Basketball STATS: Do they always tell the truth?

In Basketball Skills
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The correct answer is somewhere in the middle

When talking about Basketball STATS, there is a certain war arising between two sides of the argument: objectively use numbers but ignore a feel for the game, or use opinions based on the naked eye and discourage the use of statistics? As it turns out, the correct answer is somewhere in the middle, especially for basketball. Numbers are great because they give you an objective opinion, but they also only paint a small picture and rarely can explain all the events leading up to a certain outcome. 

Current metrics can be improved

Basketball stats certainly have come a long way. Teams use pace-adjusted statistics, plus-minus data, assist rates, etc.  In addition, they have complete player metrics such as Composite Score, PER, Wins Produced, Offensive and Defensive Ratings, WARP and a multitude of others.  Even defensive stats, considered the most unreliable data out there, have gradually evolved up to a considerable extent.

But where do teams go from here?  Obviously, the current metrics can be improved, and new discoveries will be made when it comes to connecting the two sides of the “war”. A lot of basketball stats are meaningless unless they are linked with another statistic. Therefore, they will one day be able to measure the contributions of the players that do the little things that help teams win games (Read also: 3 Reasons to track your Basketball STATS this season).

3 Reasons to add your stats - Athlenda

Where to focus

Stats will be able to measure intricate levels of detail used to make coaching decisions. In addition to that, they will improve in the area of measuring interactions between different styles of players. Teams will be able to figure out what skills they’re lacking, and advanced stats will be able to tell them where to look for those skills.

Speaking of advanced stats, there are a few alterations in the main statistic categories that could help you get a clearer view of the performance on the court:

At first, let’s take points as an example and volume shooters that tend to shoot the ball constantly during the game. These players and especially those who do score, create double-teams and triple-teams, meaning that there are open players somewhere else. The trick is finding the balance between scoring and passing. Therefore, volume shooting can actually mean a more efficient offense. It’s not just points a player scores that are important but the attention he commands in scoring them.

Continuing with rebounds, a statistic that might be helpful is “Deferred Rebounds” or a count of rebounds a player could have had but deferred to a teammate who also had good position.

Moreover, there is the kick assist, where the player breaks down a defense and kicks the ball to a player that was made open by the passer’s drive. In such a case it is the ball-handler and passer who created the shot. The shooter merely had to stand around and shoot when the ball arrived.

Steals can be at the same time the best and most dangerous defensive play in basketball. It can be the best because it can lead to transition points, easily the most efficient offense in the game. On the other hand, if you miss on the steal attempt it can expose your team to points scored by the other team.

Finally, blocks that do matter are the ones resulting in change of possession.

Read Basketball STATS in the “right” way

The truth is that stats tell us exactly what they are designed to tell us, nothing more and nothing less. That doesn’t mean they are wrong. It just means they are incomplete and maybe hide info about a player’s performance. The problem isn’t what they do tell us; it’s what they don’t tell us. It’s not the stats that do exist; it’s the stats that don’t exist.

But why do you have to keep track of your statistics? Because stats do not only help players improve, but also coaches. They definitely give the motive to do better. Check the progress of them and see if there was an improvement in any of the fields. Then, work on the corresponding fields in practice and be aware in live games! Overall, statistics are not answers. They are meant for you to look for answers. They will help you if you ‘read’ them in the right way!


Start tracking your own STATS with ATHLENDA APP and show your talent!


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