Part 3 of the Thinking Basketball stats series dives into the problem with NBA stats and the limitations of the box score historically. Really, what are the best NBA stats? What more can we do to add context beyond per game adjustments?

This video explains advanced NBA stats and discusses the additional context provided by pace-adjustments (per 100 stats), per 36 stats, assist percentage (AST%) and better ways to measure rebounding (TRB%). It also raises some interesting strategic questions about Dean Oliver’s Four Factors (turnovers, efficiency, etc.). Additional resources:

538 on Margin of Victory and Win%:
Justin Jacobs detailing the Four Factors (observing a 0.91 R^2 modeling team performance with 4 Factors):
Seth Partnow on offensive rebounding trends:
Sloan paper on visual tracking patterns that suggests crashing glass more is beneficial yet players crash conditionally:
A college study on crashing the glass more:

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Book:
Podcast: (available on iTunes, Spotify, etc.)
Website:
Twitter: @elgee35

Ben Taylor is the author of Thinking Basketball, a Nylon Calculus contributor, creator of the Backpicks Top 40 series & host of the Thinking Basketball podcast.

Stats courtesy:
@bballport

Player art by @CrumpledJumper
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Music: The Way Forward

#NBAStats #AdvancedStats #BestNBAStats

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36 Comments

L.J. de Paepe

June 27, 2020

Man, I really love your work. These are such a well made analysis, and such subtle observations. I really really enjoy this. What is your academic background? And what made you get interested in this stuff?

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Ryan Dick

June 27, 2020

Is this why so many of his contemporaries rated Andrew Toney as the toughest opponent to play against?

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João Pedro

June 27, 2020

This Channel Is Pure Gold

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Nate Georgy

June 27, 2020

We need an app that tracks advanced stats in the box score. Rather than basic stats. You always have to wait until after the game, or hand calculate it.

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Michael Jor1-9an

June 27, 2020

You also must consider, however, that playing at a faster pace may tire a player out quicker, having so much more work to do on both ends of the court, so that could bring their effectiveness down. Also, defense was a lot tougher and more physical back then, which brought down percentages, made it tougher to score, and would make the game harder on the players, thus making them less effective. Rule and pace changes must be accounted for in both directions.

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Jason Ji

June 27, 2020

please do more player analysis videos, I have been longing for these

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Nathaniel Moore

June 27, 2020

I’ve watch a few of you videos and they sound good in theory but in reality they’re so off when it comes to comparing eras. More minutes a game should be respected as well as faster pace because it requires more endurance. There not robots. That’s why real hoopers on the pro level or little leagues don’t respect analytics now.

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naira

June 27, 2020

Man they need you on espn cause I love the way you look at the game man. Makes basketball interesting again

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Big Red

June 27, 2020

Great video but comparing Oscar Robertson and Kevin Durant in terms of scoring efficiency is somewhat misleading. The reason for this is that Durant's numbers get inflated due to playing in the 3 point era. So I'm curious what the numbers would look like if you changed all Durant's 3 point makes into 2's and then see how their scoring compares. I would imagine Durant still comes out ahead, but not by as much.

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Rod Sall

June 27, 2020

oscar didn't have a 3pt line.

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E BO

June 27, 2020

Per possession is better than per minute or per game for sure. However, per possession or per 100 possessions is still flawed.

If a player averages 1 point per possession, that doesn’t mean he would actually score 50 points if given 50 possessions. They are humans not robots. Also usage rate should be considered as well when talking about points per possession. Possession does not necessarily mean that player had the ball in his hands during that possession.

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Wire haired Dachshund

June 27, 2020

OKC 1 CHANCE to get rebound per game.
Russell Westbrook's 1000000 chance to get 10 rebounds per game.
Please explain why Russell sucks.

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Andreas Papadakis

June 27, 2020

what about including no defense , travelling and carrying ..no defense as kenny smith displayed and we all see anyway is quite critical for scoring and travelling and carrying is an obvious advantage for todays players over olschoolers that had to slap the ball from the top always below shoulder level..in many cases today we see carrying the ball while travelling simultaneously..

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Jonathan Ezemba

June 27, 2020

Great video as always! I know most NBA fans know this, but the 2012 season was lockout-shortened so that's why KD didn't break 2k points.

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Joe Yates

June 27, 2020

This was geeky enough for me to enjoy and learn more in-depth.

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Bwink23

June 27, 2020

NERDS

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SerjEpic

June 27, 2020

Make a video on why the Spurs have been good for so long

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Amay Tripathi

June 27, 2020

I'm just wondering, why do we always balance out minutes. Like playing more minutes should to an extent is a good thing: it shows physical stamina and shows players are willing to put it all on the court. Like players who have to carry bad teams (MJ's early bulls, Kobe in his 35 point year) have to play more minutes. Plus, it's not fair to assume somebody keeps consistent production if they play more. I totally get why we balance out minutes to account for blowouts and such, but I think this is an important thing to consider.

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Sherwin D'Souza

June 27, 2020

Ya I came up with rebound, assist, block and steal percentage without knowledge of the real world

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Sherwin D'Souza

June 27, 2020

That's what I been saying forever per mins

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Commen Cents

June 27, 2020

But oscar dosen't have 3pt line

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John Smith

June 27, 2020

How would you analyze the value of Oscar playing all those minutes, ie his conditioning? Certainly if you played Durant that much he'd have worse stats. Ideas for the topic: Conditioning efficiency, conditioning support (per game health), availability, level of forced replacement (some other less efficient player has to play his non=playing minutes). Thanks, great vids!

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John Smith

June 27, 2020

5 + -2 ≠ 7.

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Michael Wilson

June 27, 2020

Already watched this 3 times. Thanks for the great content. Keep that analytics content coming.

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Wilt Chamberlain GOD of NBA

June 27, 2020

OSCAR PLAYED IN ERA WHERE WILT PULL GUS JOHNSON OUT OF BOUNCE…DURANT PLAY IN ERA WHERE THERE IS NO CENTER INSIDE AND NO HANDCHECK…ONLY IMBECILE CAN SAY CUP CAKE IS GREAT.

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Simone Bonsignore

June 27, 2020

This is actually the best channel on YT

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Pedro Arciniega

June 27, 2020

Damn KD is totally a scoring machine.

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NBA Spotlite

June 27, 2020

I actually want to chat with who runs this account. This is the type of basketball I love talking about. @nbaspotlite on Instagram.

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Basketball Guru

June 27, 2020

I love your videos, people can learn a lot and that's the goal. I believe that you are the only channel that have really good teaching experience and really I personally learned a lot from you (and Adam Mares, I love his takes, differently than you but very informative as well)

Keep it up 👍

P.S. I can't wait for the next video about Nikola Jokic. You said when you analysed top 10 players that you are going to do a video about Jokic (another yeeey 👏👌)

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Eltalstro

June 27, 2020

Wilt Chamberlain boned approximately 0.63 women per point scored, which sounds a little cumbersome. Let's say per 100 points, he boned 63 women. This means his BPR or boning proficiency rating was 63, a phenomenally high number! But if we adjust for pace will his numbers look as impressive? Let's just say that on March 2, 1962, 63 women were pretty impressed.

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Antonio León

June 27, 2020

Amazing Job!

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timothywesauer

June 27, 2020

11:08 it should be +5–2=+7.. just saying

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Marcus Wong

June 27, 2020

+Thinking Basketball what animation tools do you use to draw your play diagrams?

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SupaHotFire

June 27, 2020

Good Video again!

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zroysum

June 27, 2020

Points per minute are bull shit. Durant could have played more minutes that year if he had wanted to and if he would have continued to score at the same efficiency he should have played more minutes for his team. Superstars can play as many minutes as they want. Their coaches aren't going to make them rest if they insist they don't need it.

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Dylan Edwards

June 27, 2020

Great video! You really have a skill for making analytics palatable for a general audience

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