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08-09-2012, 09:27 PM
  #100
alanschu
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Players who are clutch one year are suddenly not clutch the next. Cam Ward is so clutch that he usually can't even get his team into the playoffs. If it were a real thing, it would be observable and predictable, and not rely on ex post facto explanation. If clutchiness can only be identified after the fact, chances are you're attaching meaning to patterns that are not necessarily real patterns.
What are your thoughts on players being "hot" or "cold?" Is it simply a pattern that is based on random chance?


Hockey tends to have a lot of additional variables when it comes to taking a shot on net for a goal, so I'll use basketball since the shot is more isolated.

Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points one game, and in doing so he ended up shooting an uncharacteristic 28/32 from the free throw line. He was roughly a 50% free throw shooter (using 50% for simplicity), and it we're just using a random variable to determine the likelihood of him going 28/32 from the free throw line, then the odds of him doing that are about 0.000837% (underestimate since his FT% over his career was 51.1%)

The thing is, broken down purely by physics, if someone shoots a free throw and makes it, biomechanically if they do the exact same thing they'll always make the free throw. Is there no physiological difference that could cause a player to behave in a more biomechanically consistent way when performing physical activity. (This is ignoring psychological factors that may be at play as well).


Obviously no player is going to be perfectly consistent in how they perform an action every single time, and other factors such as fatigue and especially defenses will also affect their ability to be consistent.


It's not something that appears to be particularly measurable, and very likely not something that can be easily predicted, but at this point I'm not keen on outright dismissing it. Sam Gagner's 8 point night is likely something he'll never do again and the odds that he ever accomplish it in his career were already quite low, but are there personal factors from within him that may have tipped the scales rather than pure random variation?

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