Re: Report card on +/_
posted at 1/3/2011 1:00 PM EST
In Response to Report card on +/_
[QUOTE]Any time I waste my time looking at the +/_ column in the box score I wonder who invented it and why its there. Its an insult to fans and worse to players, who might be judge on the basis of that wierd statis... no, even calling it a statistic is a mistake. Its not a statistic; its some absurd judgment made by somebody who has the talent of a 2 am barfly. Guys who play perfectly decent game get negative scores because their team lost. Its time the NBA faced up to a big mistake and got rid of the foolish thing.
Posted by genebock[/QUOTE]
Its a perfectly OK statistic to track. You need to know how to read it before you start using it to validate/modify basketball models in your head.
Firstly, you have got to read +/- stats for groups of players. For instance, the Celtics starters will tend to have +s mostly through most games. What is interesting to note is:
1. Do the bench players also have a + statistic?
2. Which player has the largest + magnitude?
3. Which player has the least + magnitude?
For the opposing team, even if their +/- is mostly -, it is still interesting to note who is closest to a + and who is furthest away from it.
If you track the +/- stats over many games and over many matchups, you DO start to see patterns. For instance, I bet the Celtics starting 5 have one of the best +/- stats in the league. For teams where the starting lineups changes a lot (young teams) the coaching staff can use the +/- statistics to get a sense of which starting 5 is the most effective etc.
This statistic is definitely a convoluted and complex measure, but if you know how it is developed, you can figure out what its limitations are and how it should be used.
When I look at boxscores, I ALWAYS look at the +/- statistics for all players before I look at anything else.