The first Jerry West Clutch player of the year will be awarded this season. Controversy over clutch players has become a mainstay of sports talk television, so it’s probably only a matter of time until the NBA introduces an official award that the top players in. can scream. This is not what we wantbut it’s here and the NBA requires the winner to be named.
Critics of the clutch story have argued that “every hit counts,” but there’s a reason baseball clubs deploy rigorous close-ups and the NFL trains ice athletes. in the final moments of the upcoming competitions. Clutch time is its own time zone. It’s like balancing on a blade and getting comfortable fighting with the hardwood from that cliff. The clock ticks slower when you’re running out of time, and NBA players feel the same way, but for a different reason. Hoopers who can’t handle the dwindling seconds in their heads will feel their muscles tighten, their hearts beat faster, and their hands start to sound colder.
Clutch-making has an imprecise definition, but it’s similar to a colloquial phrase formerly used by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart—you know it when you see it. However, we can do better than just using a visual test to determine which stars perform best under increased pressure. Using heaps of data from NBA.com and Mike Beuoy’s clutch capture report than at unpredictableThis is the right time to determine which star is currently the leading contender for the title of NBA’s most closely watched player of the season.
Through the first quarter of the NBA season*, these are the stars that are making the strongest case for Clutch Player of the Year. There were a few surprising early leads, and the usual suspects put up impressive numbers.
*Stats as of December 20, 2022.