First, some caveats. I looked only at each player's clutch stats from last season. There isn't an all-encompassing stat for "clutchness," so I picked a trio of interesting individual measures that perhaps measure different things. Finally, and perhaps the biggest caveat, I looked only at clutch offense, since I couldn't find any statistics that attempt to measure individual clutch defense. Obviously, a team needs defense in the clutch just as much or more than offensive production. Without further ado...
Quite a bit is already being made (probably unfairly two games in) about 4th quarter lineups. Specifically, Felton has had a few boneheaded plays that resulted in turnovers early in the shot clock. Clearly, with Roy gone there's room for new guys to step up and show how clutch they are. Statistics won't tell the whole story here, but I thought it would be fun to see what they say. Below the fold, who the stats say should be in to close out tight games.
Blazers 5 in the clutch* (by FG%, clutch FGA in parentheses)
1. Kurt Thomas 100.0% (8)
2. Marcus Camby 66.7% (6)
3. Nicolas Batum 51.6% (31)
4. Wesley Matthews 44.2% (43)
5. LaMarcus Aldridge 44.0% (84)
If Thomas and Camby are dropped due to few shots taken, their replacements would be:
6. Gerald Wallace 43.8% (32)
7. Jamal Crawford 33.3% (36)
Crawford and Felton (32.4% of 37 shots) were among the worst in the NBA at clutch FG shootinig (of course, the very worst don't appear because they don't take clutch shots).
Of course, players like Batum need to be set up for clutch shots. Another stat to look at is how many of a player's clutch field goals were unassisted.
Blazers 5 in the clutch* (by % unassisted FGs, clutch FGM in parentheses)
1. Felton 84% (12)
2. Crawford 59% (12)
3. Camby 50% (4)
4. Aldridge 46% (37)
5. Wallace 43% (14)
(Matthews 22%, Batum 19%)
When good defenses lock in at the end of games, sometimes getting to the foul line is the best shot at putting points on the board. Here are the Blazers best at earning free throws in the clutch.
Blazers 5 in the clutch* (by FTA/48)
1. Aldridge 14.2
2. Felton 13.5
3. Wallace 12.7
4. Matthews 9.7
5. Crawford 9.3
*4th quarter or overtime, less than 5 minutes left, neither team ahead by more than 5 points
Batum, although he doesn't generate his own shot much, should be on the floor. He has the makings of a very special clutch player. His FG%/3P%/FT% of 52/35/94 is well above average, although obviously his usage rate is not as high as elite players. He also earned more clutch free throws than I would have guessed (7.2 per 48).
Aldridge is a given as he was easily our most productive clutch player last season. Wallace can get his own shot and scores about as efficiently as Matthews. Camby is always a danger for tip-ins even if his number's never called, and those back taps don't show up on the stat sheet.
From all of this, I'd say Matthews is my odd man out offensively assuming that Batum or Wallace can check his man on a given night. Felton looks like the (statistical) winner at the point as long as he doesn't shoot too often. For those curious, Andre Miller's clutch stats last year:
FG% 37.9 (66 FGA) / Unassisted% 60 (25 FGM) / FTA/48 12.2
On most nights, who do you most strongly feel should sit in the last five minutes of close games?
Matthews (48 votes)
Batum (26 votes)
Camby (23 votes)
Wallace (8 votes)
Crawford (40 votes)
Felton (47 votes)
192 total votes