Today I want to discuss the latest angle of basketball and coaching I'm learning about lately and that is Analytics. Applying advanced statistics or analytics to your basketball program can be easier to implement than you think and can be very educational. I have found this season in using basic advanced statistics with my team that it is very good at cutting through coaching bias', and can bring an element of concrete reality to the lens we sometimes see the game with.
I'm going to start very simple and probably get into a deeper post about this as I continue my self-education in advanced stats. One of the easiest things you can do is have someone keep a team shot chart. Try to get an idea of where you are getting your shots from, how often are you getting in the paint, are you settling for 3's, are you shooting a lot of low% midrange shots? The shot chart can be an introduction point and something you can use to delve deeper into contributing factors. Maybe your offensive sets you are relying on are causing you to shoot a lot of mid-long range 2's. This can be a gateway into looking at Points Per Possession or (PPP). How many points are you scoring for every offensive possession that your team has? This is discussed by the late Dean Smith in Multiple Offense and Defense. Points per possession shows one the importance of getting to the foul line.
Dean Oliver's Four Factor Analysis
Another great way to try and get the most out of your stats is prioritizing the statistics you are getting. It is one thing to have tonnes of numbers, but do you know what to do, how to adjust and how to implement what you are learning about your team? I like Dean Oliver's Four Factor Analysis (from Basketball on Paper) for focusing one's thinking. Oliver, after years and years of analysing statistics concluded that the four statistics that when controlled most often correlate with winning the game are:
(1) FG% (measured with eFG%
(2) Offensive Rebounding
(3) Turnover differential
(4) Getting to the foul line.
If you can control these four aspects of the game and win these statistics over your opponent you have a great chance at winning. Analyse these stats and then combine that with your feel for the game and the ebb and flow of a game, and you may learn why your results are turning out the way they are. How many points are your opponents scoring off of your turnovers? Look at how turnovers and offensive rebounds can lead to high percentage shots.......everything fits together.
Per 40 minute Statistics
Something I began using this year is Per 40 minute Stats. It is as simple as taking your boxscore (points, rebounds, assists, turnovers, steals, etc) statistics and calculating what they are for the players every 40 minutes played. This is very effective in showing what a player is really doing and contributing out on the floor. If you see that you have a big who is only averaging 3 rebounds/40 minutes then you have a problem. Likewise if your point guard is turning the ball over 8 times/40 minutes you are going to be in tough. This stat is great for looking at your players coming off the bench as well, because it levels out the minutes for an accurate comparison. Perhaps if given more minutes this player would contribute more than your current starters, it is a great tool for evaluating your players.
That's it for today, I expect to add a more detailed post on more detailed statistics in the near future, but I wanted to start the discussion and add some ideas for anyone who happens across this blog. I'm setting a goal to write more, so if you have anything to add or comment on please include it in the comment section below, thanks!