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NBA Stats 2012: Joe Johnson Is Clutch


Piggybacking off of Tom Haberstroh's Twitter Timeline, we checkout Advanced Stats to look at how clutch Joe Johnson has been so far this year.

My uneducated guess before looking? Seems like Joe has been better because the end of games have been less forced and multiple folks getting the ball later, though it hasn't ignored Joe either. Not every possession goes into Iso-Joe, making the times that he does slightly more effective. Or does it?

What did we find? (Hint: click that link to see the data for yourself)

This season, so far, Joe Johnson has indeed been clutch.

Clutch, as defined by, is player performance in the last five minutes of games when the score margin is within five points.

For Joe, everything in the scoring area has gone up, from traditional shooting percentage (49 percent from 43) to all advanced metrics, Joe improves in the last five minutes of games.

His usage goes up, from 27 percent to 36 percent and his offensive rating increases also (113.8 from 101.8), without any incline in defensive rating (96.5 from 96.7), leaving his net efficiency even higher in the clutch.

Turnovers down, as is everything that is not associated with scoring -- apparently clutch time is Joe's time with the ball as rebounding and assist rate drop as his scoring/offensive efficiency increase.

So Joe's been clutch this season -- how does he compare to last season, a noted down year for Joe? Well, he was not as clutch as this year -- his shooting percentages all around went down and usage went up to the same level as this season, though his +/- and overall efficiency margin improved.

Even if he is taking approximately the same amount per 36 minutes (18.8 this season to 19.2 last), maybe he is taking better shots in the clutch than last season, because he is making more (9.1 vs 6.7). Though consider also that he is making more threes this year than last, likely making everything look better.

Looking deeper into the stats, we see that compared to last year Joe is getting more clutch minutes per "clutch game played", presumably because the Hawks are locked in more tight games late, including overtimes games. To date, Joe has played 67 clutch minutes in 12 games compared to 107 clutch minutes in 34 games last season.

As far as location stats, Joe is actually shooting slightly fewer shots from mid-range and closer in clutch time than last season (72% last season to 66% this season), but more successful this season (52% this season to 37% last season).

Exit Question: What do you think -- do the stats lie regarding Joe? Or is he -- gasp! -- clutch?

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