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Offensive and Defensive Ratings (Net Rating) - What Do They Tell Us?

In the world of advanced basketball analytics, offensive and defensive ratings are used as a way to track and compare how an individual player affects his or her team's performance. At a basic level, the offensive rating of a player represents how many points a team scores when that player is on the court and the defensive rating for how many points they allow. The two combined (offense-defense) are referred to as the net rating often times written as NETRTG.

Related: What is FTR, What is TOV%, The Difference Between FG% and EFG%

Net rating is the offensive rating minus the defensive rating, but simply put it can be defined as how much better or worse the team is when a specific player is on the court. These ratings are usually on a per X possessions basis. Using possessions rather than minutes eliminates the effects of a team that plays very fast or very slow.