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What is Possession?

A statistic in basketball defined as the time a team gains offensive possession of the ball until it scores, loses the ball, or commits a violation or foul. A possession in basketball is an important statistic because it allows teams to compute statistics on a per possession basis. The statistic can be applied to an individual player or the entire team.

Sporting Charts explains Possession - basketball

Modern basketball teams have begun using per possession statistics as a clearer method of evaluating players. These statistics are found by dividing some measure by the number of possessions the team or player had in a given game, or even season. These types of measurement are valuable because they break the player's game into small pieces that can be more easily evaluated for mistakes or advantages. For example, if a player shoots the ball on half the team's possessions and only makes half of those, a coach will easily see that and instruct the player to pass the ball more.

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