The pace factor is used to estimate the number of possessions a team has per game. The more possessions a team accumulates, the quicker the pace of the game. The formula for this statistic is: ((Tm Poss + Opp Poss) / (2 * (Tm MP / 5))). The first part of the equation sums Team Possessions and Opponent's Possessions. The latter half of the equation uses Team Minutes Played, which is the total number of minutes played by each player on the team.
The pace factor is important when calculating many other advanced statistics because many other advanced statistics are based on the number of possessions a team has. Possession based statistical analysis has become the standard in today's game because of the different styles of play across the league. A team with lots of possessions will have more chances to score, but also gives their opponent more chances. A team with few possessions will not score as much, but gives their opponent fewer opportunities. This is especially important when calculating individual statistics. A player on a team with a low pace factor will have fewer opportunities to put up numbers than a player on a team with a high pace factor. Basing their statistics on possessions makes the comparisons fairer and easier to evaluate.