What does it take to be clutch in the NBA? For the most part, reputation, word of mouth and anecdotal evidence of clutch moments tend to be barometers of this type of success.
But as Henry Abbott wrote for ESPN back in 2011, Kobe Bryant’s reputation as a clutch scorer is largely overblown, and more a product of Bryant’s unmatched ability to hoist shots in game-tying or game-winning situations regardless of the defense in front of him.
Instead of creating a list based off reputation, PointAfter, a sports data visualization site that’s part of Graphiq, used NBA.com’s statistical database to find out which scorers performed best under pressure throughout the 2015-16 season.
To do so, we sorted by clutch stats (defined as any moment wherein teams were separated by five points or fewer in the final five minutes of play), then focused only on situations in the fourth quarter. From there, we filtered such that only players who attempted at least 30 clutch field goals made the list, and then ranked them by their true shooting percentage (a combination of field goal percentage, three-point percentage and free throw percentage — thus accounting for all ways to score in crunch time).
In the event of a tie, the player who attempted more field goals was ranked higher.
Here are players who truly had ice in their veins throughout the 2015-16 season.