A statistic in basketball which records how many minutes of running time the player is on the court. Any time the clock is not running, the player is not recording any minutes. For example, in a 48-minute NBA game, the starting five players typically play between 32-36 minutes. Their "clocks" start when they check into the game and stop when they check out. This statistic is essential to determining many other more advanced stats which measure a player's efficiency in a variety of categories on a per-minute basis. Coaches also use minutes per game as a base for estimating how long a player has been on the floor in "real" time, which includes stoppage time and other breaks.
Although tracking how many minutes per game a player plays is the primary purpose of this statistic, it is hardly the only use. The minutes per game statistic has become important in the modern game of basketball as players get better and coaches use more and more advanced strategies to win games. As technology makes its way further into the coach's office, more advanced stats which take into account many different factors have become easier to compute on an on-demand basis. The minutes per game statistic is often used as a denominator in these stats. Although the basketball stats community debates the effectiveness of their use, no one denies that they are being used.