This is the golden age of statistics in basketball. Every stat geek has some home brewed stat they are hocking as the indicator of player performance, while every columnist has their go to stats and their throw away stats. And yet, it seems to me that even in this golden age of statistics we often miss the forest for the trees. Quite often when I am reading an article that is trying to highlight a stat to give an important insight, I can immediately think of several situations where that stat would be misleading. Yet, when I go out and try to prove my point with some counter stats I often find that those situations I have thought of aren't really cataloged in any easily identifiable way. Which brings me to the point of this post; what are the most useful stats that aren't supplied yet? I'll start by giving a few that I think should be there, but mostly I am interested in what other people would like to see.
To make this a little more focused right off the bat lets throw out advanced stats. So only stats that are directly measurable (or the stats corresponding percentages). Think OREB%, rather than TS% or PER. Second, it helps the discussion if you can illustrate why you think the stat is important, so maybe provide a little background into what types of situations would be illuminated by the new stat.
Ok so on to my picks. If these already exist it is obviously Stern's fault for not branding them correctly.
1) FG% broken down by assisted/unassisted and by range. So you would have a shot chart of FG% for assisted shots and shot chart of FG% on unassisted shots.
This one stems mostly from the recent article bemoaning Aldridge's lower TS%. Several people have offered nice counter arguments but one that I think is the most interesting is that a lot of Portland's offense relies on Aldridge setting up his own shot on the block. So his FG% suffers because he has to create his own shot (which is obviously more difficult in than hitting an open layup/jumpshot off a collapsed defense) and because he starts further out to accommodate Lopez inside and prevent the hard double. Really what I'm saying is that I don't care that DeAndre can shoot 70% on mostly uncontested dunks. What I'd like to know is how efficient a player is when given the ball on offense, with a set defense, and they have to make their own shot.
2) FT adjusted FG%. As in a FGA and a FGM that results in a FT is not counted towards FG%.
Maybe this is how it's done already but it always seemed ridiculous to me that we count shots where the shooter was fouled against a players FG%. This one has the downside in that it will be tainted by ref's giving superstar calls, but I think it would be interesting anyway. I'm especially interested in players like Lillard and Mathews who have a rep for not finishing amazingly well around the rim. How much of that is because teams would rather take the hard foul then give up the easy bucket?
3) Hockey Assists.
Personally I think every person that's part of a swing rotation to an open shooter on the far side should get an assist. Maybe have time possessed be the breaking point. If anyone holds the ball longer than 1 second then it breaks the hockey assist chain. It would also be ok if they were their own category though. Maybe the originator gets the regular assist (since they setup the play), and everyone in-between gets a hockey assist.
That's enough to get started I guess. I'll post more later in the comics as I think of them.