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Beyond the Box Score - Using Analytics to Understand Team and Player Impact

Tracking individual stats and box scores has been a standard method of basketball analysis across most organized levels of play. However, that doesn't provide the whole picture. As basketball analytical methods and technology have developed, so has the use of more of advanced statistical metrics. The tracking of lineup performance and on court player impact are the clearest examples of this.

Basketball Play by Play
Standard Basketball Play by Play Example

Today, a coach or player or parent can easily track a single player's on-court/off-court offensive ratings, total plus/minus by 5 player lineups, and the opponent effective field goal % and defensive rating when the starting center and point guard are on the floor. While this may previously have been reserved for the top professional leagues, these advanced statistics can now be generated for any game that has a box score and a play-by-play and serve as a powerful tool for coaching and player development.

Basketball Box Score
Standard Basketball Box Score Example

These advanced statistics are not meant to replace traditional development strategies or game plans, but rather can be used to illuminate a team's strengths and an opponent's weaknesses. In this post, we will discuss how these can be used to further player development as well as enable more effective coaching strategies

Duke basketball, Impact metrics, Net ratings
Duke Blue Devils Two Player Net Ratings

Coaching Support

Through the use of stat tracking technologies, basketball coaches today are able to identify, test, review, and implement strategies like never before. This process often starts with understanding lineup metrics. By tracking every lineup that plays for each team - throughout every game all season, these metrics provide a window into the overall performance of every possible player configuration. But it doesn't stop at 5 player lineups - the smaller 4, 3, and 2 player configurations are also tracked and reported on. For all of these configurations, a coach can easily see how long they have played, how many points they have allowed or scored, and many other standard metrics, including lineup-specific Four Factors metrics. This approach enables coaches to easily view all player combos and their impact. Effective stats tracking will enable coaches to double click into these stats, segmenting by important pieces of information such as the quarter, whether or not that lineup is a starting lineup, clutch time, and garbage time. These additional filters provide the opportunity to understand not only the overall impact of each lineup, but also their situational tendencies. Read more here.

Impact Metrics, On/Off, Duke basketball
Duke Blue Devils Single Player On/Off Ratings

Player Development

The single player impact analysis provides a clear perspective into how a team performs when Player X is on the court (as well as when Player X is off the court). Whether you are the parent of that player or you are that player, this kind of data enables easy tracking of how both teams perform when that player is on the court or on the bench. This includes the number of points scored, rebounds, free throw attempts, field goal percentage, as well as any other standard counting stat. By collecting this data, the player can more easily identify strengths and weaknesses and therefore be able to focus their development efforts on improvement of those specific skills. Read more here.

Basketball technology, Data visualization, Basketball analysis
Easily share advanced metrics and visualizations across devices

The parent of an up-and-coming basketball player has many of the same needs as described above. Whether lobbying to increase the playing time for your child or helping them get recruited for the next level, advanced individual statistics are vital in demonstrating the value of your player. The use of modern technology and basketball analytics has made it easier than ever to share and show what a player can do and the impact that they can have.


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