Thursday, April 9, 2009

A New Stat, Head and Shoulders Above The Rest

The current hot fad in sports is stats. In the world of basketball stats, many people have tried to boil down an individual player’s contributions to a single number. John Hollinger’s PER (Player Efficiency Rating) is the most popular and well known of these metrics.

As a professional statistician, I understand the myriad flaws of Hollinger’s statistics. However, this economic crisis has been hard on economists and academics. Work is scarce. I have had to scrounge for peanuts at Cirque de Soleil to feed my children. That said, I have recently come into some money because of generous support from an anonymous donor. This has allowed me to perfect my own statistical model, which vastly improves on Hollinger’s methods. I call this statistic the Player Efficiency Rating Triangulation Plus (PERT+).

PERT+ tweaks Hollinger’s formula by adding defensive variables that John has not thought of yet. He has published the PER equation, but it is impossible to understand. Unless you have a PhD, like I do. Some people don’t publish their formulas because they are scared that people will steal them and profit. Well, I am never scared. Here is the final form of my equation:

PERT+ = [uPERT+ * (lgPace/tmPace)] * (15/lguPERT+) + 100KL

In this iteration, the variable KL is a binary variable that equals 1 if the player is Kyle Lowry and 0 if the player is not Kyle Lowry. PERT+ is easy to understand because it uses the same scale as PER, with 15 being the normalized league average. Using the new equation, here are the league leaders in PERT+ for 2008-2009:

Coincidentally, Kyle Lowry’s PERT+ this season is the highest PERT+ of all time. Also, you may be asking how Ricky Rubio’s PERT+ is so high when he hasn’t even played in the NBA. To be honest, I can’t answer that. For some reason, PERT+ loves Ricky Rubio’s flowing locks.

In closing, PERT+ should become a great evaluation tool for years to come. It also sheds insight on this year’s MVP race. It brings up this question: why isn’t Kyle Lowry getting more consideration for MVP? Sure, LeBron James is good. But he’s no Kyle Lowry.

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