Simple Explanations for Advanced Basketball Metrics


Measures a players per-minute productivity by taking into account offensive and defensive contributions, and then adjusting for pace and playing time. Basically, PER is a single number that is supposed to encompass a players total value.

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Estimates the number of team wins that one player is responsible for.

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Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) takes Box Plus/Minus and adjusts it to measure a players value relative to a replacement player. The end statistic is the number of points the player is producing over a replacement player, per 100 TEAM possessions.

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Not to be confused with basic plus/minus. Here’s the creator explaining it: "Box Plus/Minus (BPM) is a box score-based metric for evaluating basketball players' quality and contribution to the team. Set at a baseline of 0.0, you can see how many points, better or worse than average, a player is per 100 possessions."

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Similar to basic plus-minus in theory, but better because it attempts to isolate the effect of each player regardless of who else is on the court while they are playing. From ESPN: "this metric isolates the unique plus-minus impact of each NBA player by adjusting for the effects of each teammate and opposing player. The RPM model sifts through more than 230,000 possessions each NBA season to tease apart the "real" plus-minus effects attributable to each player."

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This metric has a college-stats-level formula but is intended to measure a players value compared to a “replacement” player. You can read about it here. This stat aims to measure how much better a player is compared to a player on a minimum salary (i.e. not a rotation player).

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Effective Field-Goal Percentage. Formula: (FG+0.5*3P)/FGA. eFG% fixes regular FG% to take into account that three-pointers are worth more than two-pointers. Example: Player A makes 5/10 layups and player B makes 5/10 three pointers. Player A and B both have 50% FG% but Player A has 50% eFG% while Player B has 75% eFG%.

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True Shooting Percentage. A measure of a players shooting percentage/accuracy that takes into account two-pointers, three-pointers, and free throws. This is a pretty useful and uncontroversial advanced stat.

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Usage Rate. Measures the percentage of a team’s plays that end with a specific player shooting, getting fouled, or turning it over. If you see this stat, just think of Russell Westbrook.

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Assist Percentage. Like assists, only better. Assist percentage adjusts assists for playing time and pace, allowing you to more accurately compare playmaking ability. Unlike assists, however, this stat doesn't give you a discreet number of made shots assisted by a player.

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Steal Percentage. Like steals, only better (adjusted for pace and playing time).

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Block Percentage. Again, like blocks, only better (due to adjustments for pace and playing time).

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Turnover Percentage. Like turnovers, but adjusted for pace and playing time. This value indicates the percent of plays a player makes that result in turnovers.

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Offensive Rebound Percentage. The percentage of all total offensive rebounds that a player grabs while he's on the court.

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Defensive Rebound Percentage. The percentage of all total defensive rebounds that a player grabs while he's on the court.

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Offensive Rating. The total points produced by a player per 100 possessions. Useful because it allows comparing players across pace and number of possessions.

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Defensive Rating. Total points allowed by a player per 100 possessions. (Lower is obviously better).

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The most advanced of all advanced stats: 27 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists. Note: A true 'Lebron' is exactly 27,7,and 7. However, these are very rare so the table below reflects performances of 27-7-7 and greater.

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