How many times have you seen a dude dribbling the clock out at the end of a quarter, half or game before attacking and putting a shot up at the buzzer, hoping to squeak in a couple of extra points? Nine billion? 75 thousand? 16? Infinity? I don’t know the exact answer, but I know it’s a lot.
And while that might seem like the smart play — it keeps the ball away from the opponent, limits turnovers, makes you feel pretty special for being the designated shot taker and cetera — science says you’re leaving points on the table if you do such a thing. Here’s a brief, two-sentence explanation of science’s claim that shooting early in the clock is better, courtesy of Brian Skinner who is a researcher and not that Clipper who used to dye his goatee. From Wired:
[Skinner] discovered through an analysis of scoring situations that NBA players often wait too long to shoot and it could cost teams an average of 4.5 points per game. Rather than take the sure thing early in a possession, players wait it out, taking time off the clock and hoping to make another, possibly tougher, shot pay off.
That’s science and math talking, you guys. Those are two well-established fields of study, and if they say you should take good shots early in the shot clock, maybe you should.
But Kobe Bryant is like, “Nope.”
Yeah, whatever, Bryant responds. He told Wired.com after a recent matchup with the New York Knicks that there are countless variables, and his decision to shoot — or not shoot, as the case may be — depends upon who’s on the floor, where they’re standing and how much time is left on the clock.
“If I can kick it to somebody, a lot of times I wind up getting a hockey assist, so it just depends on how much time I have left,” Bryant said. “If there’s a chance to pass and swing [to another player] for another opportunity, that’s fine. If there’s not, then I have to create space and get a shot up, understanding that there are two [players] on me and it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to get an offensive rebound.”
I was lead to believe that Kobe Bryant was a “scientific dawg,” but this sounds kind of like he is being the opposite of that. An artistic catt, I guess? Beats me, but that sentence sure sounds like Kobe saying he knows better than science when he should be taking a shot. Science has never played in the NBA. Science doesn’t have titles. Science wasn’t with Kobe shooting in the gym.
You would think that Kobe would trust science since he used it to get special blood put in his leg in order to combat aging, but I guess not. Still doesn’t quite trust it after not being able to fix his finger after all these years. He never forgets.