If you aren't into statistics, this post probably isn't for you.
I view basketball as a game of 3 phases - offense, defense, and rebounding. Today, I had some extra time, and decided to try and translate that view of basketball into some clean-looking statistics. I've come up with 2 statistical measures of my own creation. I'm calling them "Points Created" and "NOSE." I'll explain below.
Now, there are two types of basketball stats - those that are driven by productivity (e.g. points per game), and those that are driven by efficiency (e.g. points per possession). Lately, the trend has been towards the latter, so I decided to buck the trend and go for the former. All of these stats are based on production per 36 minutes. I like this measure, as it approximates starters minutes for a good player.
We already have Points / 36 minutes and Assists / 36 minutes, courtesy of basketball-reference.com, but I wanted to be able to measure players based on their ability to CREATE offense, not just catch passes under the hoop and make wide-open stuffs.
To do this, I pulled in another stat available on hoopdata.com, abbreviated as %AST, which gives the % of shots for a given player which were the result of another players assist. In other words, they didn't create the shot - they just finished it. Then, with a little multiplication and subtraction, I split the point totals into two categories - assisted and un-assisted.
Next, I assigned a value of 2 points to every assist a player made. Finally, I added each players un-assisted points to this total, to create a statistic showing points created by that player. I define my new statistic, Points Created, thusly:
CREATED = [PTS - (PTS * %AST)] + (2 * AST)
Without further ado, here are your 2012 Phoenix Suns, by this measurement. Keep in mind these numbers are per 36 minutes, so they project totals as if all players had the same number of minutes.
No surprise, Steve on top by a huge margin here, and the other 2 point guards 2nd and 3rd, trailing by a wide margin. I was a little surprised by how poorly Marcin scores in my metric, but on second thought, that also seems to pass the eyeball test - most of his points come off of feeds by Steve.
Also, I didn't just do this for the Suns, I did it for all NBA players. Not surprising, Steve Nash is still on top of the list. Here's a top 20:
I restricted the listing to players who've played more than 300 minutes. I was a little surprised by the rookies Rubio and Irving making the list, as well as that guy sitting at #2 on the list.
What I'd like to do here is to take a measurement of PTS Against and AST Against, and compare it to an average of averages for opposing players at the named position, netting out to show either that a player is allowing more or less productivity than their opposition's average.
Only problem is, I can't find anywhere out there in internet land where I can find any sort of PTS against or AST against for individual players or positions. Defensive statistics appear to be strictly a TEAM-only affair, at this point. NBA.com has a neat feature that allows you to get player versus player head to head stats, but that's the closest I could come, and like everything at NBA.com, it's all graphics and moving parts, and will take forever to get any real information out of. If you know where such stats might be kept, let me know. I'd like to do this section properly.
Change of Possession
This originally started out as "rebounding," the 3rd phase of the game, but I expanded it to include all the counting stats that enumerate a change in possession. I define the statistic thusly:
NOSE = REB + STL + CHG - TO - (FGA - FGM)
Essentially, then, this stat adds up all the times that a player gains possession of the ball for his team (REB, STL, CHG), and deducts from it all the times he lost possession of the ball for his team (TO, Missed Shot). The difference represents a snapshot of whether a player is adding or subtracting from the number of possessions his team has to work with, and shows the extent to which he makes that happen.
Why call it NOSE? It's short for "Nose for the Ball," which I think sums up this statistic perfectly. Also, it let's me say fun things, like, "Marcin Gortat has the biggest NOSE on the Phoenix Suns:"
Higher numbers are better, but a negative NOSE is nothing to be ashamed of, as the mean for this statistic would actually be in negative numbers (about -2). For instance, Jared Dudley's -0.7 is actually above average for his position, showing that he has a 'nose for the ball.'
NOSE appears to vary inversely with CREATE - the more one creates offense, the more likely they are to rack up the missed shots and turnovers, thus ending up with a smaller NOSE.
Following is a top 20 for the league:
Lastly, NOSE should not be confused for a defensive statistic. It strictly measures how many "extra" possessions a player gives his team (or uses up in futility).
Hope you enjoyed this. I had fun putting it together.