What We Need is More Stats

In honor of Dirk: ‘Points Per Miss’ and his spot among the NBA’s all-time greats

As Bill Simmons tweeted: “48 points, 3 missed shots total (FG + FT). We need a stat like ‘points per miss’ to see if that’s a record for a 40+ point game.”

And as I went to bed last night, Simmons’ tweet had me thinking. Just how useful of a stat would PPM be? So I decided to get up this morning and investigate it a little further.

I like it, because it’s a measure of offensive efficiency. Raw statistics, such as points scored don’t differentiate between good shooting and poor shooting, incorporates points scored or squandered on the free-throw line, and normalizes, to some extent, the increased risk and reward of three-point shots for which shooting percentage fails to account. Efficient shooting leaves more opportunities for teammates, which the author recognizes:

Points per game is an oft-cited stat, but it provides little in the way of efficiency. A player could score 40 points per game and lead the league, but if he just does it because he chucks up half of his team’s shots, his team probably is not very good or balanced on offense. Another player who scores only 25 points per game but who is highly efficient at turning shooting opportunities into points is maximizing his own scoring chances while, theoretically, not wasting his team’s scoring opportunities shooting lower percentage shots (by comparison) than what his teammates could get

2 thoughts on “What We Need is More Stats

  1. I think the appropriate statistic should be “points per shot attempted”. This would be analogous to a baseball player’s slugging percentage.

  2. I’ll second Drew’s comment only to add: Holy crap! 12-15 from the field, 24-24 from the free throw line?!? I wish I saw that game.

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