Statistics are wonderful. Statistics help provide evidence that the eye can’t provide. Statistics can be chaotic on the small scale but always even out to a neat pattern on the large scale. In the NBA, the largest problem with statistics is minutes per game. A player’s minutes per game can either inflate or deflate a players stats, boosting a player’s image or destroying it. There are ways to get around this though. One way is the great Plus-Minus System. The Plus-Minus System is meant to show what kind of an effect a player has on his team while he is on the floor. Other ways are the Player Value System and Adjusted Player Value System.

The Player Value System is simple. A players positive stats–namely steals, assists, blocks, points, rebounds and shooting percentage–are all multiplied together. The negative stats, turnovers and fouls, are then multiplied together. The positive stats are then divided by the negative stats. The resulting number is then divided by how many minutes the specific player plays. This is then divided by the number of players on the court for one team at any one time (5). It is the same procedure for Adjusted Player Value, except that per 48 minute stats are used instead.

The Player Value System is great for comparing players who play similar minutes. The Adjusted Player Value System is great for comparing players who get different minutes per game, sometimes with surprising results. For example, Derrick Favors, of the Utah Jazz, gets 22.8 minutes per game. Paul Millsap, also of the Utah Jazz, gets 30.7 minutes per game. But the Jazz might want to think about giving Favors some of Millsap’s minutes because Favors’ Adjusted Player Value so far this season is 25 while Millap’s is just 23.87. On the other hand, Enes Kanter might want to take some tips from Favors. Kanter gets just 14.2 minutes per game, and with good reason. Kanter’s Adjusted Player Value is just 5.26. Part of this can be explained by his tendency to foul and turn the ball over. Kanter averages 4.056 turnovers per 48 minutes. Even worse, he averages 6.76 fouls per 48 minutes, which means he wouldn’t even be able to make it the full 48. This in turn can damage his Adjusted Player Value even more as a person takes into account that Kanter wouldn’t even play the full time.

Player Value can also be used to compare players of different positions. This breaks an old basketball myth. Point guards are often times called floor generals or basketball’s quarterback. The Point guard is also generally considered to be the most important player on the floor. Player Value not only busts this myth, but proves that point guards are actually the least important player on the floor. The center, often shoved from the spotlight much as NFL linemen are, is proven to be the most important player on the floor, closely followed by power forwards and then by wind players. Even a player like Derrick Favors, a power forward who often plays center and who is by no means a superstar, has a better Adjusted Player Value than the best point guards. John Stockton at his best only had a 10.47 Player Value. Magic Johnson had an 18.49 Player Value in his best season. And that was largely because he got more rebounds and blocks than most other point guards. Big point guards such as Magic and Oscar Robertson are thus proved to be much more valuable than a normal point guard. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the greatest centers of all time, had a whopping 198.55 Player Value in his best season. Michael Jordan, in his best season, had a 152.02 Player Value. Michael Jordan was most likely the most talented basketball player of all time, but was he the most valuable?

Player Value and Adjusted Player Value don’t necessarily prove that one player is better than another, but it does prove which player is the most valuable. A player can be immensely talented, and may even be the best player on the planet, but is not necessarily the most valuable. MVP voters often get confused between most valuable and most talented. Thus, players who aren’t necessarily the most valuable often win the MVP award.

Player Value and Adjusted Player Value can be used on a career scale as well. After finding the Player Value or Adjusted Player Value, the number is simply multiplied by how many seasons a player played and then divided by 5. The number five separates a players career into divisions of five. Thus it is best used with players who are already retired. It also gives a slight edge to players who played longer. A player’s Career Player Value is often higher than any particular season’s value. John Stockton’s Career Player Value, for example, was 27.43. Obviously, a player who plays 15 seasons is more likely to win an NBA championship than a player who only plays 10. Thus players who play longer are usually rewarded with higher player values, especially if they keep up their performance. A player who does not keep up his performance over his career is then rewarded with a lower Player Value, balancing out the longer career.

The Player Value and Adjusted Player Value Systems can be used in many ways. From comparing players who play vastly different minutes to players who play different positions. As the names imply, these systems prove which players are the most valuable as opposed to who is the most talented. When combined with the visual aspect of basketball–used to determine speed, motor and other such talents–the Player Value System can be used to put out the best lineups possible.

I think that you would make a great consultant for any sports team Josh. This reminds me of the movie moneyball. Do you know who the most valuable player is in the NBA? I am curious.

i believe that perhaps people should start paying more attention to a players value, maybe they should even start to incorporate it into a players over all stats.

@Trevon haha thanks. I haven’t put every player through these systems. That would take a really long time. Websites usually have whole teams of people gathering statistics I’m sure. There would be a bunch of players I could obviously skip, but I would think with the way these stats work that either LeBron or maybe Dwight Howard would be the most valuable. These stats really reward blocked shots and good defensive play. Obviously Dwight does that, and LeBron just does a bunch of everything.