scrabbarista wrote: WarriorGM wrote:
When you say "superior tenacity", what do you mean by that?
In tennis, playing bigger on the important points (it's possible in tennis to win more points and still lose) and making every single point a dogfight. If you watch Federer or the other top players vs. talented but lesser players you often see the lesser players capable of playing fabulously but then on those important points when the game is on the line they just don't show the same mental stamina or endurance and are more prone to making mistakes or being off for a point and that's enough to seal their doom.
I was trying to finish the thread without responding, but I'll jump in.
On one hand, I agree with those who say every minute of a game has equal value in determining the outcome. It would certainly appear logical (without the necessary analysis to determine whether one quarter has greater weight in determining final outcomes) that a +5 in the first quarter is just as good as a +5 in fourth quarter.
On the other hand, few to no players experience the game in this way. When players hit a "game-winning" shot, they flip the f--k out; but if they'd hit the same shot
on the first play of the game and reacted by pumping their fists, mean-mugging for the camera, streaking down the court with airplane arms, and then chest-bumping the entire bench, everyone, including the most hardened statheads, would laugh at them. The difference in this reaction is a key to what the "clutch" people (I'm one of them, to put it crudely) are trying to communicate: if players are reacting like that after
"clutch" moments, you can sure as heck assume (and experienced athletes will know
) that they're reacting internally before
those moments - and, in some cases, this reaction will affect performance. The statistical sample-sizes are always necessarily small, but otoh, once is enough to see a guy with wobbly knees and eyes popping open on the free-throw line near the end of the game to know: this is not random
Elgee's list is phenomenal. I've only read the methodology and a couple entries so far, but it's clearly amazing. Where I think it goes wrong is in ignoring the simple idea that the playoffs are more
, not less
, important than the regular season. This is true because everyone - fans, players (the only relevant group, tbh), coaches, advertising execs, etc. - arbitrarily decides it is. This arbitrary decision warps the way the game is played in the playoffs (a similar effect occurs at the end of all games, RS or PS).
The upshot is that while the statistics used in different contexts - RS vs. PS, or first 43 minutes vs. last 5 minutes - are the same, the actual context is not. Thus, the statistics are misleading.
I remember Henry Abbott, during his years of criticizing "hero ball" would often slam Kobe Bryant, but then woefully admit that more or less all teams for all time have moved the ball less, on average, in the most clutch moments. He thought this was the wrong approach, but he had to grapple with the fact that Kobe (he also criticized Harden/Houston) wasn't as much of an outlier as he wanted to make him out to be. He believed that the approach that was best during the first 45 minutes should be the best during the last 3 minutes. I agree with him - all else being equal - on this last point, but with the minor caveat that players don't actually play that way
. Never have and, on the whole, never will.
MJ was famous for his slow starts. He liked to get his teammates involved and observe the defense. In the fourth, he would become a very different player. Which was the real MJ? The sum of both? If so, which was the better MJ? Which MJ approached the game in a more impactful way? You either have to pick one, or you have to admit that the first quarter is qualitatively (and, in some sense, therefore, quantitatively) different than the fourth quarter. The same applies to RS vs. PS.
It's not a coincidence that someone with MJ's physical advantages should develop a reputation for clutch performance. When all players are trying their hardest, that extra hang time or length or quickness can suddenly become the deciding factor in winning or losing. (The same could be said for the ability to concentrate, to react aggressively with composure, and other mental attributes, but those are obviously more difficult to observe.) If I, a regular guy, am playing Kawhi Leonard in one-on-one, I might be able to score a basket or two, maybe even more, depending on how seriously he takes it. But if the championship or his next contract or our lives are on the line, it's a lot less likely I'll even get a shot off. I only use this illustration to exaggerate a point, but it can explain why someone like a John Stockton or a Steve Nash can be great in the regular season, but then be outmatched by an "inferior" player like a Gary Payton or a Manu Ginobili in the playoffs. Often, this may not result in a player being outplayed, but rather in the gap between the two players being shrunk, which can be the difference between winning and losing.
To me, this is intuitively a first principle: the arbitrary (but priceless) importance placed on the playoffs and certain moments will always mean that players' psychological make-ups and approaches to basketball are crucial in evaluations.
In summary, Steve Nash and Kevin Garnett should have shot the ball more.
There's stuff in here that I think I'm inclined to disagree with but I mightn't be understanding it all properly so I'll give some responses either arguing against or seeking clarification.
Regarding responses to "game-winners". The difference isn't the time in the game. It's the game win probability after the shot and the opportunity to flip out (i.e. if you're there dancing, gurning, mugging or whatever and the opponent throws a quick outlet, you look pretty dumb). You'd be equally mad to flip out after making a late shot up or down 20. A late-game basket isn't of more or less value (maybe less if both sides have rightly concluded that the outcome is dead), it's just that in a close game you know that every play has mattered and that this last one will too (but no more so than previous ones).
There are differences in end of tight game scenarios. Specifically one is a defensive advantage in knowing when you want to shoot (to early and you give back possession, too late and it doesn't count), which allows them to defend differently than they would otherwise. This wouldn't affect any balance of importance of different plays or periods of play though.
So far as "nerves exist and different people react differently to them" that much would I think be uncontroversial. The question is where one goes from there. E.g. how much people who got to the level of the NBA are affected by such, is there any good measure of where such nerves would kick in, do we have the right tools to measure it, can/do we measure it at both ends ("clutch" tends to be about offense) etc
On "playoffs are more important" ... to what? To deciding the champions in a given year? Beyond a certain threshold (you need to make the playoffs), yes, of course. To accurately, holistically measuring what you can expect of a player in hypothetical other scenarios, or even predicting future performance ... for this, with it's variety of opponents and superior sample size, the regular season is better. And so it depends on what you want to measure. Someone rating careers
, let's say without a deep dive into context, because maybe in some cases contextual factors about opponents, sample-size etc, whose criteria looked at the numbers and valued highly the playoffs (whether, because that's what they actually did - luck doesn't come into it or doesn't matter / that's what matters most, or they believe their playoff performance is replicable or whatever) will be higher on Terry Furlow, Jerome James, Baron Davis, Roy Hinson, Bernard King, Tim Thomas, Johnny Moore, Darnell Valentine, Jeff Foster, Bob Harris, Derrek Dickey, Derrick Coleman, Isiah Thomas, Gus Williams, Jamaal Magloire, Elvin Hayes, Rajon Rondo, Penny Hardaway, Hakeem Olajuwon, Frank Ramsey and Ben Wallace and lower on Stephon Marbury, Drazen Petrovic, Jim Price, Neil Johnston, Robert Pack, Clifford Robinson (and for bigger names, to lesser degrees Chamberlain, Payton, Cassell, Sabonis, D Robinson, Moncrief, Tim Hardaway, Wilkins, Karl Malone, Parish) than will be someone who views the playoffs primarily with skepticism.
Some of this is preference. Some could be debated at the margins (the degree to which RS/playoffs predict future performance and future playoff performance - the chance, in light of sample sizes, that a raise or fall in the playoffs is luck). In either case at the preliminary stage of discussions it's probably fairer to talk about where you differ than to say where someone "goes wrong". And it's best to get differences in what you are measuring and methodology out of the way up front to avoid talking past one another.
I'm not sure on the analogy between late game "clutch" and playoffs "clutch". The former, I have argued, is no more important, though at the very end of games marginally different. The latter is more important to titles
, is somewhat different in mostly different ways (tighter rotations, greater game-planning e.g. can limit unipolar offenses, more open than RS to the influence of luck, injury, matchups). I think any idea of tying these two things together needs to explain why and give evidence for doing so.
Not quite sure what you're saying re: Abbott-Bryant-HeroBall (so far as I can tell - agree with Abbott but say players never will, play "team ball" - why not if it's possible, if not then why not needs teasing about). I would re-raise the point that very end of game plays are distinct for shot-timing reasons.
1) I'd want data on "slow starts" and I'd suggest there is an onus on you prove this assertion given you're telling people they must pick one.
2) Even given that premise ... why "different MJs" in different quarters force one to pick one version as more "real"? Wouldn't one be contingent on the other. Wouldn't the premise be getting other players confident to create space for MJ later, then hope he doesn't need them but be okay if he does. Even assuming different play styles, so far as I can see, there's little reason to say that they could or should be separable and separated.
The effort thing is probably the most important one raised. And in can be taken two ways "extra gear" versus "RS loafers" (see Tim Thomas, Derrick Coleman, Jerome James). Effort is certainly another aspect aside from mental composure that could lead to . One would have to consider ones own preferences and think about different perspectives (does a "lazy" RS player become an asset to a contender that can get them cheap - if they can be confident that playoff performance isn't a fluke, in what circumstances is playoff upside more valuable and in what circumstances do you want the player to be at max capacity all year - which calibre teams and which cultures fit which style best).
Okay, don't have time to proofread this now (there'll probably be an incomplete thought somewhere). Let me know if I misunderstood anything, or any thoughts.