This whole clutch discussion is always a slippery slope.
In fact I kinda hate every time I have to read or talk about it.
The amount of variables that go into that one play are so great on a case by case basis that these stat guys looking into the players that are the most 'clutch' is sort of silly to me - especially on a shot percentage basis. That's just silly to me.
IMO, Kobe is the most 'clutch' player in the league, even when you look at the stats and see his lower shooting percentage.
He thinks he's going to make it so much that he truly believe he will make the shot. Every single time. He does not doubt himself. And I can see the doubt on other players in the league. LeBron James. I won't really get into LeBron James and what I think about his personality, because from what I'm able to see on the surface, his insecurities are far greater than anyone really mentions. The way he looks around for confirmation on the court after a player is widely telling. And you know how Kobe will get that look before having to take a huge shot? I've never seen LeBron with a look on his face that said "I'm going to make this mother freaking shot right meow." Kevin Durant is much more Kobe in these 'clutch' situations than LeBron is.
He hates missing, but the reward is far greater than the risk and he's one of the only guys in the league that I believe is 100% fearless. He will shoot the ball in every single scenario. He will take the blame. He will put all of that on his own shoulders. Not too many other guys in the league will do that. Back to LeBron, but I'm pretty sure I've seen him pass the ball to players like Udonis Haslem when he's had time on the clock and was in a mono y mono defensive situation.
He usually steps it up to 100% on both ends in those precious minutes. We saw this last night. After the effortless defensive in the first 3 quarters, he was still able to pull it together and play great defense. And this just doesn't translate to him trying harder on defense, it's boxing out, it's running for loose balls, taking a charge in the middle of a comeback, rebounding, all of it goes up to the highest level he can give us.
Kobe is unique in that he can be clutch when we are down 15. I think that's highly underrated too. These stats that use the last 24 seconds in a tie game or up to a 3 point deficit are just hilarious! Being down by 4 and hitting 3 pointer with 25 seconds left doesn't count in that statistic that is so commonly passed around.
How many times has Kobe started / lead that initial comeback to where we end up benefiting? Didn't he hit 2 huge 3's in a row last night that cut the lead down to something more manageable?
That's clutch as hell to me. Even being down 25 and scoring 8 straight in a game in which we end up winning would be clutch to me.