NBA Scoring Volatility: How Do Gortat And Nash Stack Up Against The Best

There's a lot of ways to "count" and use "mathematical tricks" to create "statistics" that measure the relative performance of various players. We count their points to determine scoring leaders. We average their shooting rates to determine efficiency. We use regression analysis to measure the correlation between shoe size and points per possession to calculate their Podiatric Efficiency Determinant (PED).

OK, I made the last one up but come on, how awesome would that stat be!

PEDs aside, SB Nation's NBA National Editor Tom Ziller put his big brain to the task and came up with another way to look our our NBA heroes. He measured scoring volatility to demonstrate consistency:

On Volatility Among The NBA's Top Scorers: How Valuable Is LeBron James' Consistency? -
I borrowed a trick from finance: I took the standard deviations of the players' game-by-game scoring totals and divided by their scoring average. This gives us a volatility rating

Ziller used his newest number trick to compare the NBA's top ten scorers and come up with a chart (of course) that has Carmelo Anthony on one end with a 44% volatility rating and LeBron James on the other end with a 20.8%.

In this case, the lower number is better because that means a player is giving a more consistent and predictable scoring result.

Would you rather have Melo, who has big games some nights and games with just one point? Or LeBron, who's going to give you a steady number each night?

Or, would you rather have Josh Childress, who will sit on the bench and not play at all for eight games and then come in and give you four points? Obviously, you would rather have Josh since that's the most consistent result with the least amount of volatility.

So how do the Suns scoring stars compare to the league's best?

Read on and your question that I just inserted into your mind using mind tricks and dream manipulation will be answered...

Marcin Gorat 2012: 38.2%

Marcin Gorat 2011 (w/ the Suns): 43.2%

Steve Nash 2012: 48.7%

Steve Nash 2011: 42.2%

And now some homework for you...Answer these questions in essay form in the comments below.

  • How do you think Gortat and Nash compare with their peers?
  • Why do you think Nash's volatility this year is so much higher than last year?
  • What did you think of the ending of the movie Inception?

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