Basketball analytics involve going deeper into traditional statistics for better information to help your team.
That does not mean that you throw out your use of your instinct, the “eye test,” and your years of experience when evaluating players and making strategy decisions.
Using advanced metrics does allow you to have more information to use to make the best decisions for your team.
Here are some thoughts on using data to evaluate and help your players understand what they can and are contributing to your team.
Individual Player Evaluation (Offensive End)
As coaches, when we assign individual roles to players, it also makes sense to use methods to evaluate their performance based on what you are asking them to do. Here are some thoughts from the Krossover Basketball Blog to get you started. You might not categorize your players into these roles and will need to adapt them to your own philosophy and system of play.
You might have players that don’t fit any of these positions, but you can select one metric that each player needs to focus on their role and to help them play to their strengths and stay away from their weaknesses and to measure how well they are succeeding.
I believe that anything that is tracked and measured will improve.
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The links listed with each position below are to posts with more information about the individual metrics.
Point Guard: Assists/Turnover. 3 Pt%, 2 Pt%, FT%, FTA, Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA–measures a player’s ability to get to the Free Throw Line), Pace (Possessions per game. Is your point guard able to influence the number of possessions in the game in a manner that is favorable to your team?), Assists, Effective Field Goal Percentage.
Shooting Guard Midrange FG%, 3 Pt%, FTR, True Scoring Percentage (TS%), Assists/Turnovers, FTA.
Small ForwardMidrange Fg%, FTA, Turnovers/Minutes to Minutes Played, TS%, ORB%(Percentage of the team’s defensive rebounds this player collected), FTR.
Power Forward DRB%, MRFG%, FTA, Post Up FG%, L/R side of the floor FG%, OR%
Center: FT%, Assists:Turnover, OR%, Paint FG%, FTR, eFG%. As an example, if your post player is shooting 50% in the paint, is that success? That would be success for a 3 point percentage, but not for scoring in the post.
A few other thoughts as you evaluate how well each player performed their specific roles.
I heard Fran Fraschilla say that when he coached, he kept what he called “virtual assists.” That accounted for passes that led to shots that were missed or where the player was fouled while shooting, but missed the field goal and received two or three free throws. In those cases, no assist is credited, but the player delivering the ball still did his or her job. It is a similar concept to tracking post feeds.
Consider keeping rebounds, assists, points, turnovers, and any other quantity stat that you keep as per complete game instead of per game. For example, if a high school team plays 32 minutes, calculate assists per 32 minutes to be able to compare players at the same position who play different amounts. Your starter might play 24 minutes per game and a reserve 8. Comparing each in terms of what they do every 32 minutes is a better measuring stick.
I have written before about charting blockouts is a way to reward players who are contributing to the team defensive rebounding effort, but might not have high rebounding numbers. You can do the same at the offensive end by charting times going hard to either the offensive boards or to their spot to defend the opponent’s transition offense. You can keep a similar stat on screens properly executed versus screening “air.”
The bottom line for your program is that most basketball box scores give you the same basic data. But to get meaningful numbers that you can use to teach and evaluate your team’s unique system of play, you need choose what metrics are truly important to your team’s success and to dig a little deeper than traditional statistics.