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Re: [APBR_analysis] Plus/Minus

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  • NYFan@aol.com
    I personally agree with your philosophy on the +/- being a useless stat. But I disagree on assist/turnover. What you have yet to find is how to interpet that
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 14, 2001
      I personally agree with your philosophy on the +/- being a useless stat. But
      I disagree on assist/turnover. What you have yet to find is how to interpet
      that stat. The A/T ratio tells you different things depending on how you use,
      and who you use it on. To say that Horace Grant had the highest A/T ratio, I
      would say this. Grant being a forward (and not one that commands the ball) is
      probably one of the best players when it comes to not making stupid mistakes
      with the ball. How can I say this? Well, being that he doesn't have the ball
      a ton the fact that he is able to accumulate more assists, than TOs means
      that he is able to make the smart pass more often than an ill-advised pass,
      or a drive where he has no lane. If you factor in FG% this would give you a
      great idea of how efficient he is offensively; creating offense vs. turning
      the ball over. Ok, so that's one way to interpret it for a forward who
      doesn't touch the ball much.

      If you used it on point guards for instance, the use for this stat would be
      vastly different. First of all, it would show whether or not he makes poor
      decisions. Regardless, turnovers translate into bad decisions, about 99% of
      the time. Secondly, it will tell you how much he gets his teammates involved
      (assists). Believing in assists as a statistic is crucial to beliving in A/T.
      So, based on those two statements, it tells you the ratio of him getting his
      teammates involved, to making poor decisions. In my opinion, those are the
      two biggest factors in deciding whether you have a good point guard, or a bad
      one. I don't care how much he scores, if he's doing too much as to make too
      many poor decisions, that it's hurting his ability to get his teammates
      involved, then he's doing a bad job.

      As for Shawn Bradley, he's surrounded by an extremely talented frontcourt.
      Nowitzki, Finley, Laettner, create an extremely talented frontcourt. Not only
      offensively but defensively. Steve Nash and Eisley are also extremely
      talented. My point being that Bradley is an excellent role player, but a role
      player is only as good as the importance of his role. The Mavs with Christian
      and Dirk don't need size (they are both over 6' 10"), and despite their more
      perimeter orientated games, cause most teams problems driving (the main
      influence of a shot blocker). Plus, the offense, and overall skill they lose
      by putting in Bradley is not enough to make his role more valuable. Don't get
      me wrong, I respect Bradley as a legit center, but his role on this team is
      better as it is defined now, than it would be to play him big minutes.


      it is this man's opinion that the +/- ratio, especially in basketball, is
      all intent and purposes a useless statistic. there has been a yearning by
      many people over the past few decades to come up with "new" and better
      numbers based on statistics for evaluating players, unfortunately for some
      reason those same people search for new statistics that are "easy" to
      understand and calculate, and then try to affix importance to them...

      take the +/- ratio, or the difference in the number of points scored by a
      player's team versus the points scored by that team's opponents while that
      particular player is in the game. here you are attempting to evaluate an
      individual player's performance, but based on a team concept number. right
      there the bias and error are obviously inherent. and unlike hockey,
      basketball is a game where the majority of good players play upwards of
      75%-85% of each and every game, consequently the players playing the most
      minutes on the teams with the best W-L records will have the best +/-
      and the players playing the most minutes on the worst teams the worst +/-
      ratios, more so even than in hockey. in basketball you will never see an
      obviously great player who plays on a bad team with a high +/- ratio, nor
      obviously poor (or one dimensional) player on a great team with a low +/-
      number, so just what does the number tell you?...

      if a bench player happens to have a great +/- number on a team where the
      regulars do not, again what does it mean? as a bench player that sub is
      obviously playing in the 2nd and late 3rd to early 4th quarters, playing
      of the time not against the opponents best players, but against the
      subs. so again what good is that +/- number if it is not achieved against
      opponents regulars?...

      last year in the NHL 7 of the 8 players with the worst +/- numbers played
      the team with the worst W-L record in the league. 6 of the 9 players with
      best +/- numbers played for the two teams with the best W-L records in the
      league. since hockey players don't play anywhere near the whole game, you
      might expect a few, even just one or two, players from bad teams with great
      +/- numbers, and maybe one or two players from good teams with really poor
      +/- numbers, but you don't. kind of reminds you of the infamous GWRBI (game
      winning run batted in) in baseball...

      another "number" that has gained alot of prominence over the past decades
      basketball but means little is the AST/TO ratio (assist to turnover ratio).
      it's quoted alot, is easy to figure out (surprise), but just what does it
      really tell you? just what is a high AST/TO ratio supposed to mean? is it
      supposed to tell you a player is a good passer (as i've often heard), or
      protects the ball well? what does comparing two different players' AST/TO
      ratios tell you?...

      again - nothing. last year in the 1999-2000 NBA season PF/C horace grant of
      the sonics had a better AST/TO ratio than point guards david wesley, sam
      cassell, and everybody's main man at the point jason kidd. so what is this
      telling you about horace grant? his TOs per minute are very low because he
      doesn't handle the ball much on offense, and he's certainly not as good a
      passer as those aforementioned point guards. i even heard that tim hardaway
      of the miami heat had a clause in his contract that he got a huge bonus at
      year's end if his AST/TO ratio was 3 or better. ut in reality this number
      means next to nothing...

      an assist occurs when a player passes the ball to a teammate who then
      and scores (thats the technical definition). however a turnover can occur
      whenever a player has the ball, not simply when he is passing it. i fail to
      see a direct correlation. following this logic i'm surprised players don't
      get bonuses for high ST/PF ratios, the assumption being if a player goes
      a steal but doesn't get it he's likely to commit a foul. its obvious the
      reason AST/TO ratio is quoted so often is because its easy to calculate,
      +/- ratio number because its easy to understand...

      on the subject of shawn bradley - he, in my opinion, has never been a poor
      player. on the contrary, he has been just the opposite - quite good
      throughout his career. what he has been, however, was/is misused, and if
      played regularly, can be a defensive "stud". centers like jim mcilvaine and
      stanley roberts, who got big contracts based on little previous
      were washouts, along with the likes of the chris washburns of the world.
      shawn bradley, if used correctly, could easily be a defensive force. is he
      worth the contract he has? probably not (who is?). but is he a damn good
      player when used right? - absolutely....

      mark eaton played with the utah jazz as a starting center playing major
      minutes from the mid to late 1980s. he was a one dimensional player, who
      played defense, blocked shots, and rebounded. he gave the jazz exactly what
      they needed - what the team wasn't getting from other starters, and he did
      not attempt to add scoring or passing - he rarely handled the ball on
      offense. he blocked 300+ shots in a season six times and 200+ shots nine
      times. he averaged 10 reb/g only twice in nine seasons, and never averaged
      pts/g or more in a season, yet he was the team's starting center all that
      time because he was a defensive force....

      shawn bradley's rebounding and shot blocking numbers on a per minute basis
      are very, very similar to eaton's, and he commits fouls at just about the
      same rate as eaton did. so why doesn't he play as often? you got me - i
      know, because he certainly should be playing more often - and especially
      on a team like dallas where he doesn't need to score (finley/nowitzki/nash)
      or pass (nash/finley/nowitzki), nor handle the ball much on offense. its
      like the mavs have a player of equal or near equal ability to play in front
      of him at center....

      what most people in the NBA fail to realize is that a great shot blocker is
      much more important to a team than a great rebounder. the simple reason is
      that a great rebounder does not reduce the opponents FG%, simply their
      of field goal attempts. but a great shot blocker does in fact decrease the
      opponents FG% with their shot blocking, not to mention all the shots that
      miss their mark as players shoot but try not to get their shots blocked.
      are how eaton's and bradley's numbers compare for their career:
                       reb/min      bs/min      pf/min        
      eaton           .276            .122         .117
      bradley         .271            .114         .124

      right now shawn bradley is a better rebounder and shot blocker than theo
      ratliff, but for some strange reason doesn't play as often (larry brown
      what he has, but the nelsons do not - but then these are the same people
      drafted high schooler leon somebody-or-other and a 7'4" chinese fellow that
      may never play in the NBA). he does foul more often than ratliff, but any
      coach worth his salt would play bradley 36-40 min/g even if he commits 4,
      or 6 fouls each and every game - his positives far outweigh his negatives.
      bradley over his career has blocked 7% of all shots taken by the opposition
      while he has played, while no other center over than same stretch of 6-7
      years has come even close to that (the best are at 4%-5%)....

      and while i don't particularily espouse the statistic called the
      rating (TENDEX, production rating, other various names =
      pts+reb+ast+st+bs-FGmissed-FTmissed-to-pf), its still a good all purpose
      general single number rating, and bradley over the past 4 years in dallas
      4 of the top 10 end of the year performance ratings per minute of all mavs
      players, but continues to play few minutes...

      bob chaikin

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