View Full Version : Henry Abbott at it again

03-23-2011, 08:41 PM

It's not sexy, and it's not exciting, but it's real. Things are changing in how we talk about sports. What's happening is that a lot things that used to be left to rumor, reputation and folklore are now being discussed with actual evidence.

People who want to challenge assumptions now come armed with data.

One of the NBA's most cherished assumptions of the last decade or so has been the idea that Kobe Bryant is the best crunch time player in hoops. But as more and more data emerged on who plays well in crunch time -- from 82games, from Elias, from ESPN Stats and Information, from the NBA's new StatsCube -- Bryant just didn't top the list.

He wins any contest centered around number of makes, or better yet, highlights. Just about every survey ever conducted of players, GMs and other NBA insiders insists he is alone at the top of the list.

That reality, though -- Bryant's landslide victory in every such contest -- is the exact thing that makes this myth so ripe for busting. (People sometimes ask why I don't point out LeBron James' flaws in crunch time. The reason is because his crunch time reputation is about in line with the data, somewhere around "pretty good." Not much to learn there.)

Bryant, however, in making all those highlights and cementing his reputation is, I suggest, doing really difficult and impressive things that don't have a great effect on his team. (I have written plenty about this.)

It may be time for us to rejigger what a great crunch-time performer looks like -- shooting over the double team, it appears, is best avoided, no matter who you are.

The key point is that the Lakers' team offense has been amazing for 15 years -- Bryant's entire career. But over that same period, the end of very close games, with Bryant launching the many tough shots that made his reputation, the team's offense has been just about as good as most NBA teams. Precisely when Bryant is doing the most for the Lakers -- when the triangle breaks down and he goes into hero mode -- the evidence suggests the Lakers become not more extraordinary, but more average.

In last night's triple overtime win over the Suns, both camps -- the people who say Bryant is clearly the best, and the people who say he's a selfish gunner -- came away saying "I told you so." It's not hard to see how these two camps have evolved.

First, the basics: Bryant finished with 42 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Watch the highlights and you'll see him not just hitting big shots, but also getting big assists. Heroic, to be sure.

But from the play-by-play, here's what he did with the game on the line Tuesday night. With just under five minutes to play in regulation, he hit a jumper to put the Lakers up by seven. (By no measure does a seven-point lead with five minutes to go even count as crunch time. The game's not close enough. But it was about to get close.) Here's what Bryant did next, with stars by the positive contributions:

Fourth quarter
4:30 missed 20 footer
3:44 assist to Lamar Odom*
3:00 bad pass turnover
2:26 missed seven-foot jumper
1:16 made 19-foot jumper*
0:10 missed nine-foot jumper
Overtime 1
4:33 missed 20-foot jumper
3:29 missed nine-foot jumper
3:20 missed 13-footer
2:04 assist to Odom*
1:27 assist to Artest*
1:17 rebound*
0:14 missed 3
Overtime 2
4:28 offensive rebound*
4:00 two made free throws*
3:42 defensive rebound*
3:42 turnover (Grant Hill steal)
3:18 defensive rebound*
3:08 20-foot jumper*
1:47 one of two free throws*
0:36 shot blocked by Marcin Gortat
Overtime 3
4:03 offensive rebound*
4:03 putback attempt, miss
3:26 missed 22-foot jumper
2:30 draws a foul on Hill*
2:18 draws a foul on Hill, who fouls out*
2:09 made 3*
0:44 18-foot miss
0:14 made 11-footer*

Everyone goes home remembering the 3 at the end of the third overtime, and most importantly the make to win the game with 14 seconds left in a classic.

The box score and the highlights confirm a tremendous performance. The analysis can end there, and Bryant is the best crunch-time performer in the game.

But if we're crowning kings of crunch time, in some way we have to account for 11 missed shots in the the most important chunk of the game. Not to mention: four made shots, three of four free throws, five rebounds, three assists, two turnovers and fouling out Hill. How to weigh all that?

A great player, on a great team, who won yet another game with a big bucket. But also a player who was lucky enough to be able to fire away near the end of regulation and the first two overtimes and miss them all. A player who went about eight minutes, encapsulating the first overtime, without hitting a field goal. A player who had the ball in his hands most of the time as his heavily favored home team turned a seven-point lead into a cliffhanger.

And that brings us to the ultimate point of all this. It's not about Bryant. It's not about the Lakers. It's not even about basketball.

It's about assumptions. They're not good enough anymore. Not in a world of nearly limitless evidence.

Yes, Bryant is a hell of a player, and he blatantly brings something special to crunch time. But if you want to convince anyone that he's by far the best, you're going to have to explain all those teammates left open, and all those misses, and his shot selection, which are entirely in keeping with evidence gathered from his entire career.

Highlights of his makes -- with the misses edited out -- aren't enough to win the argument anymore.

03-23-2011, 08:54 PM
What a bleeping bleephole.

03-23-2011, 09:03 PM
is he a blazer fan? lol

03-23-2011, 09:07 PM
Who cares about this guy. I'm pretty fed up with Kobe still having to earn the respect of many. Who cares what he, his momma, his grandmomma, his grandmomma's momma thinks.. Kobe is still on top of the league working on his 2nd 3-peat despite all these "flaws" everyone doesn't get tired of mentioning.

And I can hear the critics talking over the applause, Yeah, I tried to tell em', Future let em' know, Send the haters all my love—X and O - Drake


03-23-2011, 09:15 PM
Funny how he waits for the opportune moment to write this article. He couldn't do so after the Blazers game :laugh2:

03-23-2011, 09:35 PM
Damn bunch of hater's I swear, even the Yankee's get more love than we do! :facepalm:

03-23-2011, 09:37 PM
He could write a book with all his articles entitled:

"1001 ways to bash Kobe Bryant while you suck every inch of Lebron's weenie"

03-23-2011, 09:44 PM
See my signature....

New Power House
03-23-2011, 10:21 PM

Mamba and the Lakers have made the life of "some" people miserable. Oregon and particularly,Portland hate Kobe like hell! He will continue to make them feel that way and that is why people like this guy that come out with articles that sale for them.:facepalm: They need to eep their jobs!

03-24-2011, 12:16 AM
People can talk and discredit Kobe and the Lakers until they're purple in the face. In the end It's Kobe, The fans, and the lakers winning the championships and having the last laugh.

03-24-2011, 01:35 AM
I have complained about Kobe dribbling too much.He is a competitor, I cannot disagree with that. But no respect from Abbot is like having an ***** on Kobe's elbow, Kobe don't need that. Often times the drive that Kobe has is undeniable. He takes those shots because he is held accountable for his team (leader). He rather put the blame on his shoulder because criticism fuels him. I rather him miss the shot and take accountability for his actions then dumping it off to a team-mate who bricks it. In the end who would u rather have?......... Kobe 24! A person who is the black sheep of superstars because of his past! Should of got MVP with 81 pts.-gave it to Nash. Should of gotten it the year after that, taking Smush and Kwame to the playoffs-Nowitzki was awarded! Should got when the Lakers finished first and beat Orlando in the Finals- gave it to Lebron. Like I said Black Sheep!

03-24-2011, 01:36 AM
Abbot is doing a great job at keeping up with his peers at ESPN :laugh2:

While Henry Abbot is busy trying to get hits for his column by exposing Kobe, 24 is about to potentially lead his team to their eight finals appearance over twelve years. Abbots insistence as a statical purist ignores the reality that reputations sometimes carry more weight than the end results on the stat sheet. It's a mind game; all of Phils greatest players have been able to do this, get into the minds of their opponent and their opponents coaches (regarding reactionary game planning). It changes the way they game-plan and how they choose to defend him, which effects all other Lakers on the floor.

Abbot talks about Bryants shooting in the clutch and he prides himself as a stats man but he ignores Bryants rebounding. The Lakers don't lose when they win the glass. Abbot loves to give us the play by play on his FG shooting but he ignores the fact that a 6'6 SG has dominated the glass even on nights when he couldn't find the stroke on multiple occasions, on the biggest of stages. His article is just a critique of one game, but he has made this point continually in the past.

My other knock on Abbots assessment is that he focuses strictly on FG%. He doesn't mention that Bryant gets to the line at an elite level at the end of games. Again, as a stat guy, he should be paying TS% a little more courtesy than he does. Bryant doesn't just have a lot of points in late game scenarios because he takes the most FGA by a large margin; it's because he also gets to the line a ton, shooting at about 85%.

03-24-2011, 01:58 AM
so he missed some shots in crunch time in one game. what about the other games? who gets to define crunch time? its so ambiguous his argument is therefore ridiculously illogical. seriously, what about the games where bryant surged and helped put the lakers up by double digits and the game wasnt a contest after that? can u say thats crunch time? i mean look at how the celtics destroyed us in game 4 in 2008, most of it didnt happen with 2 minutes left, but it was clutch team play that came together to come from behind and ousted the lakers. my point is this, you dont know when one shot or one run in a game can defeat your opponent. clutch moments happen through out a game. how many times did the lakers look like they were gonna get canned and kobe hits back to back 3's or whatever and brings life back into his team? isnt that clutch? who gets to decide this? henry abbott isnt God so im not terribly concerned with any of his definitions or opinions

03-24-2011, 03:08 AM
:censored: him.

I bet this guy cant even dribble a ball.