Advanced Stat Primer - A Must Read for GSOMers

So I'm editing this post because Jae has successfully answered my question and I didn't want to spam the boards.

I love talking hoops and I love debating about basketball, but most debates especially here on GSOM, usually come from two points of view: the arm chair scouts, those who rely on their observations/opinions and the "stat geeks", those who use stats as the end all be all. When these two sides get together to debate a player it generates a discussion along the divisive lines of: republicans vs democrats, religion vs atheists/agnostics, 2Pac vs Biggie. etc. Basically, it just gets plain ugly.

Like I said below I've been attempting to further educate myself regarding the strengths and weakness of all these advance stats that people are throwing around: PER, Wins Produced, Wins Shared, Roland ratings, and +/-. Many posts on GSOM cite these statistics in our discussions and there are those who swear by these statistics and those who simply just swear at these statistics. Luckily in my personal search for enlightenment I came across a series of blogs describing the what each of these statistics do, their strengths and weakness, and the proper applications of the stats. I found them so helpful and easy to understand that I am bringing it to GSOM in hopes that everyone can read these blogs, learn from them, and that we can all increase our knowledge and level of discussion. 

So I encourage everyone stat geeks and arm char scouts to read these blogs by Andre "The Professor" Snellings that were published a year ago on rotowire.

Advanced Stat Primer

Can Math Help You Understand Basketball?




Win Shares

Wins Produced

Roland Rating


Hopefully, everyone can read these articles and we can increase the level of discussion regarding whether or not Anthony Tolliver is better than Reggie Williams.



I love using statistics as much as anyone and I've been trying to get a better understanding of some of the commonly used statistics. First up is John Hollinger's PER which many stat geeks do not like because of the arbitrary weights to certain categories and after reading into PER, I have come to value the stat less than WP and Wins Shared. While I agree with most of what D. Berri says regarding the flaws of PER in his blog, I am having trouble understanding this assertion that PER rewards inefficient shooting. 


The same critique offered for NBA Efficiency also applies to Hollinger’s PERs, except the problem is even worse. Hollinger argues that each two  rpoint field goal made is worth about 1.65 points. A three point field goal made is worth 2.65 points. A missed field goal, though, costs a team 0.72 points.

Given these values, with a bit of math we can show that a player will break even on his two point field goal attempts if he hits on 30.4% of these shots. On three pointers the break-even point is 21.4%. If a player exceeds these thresholds, and virtually every NBA played does so with respect to two-point shots, the more he shoots the higher his value in PERs. So a player can be an inefficient scorer and simply inflate his value by taking a large number of shots.


By solving the simple equations, I get  very different percentages regarding the break even point:

X =  FGM, Y = FGA

1.65x=0.72y for 2 pt FGs the break even point is roughly 43.7% vs Berri's stated 30.4%

2.65x=0.72y for 3 pt FGs the break even point is 27.7% vs Berri's stated 21.4%

So why is there a discrepancy? Not that this would make PER a superior stat to Wins Produced but I think it would give it more credibility when the break even point for 2 PT FG% is 43.7 vs 08-09 lg average of 48.5% and 27.7% for 3s vs 36.7% instead of the % that Berri is touting.

So can someone please explain to me the "bit of math" that Berri is talking about where he got those low % to break even?

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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