Article-of-the-Month: Newer  Player  &  Team Evaluation  Tools— An In-Depth Analysis of Old, New and Even Newer Stats

Newer  Player  &  Team Evaluation  Tools—

An In-Depth Analysis of Old, New and Even Newer Stats

By Coach John Kimble


Besides using the “Eye Test” to evaluation individual players’ game (and practice) performances as well as both team’s  overall performances,  to analyzing the overall specific team offenses and defenses; statistics and data have to be kept.  As important as many traditional statistics remain, there are many other more modern evaluating tools that can objectively compare and analyze performances.  Ratios and frequencies can  easily be gleaned from various combinations of the long-established stats.

The following partial list of statistics are taken from a hypothetical game that your basketball Team A won 68 – 49.  What factors contributed to Team A’s win, but what other stats could be conceived somewhat of a negative to Team A—stats that tell you some phases of the game need to be corrected? What stats tell you that and what phases need to be worked on?  Let’s analyze the stats and come up with some conclusions from the eyes of the winning team’s coaching staffs.


The first major observance would be the “Points per Possession” (PPP) or sometimes called the “Offensive Efficiency Rating” (OER) of both teams.  This vital statistic evaluates the overall offensive and defensive performance of both teams.  Team A scored 68 points in their 68 possessions of the game or their PpP or OER was 1.00 while Team B’s PpP was .742 (49 pts out of their 66 possessions of the ball.)     That calls for closer scrutiny of Team A’s offensive statistics.  Offensively, coaches should look first for reasons for a low “PPP.”  Most likely, the reasons are either because of poor shooting percentage(s) in field goals and/or free throws.  Staffs should not only look also at the number of turnovers but the “Turnover Frequency”  (overall offensive turnovers divided by the total possessions of that  team.  Total Turnovers is a stat that can be misleading in that it doesn’t take into account the style and tempo that the offensive team employs.  An offensive team that pushes the ball quickly in an up-tempo style of play generally will have more possessions in a game.  The more possessions in a game, the more likely that more points will be scored as well as more turnovers may be committed.  “Turnover Frequency” measures teams’ ball-handling skills and abilities on a level playing ground, regardless of whether that offensive team plays an up-tempo style or more of a slow-down tempo style.


Team A out-shot Team B in overall field goal percentage convincingly, so that should be a concern for Team B and therefore studied more closely by Team B’s staff.  Team B’s poor  field goal shooting percentage could be attributed to the numbers of types of shots taken and the “Component Frequencies.”  22.6 % of all shots for Team B were “Inside Shots” (shots that were taken inside the free throw lane) and that specific shooting percentage was not extremely high (41.7%)  Team B’s “3-Point Shot Component Frequency” was the most frequently taken shot and that actual shooting percentage was the lowest of all three types of shots (31.8 %).  The “Outside Shot Component Frequency” was 35.8 % while the accuracy was only 36.8%.  (Outside Shots are defined as any shots outside of the free throw lane but inside the three point line.)  An overall analysis for Team B would be to  work on all three types of shooting in practice and also maybe discuss better shot selection.  Compared to losing Team B’s “Shot Analysis,” the winning Team A  shot the ball much better “in the paint” as well as “behind the arc.”  Team A’s worst type of shot was also the shot that was used the least ( 22. 9% of all shots were “Outside Shots.”)  This should conclude that  Team A won the game because of better shot selection and better overall shooting accuracy.   Team A played to their shooting strength(s) and tried to avoid their shooting weakness (the mid-range outside shot).


As far as turnovers, the discrepancy between “A’s” 10 turnovers and “B’s” 12 turnovers could slightly be attributed to a possible more up-beat tempo (by studying and comparing both teams’ overall possessions for the game—68 and 66 possessions respectively.  Team A’s “TO Frequency of 14.7% compared to Team B’s 18.2% is not a drastic advantage for Team A, but still an advantage for Team A.  Team A should have had (slightly) more turnovers than Team B because of (slightly) more team possessions so neither team really gained an advantage because of “Turnover Frequency.”


The “Free Throw” phase of the game for Team B suffered greatly and also made a difference in the outcome of the game.  Team B’s 33.3% was terrible and by missing the front end of the  two “1 & 1’s,” they not only lost those 2 points but also the chance for two other free throw attempts.  Team A’s 68.2 % FT Percentage compared to Team B’s 33.3 % not only was more than twice as good, but allowed Team A to outscore Team B from the FT line 15 points to 4.  If Team B doesn’t address the poor Free Throw shooting problem and instead complains about the “12 to 22 FT Attempt” discrepancy, they should examine the number of “FT Trips” for each team—not the number of Free Throws taken by each team.  Again, when a team misses the front end of a “1 & 1,” they are surrendering the opportunity to shoot a second free throw.  10  to 6 in “Free Throw Trips” is not a huge discrepancy for Team B to complain about.  This statistic may also indicate that Team A is more aggressive offensively by attacking the defense via of the dribble or by going inside more than Team B.  This is proven by the discrepancy that Team A enjoys in overall “Inside Passes” (27-15),  overall “Inside Shots” (21-12) and possibly in “Assists” (16-12.)  This may also indicate that Team B is a poorer “on the ball” and/or “post defensive team” than Team A is.  The small discrepancy in the number of free throw trips could also have taken place with Team A having a lead late in the game that forced Team B to foul late in the game.


A team loses possession of the ball by missed shots and turnovers while it can gain possession of the ball by “defensive rebounds,” “defensive forced turnovers,” or after “made” baskets.  Therefore, these factors should be measured.  “Defensive Forced Turnovers” is a defensive stat that tells how many times a defensive team has forced the opposition into a turnover.  It is somewhat subjective because each opponent’s turnover must be evaluated as to whether the offense made a mistake or the defensive team caused the offensive team to make a mistake.  “Defensive Forced Turnover Frequency” equally measures how much pressure each defensive team places on the opponent compared with total possessions during that game.  This combination prevents the skewing of  the “Forced Turnover” statistic.  In this case, Team A had 8 “Defensive Forced Turnovers” compared to Team B’s 4 “Defensive Forced Turnovers.”  But because of the number of possessions that both teams had (Team A had 68 and Team B had 66), the actual frequencies indicate that Team A did slightly surpassed the “2 to 1” advantage it had over Team B in “Forced Turnovers.”  Team A had 66 opportunities to obtain the 8 actual “Defensive Forced Turnovers” it created versus  the 68 opportunities that Team B had to grab the actual 4 defensive turnovers.  Team B may want to also work offensively on taking care of the ball and conversely working on more of a defensive pressure effort.


Under the same line of thinking, as important as certain stats are; the frequency of that particular statistic is more revealing than the base statistic.  Another two examples are defensive and offensive rebounding in correlation to the number of opportunities each team has for those rebounds.  “Defensive Rebounding Frequencies” and “Offensive Rebounding Frequencies” give a coaching staff a truer picture and a better measuring tool to evaluate this important phase of the game.  In this game, Team A had an advantage in “Total Defensive Rebounds” because Team B had more missed field goals and free throws that have a chance to be (defensively) rebounded.  Team A had 38 chances to obtain its 27 defensive rebounds.  Team B had 29 chances to grab the 21 defensive rebounds it secured.  Team B’s “Defensive Rebound Frequency” is actually slightly  higher at 72.4 % than Team A’s frequency of  71.1%.    The “Offensive Rebound Frequency” statistic gives a coaching staff a much more reliable evaluation tool than the traditional “Total Offensive Rebounds” statistic (for the same reasons as the “Defensive Rebound Frequency” statistic).


All players want more playing time and are always told they will get more time when they deserve it by showing good performances both in practices and in games.   Sometimes subs might actually deserve more playing time by evaluating their smaller sample of at least some important statistics.  One basic statistic that is required to have a  fair statistic analysis for every player is “Total Minutes Player.”  Hypothetically shouldn’t a starting  player or any player that plays twice as many minutes as Player F then score twice as many points, secures twice as many rebounds or twice as many other positive stats as Player F?  When every player receives an Offensive Grade, a Defensive Grade as well as the Overall Player Performance Grade; those three important grades can all be maximized to become an even truer tool to evaluate individual player performances with every player being on a level playing ground.

The Offensive and Defensive Grades can be accumulated by awarding a positive and negative value for all the traditional statistics that are kept.  The number of points for each stat can be assigned a value based on the coaching staff’s philosophy.  Any or all of these rewards/awards should be motivational tools for every player to excel in his/her overall game.  When players see that Offensive and Defensive Grades are considerably more important than being the leading scorer and that the Offensive Leader can very well be someone other than the leading scorer; selfish play can become non-existent.

Sometimes a particular player does not appear to have obvious or outstanding contributions for his performance by using the standard game stats, but it just seems that every time that player is in the game; good things happen for his team.  Trying to make this somewhat subjective evaluation an objective appraisal can be done by simply keeping track of when players enter and/or exit the games by monitoring the score and the actual time on the clock.    How does each individual player affect the overall team’s offensive and defensive production?  This can be shown in the Offensive and Defensive Scoring Margins.  When those two are combined, the stat can then be titled the “Total Contribution Margin.”   For instance, Duane Wade of Team A could come in the second quarter of the game with 6:12 on the clock and with his Team A leading 20 to 19.  When Duane went to the bench with 3:42  in the same quarter, his team was then leading 29 to 21.  This small amount of data gives the player an example of his three various “margins per minute” now discussed.

Duane’s  “Offensive Scoring Margin per Minute” for just this part of the game would be the nine points his team scored in the 2 ½ minutes of his specific playing time.  This means that Duane’s team averaged 3.6 points per minute (9 pts divided by 2.5 minutes) in this specific part of the game.

In that same time span, Team A gave up only 2 points in the same 2 ½ minutes of this game.  This makes the “Defensive Scoring Margin per Minute” for Duane a rating of .8 points allowed per minute played (2 pts divided by 2.5 minutes).

When Duane started his 2 ½ minute segment of the game, his team was ahead by just one point.  When he came out of the game, his team was now ahead of the game by a total of eight points.  This increase in the lead was a total of seven points over the course of this specific 2 ½ minutes.  This equates to a  “+ 2.8 points per minute”  (7 points divided by 2.5 minutes) of this segment of the game.

Every player’s “Offensive, Defensive and Total Contribution per Minute” stats can then be calculated and then multiplied by 32 (32 minutes per game) to give a hypothetical number that would state what each players’ hypothetically would have done if each player  would have played every second of this particular game.   Every segment of every player would have these three “margins per minute” accumulated to have three final statistics that can help tell how every player had contributed as a team member.  Hypothetically on paper, Team A would have scored 115.2 points in the game, while allowing only 25.6 points to win by a huge margin of 89.6 points.  Regardless of what the old fashioned statistics say of Duane’s performance, he was a part of that overall team contribution.  As detailed as stats can be, some things cannot be measured on players’ individual performances.   These unique stats can help a coaching staff evaluate individual and overall team performances.


Total Minutes Played

Offensive Grade per Minute (OG/Min)

Defensive Grade per Minute (DG/Min)

Offensive Grade per Projected Full Game (OG/Min X 32)

Defensive Grade per Projected Full Game (OG/Min X 32)

Offensive Scoring Margin per Minute  (OSM/Min.)

Defensive Scoring Margin per Minute  (DSM/Min.)

Total Contribution Margin per Minute  (TCM/Min.)

Offensive Scoring Margin per Projected Full Game  (OSM/Min  X  32)

Defensive Scoring Margin per Projected Full Game  (DSM/Min  X  32)

Total Contribution Margin per Projected Full Game  (TCM/Min  X  32)




68 Points Scored 49
68 Total Possessions 66
68/68 = 1.000 Points per Possession 49/66 = .742



23/48 = 47.9 % All Field Goals  (Made-Attempted-%) 19/53 = 35.8%
12/21 = 57.1 % Inside Shots  (Made-Attempted-%) 05/12 = 41.7 %
04/11 = 36.3 % Outside Shots  (Made-Attempted-%) 07/19 = 36.8 %
07/16 = 43.8 % 3 Point Shots  (Made-Attempted-%) 07/22 = 31.8 %
11/27 = 40.7 % Perimeter Shots  (Made-Attempted-%) 14/41 = 34.1 %
21/48 = 43.8 % Inside Shot Component Frequency 12/53 = 22.6 %
11/48 = 22.9 % Outside Shot Component Frequency 19/53 = 35.8 %
16/48 = 33.3 % 3 Point Shot Component Frequency 22/53 = 41.5 %
27/48 = 56.2 % Perimeter Shot Component Frequency 41/53 = 77.4 %
15/22 = 68.2 % All Free Throws  (Made-Attempted-%) 04/12 = 33.3 %
10 Total Team Free Throw “Trips” 6
4 Live Free Throw “Misses”

**(See FT Stats below)**

1 Made both FTs 0
2 Split “1 & 1’s”  Made 1st-Missed 2nd 1
0 “Blown  1 & 1’s”  Missed 1st FT-No 2nd FT 2
4 Live Free Throw “Misses”

**(See FT Stats below)**

48 – 23 = 25 Total Field Goals Missed = (FG Att. – FG Made) 53 – 19 = 34
6 Total Offensive Rebounds 11
2/3 = 66.7 % 2nd Shot “Stick-backs” = (Made-Attempted-%) 1/4 = 25.0 %
6/29 = 20.7 % All Offensive Rebound Frequency =  

(Total Off. Reb/Your Team’s FG Misses + Your Team’s ‘Live’ FT Misses)

11/38 = 28.9 %
1 /4  = 25% FT Offensive Rebound Frequency =

 (FT Off. Reb/Your Team’s ‘Live’  FT Misses)

2/4 = 50%
27 Total Defensive Rebounds 21
27/38 = 71.1 % All Defensive Rebound Frequency =

(Total Def. Rebs /Opponent’s  FG Misses + Opponent’s ‘Live’ FT Misses)

21/29 = 72.4 %
27 Inside Passes Made 15
16 Assists 12
3 The Extra Pass Made 1
10 Total Turnovers 12
27/10 = 2.7 Inside Pass/TO Ratio 15/12 = 1.25
16/10 = 1.6 Assists/TO Ratio 12/12 = 1.0
48/68 = 70.6% Total FG Shots Attempted Frequency =

(Total FG Shots Attempted /Total Possession

53/66 = 80.3 %
10/68  = 14.7% FT Trips Frequency =

 (FT Trips/Total Possessions)

6/66 = 9.1  %
  Starter’s Total Number of Minutes Played  
  Starter’s Total Number of Points Scored  
  Starter’s Total Number of  All Rebounds  
  Starter’s Total Number of TO’s Committed  
  Starter’s Overall Offensive Grades  
  Starter’s Overall Defensive Grades  
  Starter’s Overall Game Perfomrance Grades  
  Sub’s Total Number of Minutes Played  
  Sub’s Total Number of Points Scored  
  Sub’s Total Number of  All Rebounds  
  Sub’s Total Number of TO’s Committed  
  Sub’s Overall Offensive Grades  
  Sub’s Overall Defensive Grades  
  Sub’s Overall Game Perfomrance Grades  
6 Off Reb plus 27 Def Reb less 10 TOs = 23 Total Possession Discrepancy

(Difference in Numbers of Off. & Def. Rebounds and Total Turnovers)

12 Off Reb plus 21 Def Reb less 12 TOs = 21
10/68 = 14.7% Turnover Frequency = (TOs/Total Possessions) 12/66 = 18.2 %
8 Defensive Forced Turnovers 4
8/68 = 11.8 % Defensive Forced Turnovers Frequency =         (Def Forced T0s/“Their Possessions” 4/66 = 6.0 %


TEAM  “A”   FT  Stats       (*) = for a total of 4 “Live” FT Misses
3 Shot FTs

and/or Double Bonus FTs

2 Shot FTs Bonus FTs Tech FTs TOTAL



 X + O  X  X  +  (*LM*) X + (*LM*)  X + O 10
 X + X + (*LM*) X + X X + (*LM*)
O + X X + X
 X + X


**TEAM  “B”   FT Stats     (*) = for a total of 4 “Live” FT Misses
3 Shot FTs

and/or Double Bonus FTs

2 Shot FTs Bonus FTs Tech FTs TOTAL



 X + O + (*LM*) O + X (*LM*) 6
 O + X (*LM*)
X + (*LM*)


Taking the time to keep these unique statistics and then spending time and energy in evaluating them can not only give a coaching staff a clearer measuring stick for each player’s individual and overall team performance for each game, but might help players understand their value, clearer reasons for their actual playing time which could help improve team chemistry and therefore the overall team’s performance.  These statistics are well worth the effort.





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