View Full Version : Efficiency Equation

12-26-2002, 11:50 AM
Efficiency equation

NBA formula allows teams to evaluate performances

By Dave Lewandowski


December 24, 2002

Like other professional sports, perception and reality in the NBA continually conflict.

When casual professional basketball fans tune in to the Los Angeles-Sacramento Kings game Wednesday on WRTV-6, they'll be struck that the three-time defending league champion Lakers are struggling.

How could L.A. -- even with lumbering center Shaquille O'Neal in the lineup -- be 11-18 and 11/2 games behind their low-wattage brethren, the Los Angeles Clippers, in the Pacific Division?

That's easy when perception outweighs reality -- if not the 380-pound O'Neal himself -- and opponents know how to neutralize the impact of the Lakers' role players.

To separate perception and reality, many NBA teams use a formula -- (PTS + REB + AST + STL + BLK) - (FGA - FGM) + (FTA - FTM) + TO) -- to analyze game performance and motivate individuals.

Miami Heat coach Pat Riley regularly uses reports based on this efficiency formula to alert players to performance variances throughout the course of the long season. He also might use them to compare a player's performance at the same position on another team.

"We use them not so much to compare their performance to others in a game, but to themselves at the same time last week or last month or last year," Riley said.

Statistics don't lie, but they never tell the entire story. Basketball is a game of not only the obvious but the subtle, and statistics are a tool. Injuries, illness and matchups have an impact.

"We'll also use film to show players the things they need to improve upon, and the tendencies of their next opponents," Riley said.

The Indiana Pacers use game videotape almost exclusively to break down their players' games and opponents.

"We do a lot of tape on the opposition, whether a player goes to his right or left, how his defensive footwork is," assistant coach Dan Burke said. "We always point out that you have to value the ball."

Individual comparisons using the formula can add insight for NBA fans. The NBA provides a daily breakdown of games on www.nba.com under the category efficiency recap in the statistics section.

In the Dec. 15 game at Conseco Fieldhouse between the Indiana and Philadelphia, you would assume 76ers guard Allen Iverson (32 points in 44 minutes) had a better game than the Pacers' Jamaal Tinsley (20 points in 35 minutes) -- who was matched against Iverson, the three-time league scoring champion.

But Tinsley had a higher efficiency rating, according to the formula. He shot 10-of-14 from the field, and added three rebounds and nine assists against one turnover. Iverson made 12-of-26 shots, had five rebounds, three assists and four turnovers.

Iverson was nonchalant about his play in the game.

"I don't pay attention to that stuff (statistics)," Iverson said as he clutched a box score handed him by a locker room attendant.

12-26-2002, 12:45 PM
<< Individual comparisons using the formula can add insight for NBA fans. >>

If only the casual fan and nearly all of the sports writers would take a look at it now and then. Instead most are pulling stuff out of their asses. If you want to see one of those funny player &quot;ratings&quot; go to sportsline.com and take a look at the top 20 overall. Itīs rediculous.

The new NBA formula and Magicmetric are the best IMO.

12-26-2002, 03:05 PM
I'm going to be <u>totally</u> happy with individual statistics when somebody finds a formula to rate a player in his role into the overall performance of his team.

Meanwhile, the efficiency equation seems to be the best til now, as a solo player performance measure, only with the weakness of the lack of minutes played.

12-26-2002, 03:31 PM
One thing to keep in mind about statistics is that they are the tool of geniuses and the master of moron's. We should use them as a tool and not let them rule us.