FanPost

Measuring Basketball IQ


How can you measure basketball intelligence? It comes down to decision making and execution.

The late Col. John Boyd described this as the OODA loop - observe, orient, decide, act. This model has become the basis for modern warfare, and was originally developed to train fighter pilots. Boyd also discovered that among pilots with relatively equal skill, the pilot who forced the tempo - made faster decisions - always had the advantage. This is the theoretical basis of run and gun, btw - if you can make decisions faster than your opponent, you are "inside his loop" and forcing him to react to you.

Can we apply that to basketball, and more importantly masure the value of decision making to the team? I believe we can.In a comment on my stats fanshot, Evanz asked if I was being overly optimistic in assigning Vlad to the deep bench. In part, this post will explain why I think it is an easily makeable decision. It will also show why Adrien and Lin are ranked so highly on a per-minute basis.

 Player + Dec Dec+/- Dec %Dec Pt/Dec Dec Val D/Min V/Min PsGen Net PS Impact Value
 Monta Ellis 11.44 8.71 24.17 0.47 0.91 0.43 0.70 0.30 4.16 -4.55 28.33 8.51
 Stephen Curry 11.65 5.62 27.17 0.43 0.71 0.30 0.94 0.28 7.27 1.65 34.44 9.76
 David Lee 8.74 6.12 18.51 0.47 0.94 0.45 0.60 0.27 10.49 4.37 29.00 7.76
 Andris Biedrins 6.23 5.06 10.70 0.58 0.89 0.52 0.46 0.24 9.73 4.67 20.43 4.91
 Dorell Wright 8.83 5.94 19.70 0.45 0.66 0.30 0.65 0.19 4.75 -1.19 24.45 4.73
Starters Per 36 46.89 31.46 100.25 0.47 0.81 0.38 3.39 1.28 36.41 4.95 136.66 175.51
 Reggie Williams 9.32 7.77 18.65 0.50 1.00 0.50 0.67 0.34 2.59 -5.18 21.24 7.12
 Jeremy Lin 8.43 4.6 15.32 0.55 0.85 0.47 1.96 0.92 8.43 3.83 23.74 21.80
 Jeff Adrien 6.46 5.08 12.00 0.54 1.04 0.56 1.22 0.68 9.23 4.15 21.23 14.54
 Brandan Wright 7.15 4.24 14.56 0.49 1.09 0.54 0.75 0.40 6.88 2.65 21.44 8.62
 Rodney Carney 6.3 3.6 14.40 0.44 1.13 0.49 1.08 0.53 3.60 0.00 18.00 9.59
Subs Per 36 37.66 25.28 74.93 0.50 1.02 0.51 4.80 2.45 30.73 5.45 105.65 259.09
 Vladimir Radmanovic 5.24 2.62 14.40 0.36 0.73 0.26 0.70 0.18 5.89 3.27 20.29 3.75
 Charlie Bell 5.22 3.13 15.65 0.33 0.43 0.14 1.36 0.20 5.74 2.61 21.39 4.21
 Dan Gadzuric 3.53 2.12 14.82 0.24 0.38 0.09 1.74 0.16 7.76 5.65 22.59 3.57
Deep Bench per 36 13.98 7.87 44.88 0.31 0.51 0.16 3.32 0.53 19.39 11.53 64.27 33.89

 

Column 2 represents the number of positive decisions (assists + shots made) a player has made per 36 minutes of play. Column 3 is their plus / minus, and colum 4 is their total decisions (assists + shots attempted + turnovers).

From these, we calculate their positive decision percent. This is the probability that they have made the right choice. The takeaway from this column is that the "deep bench" players are the worst decision makers on the team.Dre, Lin, and Adrien had the best percentages.

Deep Bench  troubles don't end there. Points per decision is  total points divided by their total decisions,and as we can see, they also have the worst points per decision except for Steph. Steph makes better decisions, though, so the value of his decisions are higher. The expected value of each decision is calculated by multiplying their decision % times their points per decision. (This is a standard way of determining value of a decision.)

Next we come to decisions per minute - the ability to drive tempo and get inside your opponent's decision making. None of the starters approach 1.0 on this, except Steph at .90. And we see that Lin's rate is astronomical, with Gadz not too far behind him. High rates amplify the affect of your decision making, for better or worse. By multiplying the decision rate by decision value, we can now measure the decision value per minute of each player. The results are pretty clear for our deep bench... they're all worth less on the floor than the other 10 players. Well, except that Bell looks worth more than Dorell....

Which brings us to possessions generated. We know how possessions end - they end in a decision. Who starts them or keeps them? Rebounders and thieves. So we add rebounds and steals to get possesions generated, and subtract our possessions used (shot, assist, turnover) to create net possessions. Gadz has a great number there.

This allows us to calculate impact - possession generated + decisions - for each player. Steph, Monta, and Lee are by far our highest impact players. By multiplying impact with the value per minute we calculated we finally have a per36 value - let's call it the real player value (RPV)  that reflects decision making, impact, speed, rebounding, and scoring.

Lin and Adrien thus made the right decisions very rapidly, while generating possessions and a high value per decision. This is basketball IQ in a nutshell. RPV is my invention (at about 5 this morning).

This FanPost is a submission from a member of the mighty Golden State of Mind community. While we're all here to throw up that W, these words do not necessarily reflect the views of the GSoM Crew. Still, chances are the preceding post is Unstoppable Baby!

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