg on jumpers (47.6 to 40.6). His passer rating declines (4.4 to 1.3); and his ballhandler rating declines as well (14.7 to 9.3). Only Redd’s rebounder rating improves (11.7 to 14.6). In fairness to Redd, here is what I think happens – I saw it many times last year. In the crunch, everyone looks to him. There were many occasions were others would not shoot, and so Redd had to force balls up. I remember a game against the Celtics late in the season when he had to take 3 high degree of difficulty shots in a single possession simply because no one else would shoot.

That said, I have to go with the numbers and declare Redd: ASSERTIVE, BUT NOT CLUTCH.

Andrew Bogut

The Aussie does quite well in the clutch. His overall efg improves significantly (53.3 to 61.5); his atrocious jumper efg becomes respectable (30.5 to 50.0); his inside efg gets even better (54.9 to 62.5); and he becomes a very sure ballhandler for a big man (10.5 to 17.2). His rebounding and passing are the only things that suffer in the clutch: reb (26.2 to 21.6) pass (3.3 to 1.8). The one thing I worry about with Bogut is his free throw shooting. If he doesn’t get that squared away, I am afraid he may become gunshy in the clutch.

However, at this point, the numbers don’t lie. I must call him: WISELY CLUTCH.

Mo Williams

This one is a little scary. Williams is so not clutch. And a point guard really ought to at least entertain the possibility of clutch. He doesn’t. His efg falls way off (48.3 to 42.2); his jump shooting becomes erratic (47.4 to 42.0); his passing becomes dangerously sloppy (8.9 to 2.9); and his ballhandling becomes, simply, unacceptably bad (21.2 to 10.1). Quite simply, Williams completely shrinks at crunch time. If he is to be the floor general, he must show better leadership in the tight moments.

This should set the warning lights flashing because Williams is: SO NOT CLUTCH.

Steve Blake

Given Williams struggles at prime time, we may lean on Blake in the fourth quarters of tight games. Like Williams, his numbers fall off, but unlike Williams, they only fall off slightly and still remain in an acceptable range. His efg goes from (51.9 to 47.0); his jump shooting goes from (51.2 to 46.8); his passing goes from (10.9 to 8.0); and his ballhandling goes from (25.0 to 20.8).

While Blake does decline, he declines within an acceptable range and is: CLUTCH ENOUGH.

Bobby Simmons

Here’s a stunner. Given Simmons sort of soft demeanor, I just assumed going in that he wouldn’t be clutch. Not really the case. Like Blake, his numbers fall off, but within an acceptable range. And his ballhandling improves significantly (11.0 to 15.1) which implies that he steps up his concentration and decisionmaking in the crunch.

Simmons does decline slightly in most categories, but the decline is small enough to call him: SLIGHTLY CLUTCH.

Charlie Villanueva

Now remember, this was his rookie season in which he was called upon to be a frontline scorer on a very bad team. That’s a lot to ask of a greenhorn. That being said, he was not clutch. Although his ballhandling improved quite noticeably (10.0 to 17.1), and his rebounding went up, both of which imply strongly that he has the makings of a clutch player, his shooting numbers just went down (efg: 50.0 to 44.4) too much to go all the way and call him clutch just yet.

Though I have a feeling he will develop clutch, at this point he is: SOON TO BE CLUTCH.

Ruben Patterson

This one I had pegged all the way. Guys with the kind of mental toughness and aggression Patterson has displayed throughout his career live for the pressure moments. Patterson is no different. The things he’s good at (rebounding from the wing, scoring inside) he does exceptionally well in the clutch (for instance, his inside efg goes from 56.8 to 72.7), with his numbers rising drastically. The things he does poorly, he doesn’t do worse in the clutch – with one notable exception. His ballhandling becomes much too sloppy (9.7 to 2.3). He needs to tighten that up. Possessions are too valuable.

Overall, however, you have to say the Kobe Stopper is: BIG TIME CLUTCH.


At October 3, 2006 at 10:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can u say that Mo aint clutch did u not see the Pacers AND THE WIZARDs games the shots he made were AMAZINGGGGG!!!!!!!!

At October 4, 2006 at 12:11 AM, Blogger Sky Hook said...

Your confusing flash with substance my man. Here's hoping he steps to like that EVERY night this season...

At October 4, 2006 at 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

granted the numbers don't lie, and mo needs to ratchet up certain parts of his game to be a leader at the point. But not clutch?!?!?
When the games on the line he has the cajones to take the shot and the game to stick it. bottom line.

At October 4, 2006 at 11:52 PM, Blogger Sky Hook said...

True enough. Some guys treat the ball like its a live hand grenade in crunch time; Mo doesn't.

I'm a Mo Williams fan, but he's so erratic. Case in point was last year's playoffs. He looked all-world in the one game the Bucks won, and basically didn't show up for the other four they lost. In fact, you could make a case that the Bucks fortunes last season paralled the play of Mo Williams.

I'm hoping that now that he is outside the shadow of TJ Ford, he will really come into his own as a top notch point guard. The season could depend on it.

Thanks for your comments, bro.


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