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An Introduction to Advanced Basketball Statistics

Over the years, basketball statistics have evolved. There used to be a time when only the most basic stats were tracked. These included: points, assists, rebounds, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and turnovers.

In today’s day and age, things have changed quite a bit. Not only are there more statistics than ever before, but coaches, management, and player personnel professionals are using this information when making important player related decisions.

Below are several of the most commonly used advanced basketball statistics.

Offensive Rating (ORtg)

This is a measure of how many points a team scores per 100 possessions.

  • Formula: (points scored *100) / number of possessions

In short, this statistic attempts to answer the question: how good is a team’s offense? The nice thing about this statistic is that it eliminates the pace at which a team plays. The overall goal is to determine how efficient a team is at scoring the basketball.

Defensive Rating (DRtg)

This is a measure of how many points a team gives up per 100 possessions.

  • Formula: (points allowed * 100) / number of possessions

This statistic is similar to offensive rating, except that it shows how good a team is at stopping the opponent. When drilled down, it shows just how difficult it is to score against a particular team.

True Shooting Percentage (TS%)

Rather than rely on basic shooting percentage – shots made/shots attempted – this statistic digs a bit deeper.

  • Formula: (0.5 x points)/(FGA + 0.475 x FTA)

As you can see, true shooting percentage is the points scored per shooting possession (including free throws) divided by two. It can be used for both individual players as well as teams.

Turnover Percentage (TO%)

This is a measure of how many turnovers a team commits per 100 possessions.

  • Formula: (turnovers * 100) / number of possessions

This is an important statistic as teams that turn the ball over less get more shots, subsequently scoring more points.

Effective Field Goal Percentage (eFG%)

Since the introduction of the three-point line, the game of basketball has been different. This statistic factors in the points scored on three-point field goals.

  • Formula: (Field Goals + .5 (3-pt Field Goals)) / Field Goal Attempts

Effective Field Goal Percentage is similar to shooting percentage, with the difference being the added factor of points scored from behind the three-point line. Players who shoot and make a lot of three-point field goals will have a higher effective field goal percentage. Those who play closer to the hoop typically have a similar field goal and effective field goal percentage.

Player Efficiency Rating (PER)

This statistic is meant to calculate one number that shows the overall contribution by an individual player.

  • Formula: uPER = (1 / MP) * [ 3P + (2/3) * AST + (2 - factor * (team_AST / team_FG)) * FG + (FT *0.5 * (1 + (1 - (team_AST / team_FG)) + (2/3) * (team_AST / team_FG))) - VOP * TOV - VOP * DRB% * (FGA - FG) - VOP * 0.44 * (0.44 + (0.56 * DRB%)) * (FTA - FT) + VOP * (1 - DRB%) * (TRB - ORB) + VOP * DRB% * ORB + VOP * STL + VOP * DRB% * BLK - PF * ((lg_FT / lg_PF) - 0.44 * (lg_FTA / lg_PF) * VOP)]

PER has become an effective way to evaluate NBA players, thanks to the ability to assign a single number based on performance. It takes into account all official stats – positive and negative – kept by the NBA. 


Although the use of advanced basketball statistics has not been around for a long time, a growing number of people are beginning to realize the importance. All of these statistics share the common goal of offering a more detailed analysis of teams and players.

For more in-depth basketball stat reading check out:


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