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barbosa

How all Statistics are Counted - A Primer

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I see questions frequently come up on this board with regard to how statistics are compiled. The recent "how steals are attributed" thread is one example. Other questions typically asked are why something is a block and not a steal, who gets credit for a rebound when the ball is tapped, etc. Thought I'd type up this quick guide to help everyone out.

Since it was recently brought up, I'll start with steals.

Steals:

A steal is made when a defender's aggressive action causes a turnover by either taking the ball away from the offensive player, intercepting a pass, or deflecting the ball away.

Key: The steal is always credited to the defender who initially disrupted the ball. It is never given to his teammate who corralled or ultimately recovered the ball.

Example: Kobe Bryant drives toward the hoop and the defender guarding him, Arron Afflalo, deflects Bryant's dribble without outright taking the ball from Bryant. The ball becomes loose and there's a scramble eventually culminating in Ty Lawson finally recovering the ball and running off for a fast break. Arron Afflalo will be given the steal, NOT Ty Lawson. Afflalo initiated the chain of events the result of which was a turnover -- even though the final benefactor was Lawson -- and is therefore given due credit for the steal.

Blocks:

A block is counted any time a defender rejects or deflects a field goal attempt. What is a field goal attempt? When an offensive player makes an upward and/or forward motion toward the basket with the intention of trying for a goal. This language is key because it means there can be a blocked shot even if the ball does not leave the offensive player's hand. The ball does not have to be in flight.

Example: John Wall pulls up to the left elbow, clearly gets into his shooting motion preparing to make a field goal attempt, and before he can even bring his arms fully up above his shoulders to release the ball, DeAndre Jordan knocks the ball out of his hands. Jordan is credited with a block.

Block vs. steal: If the ball is rejected or deflected in mid-flight, it is obviously a block. If, as in the above example, however, the ball has not left the player's hands, the question arises as to whether the turnover is considered a block or a steal. To answer that question, the statistician asks himself whether the player was attempting a field goal or not. There is some subjectivity here and it is ultimately up to the statistician's discretion. If he feels the player was attempting a shot, the rejection/deflection is considered a block. If he feels no shot was being attempted, the rejection/deflection is considered a steal.

Rebound after the block: Unless the ball goes out of bounds after a blocked shot, a rebound has to be credited toward someone. If the person blocking the shot subsequently also corrals and maintains control of the ball, he is given credit for both a block and a rebound. If the blocked ball becomes loose and someone else corrals the ball, that person -- not the blocker -- is given credit for the rebound.

Made field goal: It goes without saying that even if a ball is severely deflected but still manages to go in, no block is counted.

Rebounds:

A rebound is credited when a player controls the recovery of the ball after a field goal attempt has been missed. Unlike with steals, the credit for a rebound is given to the player who "controls" the ball. "Control" is key here. If a loose ball is tapped up in the air by several players, the rebound is credited to the final player who ultimately corrals the ball.

It is important to note that you don't have to come down with the ball in order to be credited with a rebound. If a player taps the ball up in the air and mid-tap decides to pass the ball to his teammate, the tapper is credited with a rebound if the statistician feels he had "control" over the ball before making the pass.

Offensive rebounds and shot attempts: You'll often see a player like Kevin Love tap a ball at the rim, miss, tap again, miss, tap again, and finally make the ball. If the statistician felt each tap was a put-back attempt, then obviously each one is considered an additional rebound as you need control (rebound) over a ball before attempting a shot with it.

Note: If there is doubt as to whether a put-back tap is an actual attempt (and therefore first a rebound), the statistician presumes it's a rebound and a shot if the ball hits the rim or backboard.

Assists:

An assist is credited to a player who passes to a teammate directly leading to that player scoring. What is considered "directly leading to" can be a bit murky and is open to interpretation by statisticians. In order to be considered an assist, the player who scores must have shown an immediate reaction toward the basket upon receiving the pass.

It is important to note that the issue is not about duration of time but rather amount of action taken.

Example 1: Chris Paul passes the ball to Caron Butler, at the top of the key, who immediately shoots and makes the 15-foot jumper. Chris Paul is credited with an assist.

Example 2: Chris Paul passes the ball to Caron Butler, at the top of the key, who immediately beats his man off the dribble and lays it in. It took Butler 5 dribbles and 3 seconds to accomplish this. Chris Paul is still credited with an assist because Butler always had the intention to attempt a shot after receiving the pass, even though it took him some time to pull it off.

Example 3: Chris Paul passes the ball to Caron Butler, at the top of the key. Butler pauses, thinks about whether to pass to Chauncey Billups (as clearly indicated by a half-motion toward Billups) or to take the shot himself. He ultimately decides to take the shot himself, and makes it. Chris Paul is not given an assist as Butler did not show an immediate reaction toward an attempt after receiving the pass.

Example 4: Chris Paul steals the ball on the other end of the court and passes it to a breakaway Blake Griffin at the halfcourt line. Griffin dribbles half the length of the court -- a full 47 feet -- and takes 4 seconds to get to the rim for a dunk. Chris Paul is still credited with an assist as Griffin showed an immediate reaction toward the basket, as far away as it was, after receiving Paul's pass.

Turnovers:

A turnover is any mistake caused by an offensive player that gives the defensive team possession of the ball without taking a field goal attempt. Having your shot blocked is not a turnover, as that is a field goal attempt. Having your ball stolen, however, is a turnover.

It is important to note that a player has to have caused the violation himself to be credited with a turnover. If a player happens to be holding a ball when the 24-second shot clock has expired, this is not a player's turnover. It is a team turnover.

However, if a player is in the paint for 3-seconds, this is a turnover he, and only he, has caused, and is therefore credited with a personal turnover. Same thing goes for offensive fouls.

The player causing the turnover must have had possession of the ball to be credited with a turnover.

Example: John Wall passes the ball to JaVale McGee a little too strongly and, while McGee does grab at the ball and even touch it before it goes out of bounds, the turnover is credited to Wall since he was the last player to have had control of the ball.

Hope this helps, fellas.

Source: The definitions are loosely taken from the FIBA statistics manual (link: http://www.fiba.com/asp_includes/download.asp?file_id=554).

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I've got a few questions:

If a player is fouled in the act of shooting and makes it then it counts as a made field goal. If he is fouled and he misses then it doesn't count towards those numbers, right? Also, what happens if the shot is blocked, does that count as the defensive player's block? Does it then count as a missed field goal?

If a player tips a ball towards the basket but the tip does not go in, does it count as a missed field goal? Does it count as an offensive rebound?

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I've got a few questions:

If a player is fouled in the act of shooting and makes it then it counts as a made field goal. If he is fouled and he misses then it doesn't count towards those numbers, right?

If he is fouled in the act of shooting, and makes it, it counts as a field goal attempt and a make. If he is fouled and misses, however, nothing is counted at all. It's as if the shot never took place.

Also, what happens if the shot is blocked, does that count as the defensive player's block? Does it then count as a missed field goal?

It does not matter if, during the act of shooting while being fouled, the shot is blocked. If it does not go in, there still is no field goal attempt. And since there is no field goal attempt, there is no block.

If a player tips a ball towards the basket but the tip does not go in, does it count as a missed field goal? Does it count as an offensive rebound?

I tried to explain this in the Kevin Love example. It depends on whether the statistician feels the tip was an actual control-then-field-goal-attempt rather than just a scrambling tap up in the air. If as a result of the tip, the ball hits the rim or backboard, the statistician tends to presume it was an actual offensive rebound and an attempt. If the attempt does not go in, of course, it is a missed field goal.

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I tried to explain this in the Kevin Love example. It depends on whether the statistician feels the tip was an actual control-then-field-goal-attempt rather than just a scrambling tap up in the air. If as a result of the tip, the ball hits the rim or backboard, the statistician tends to presume it was an actual offensive rebound and an attempt. If the attempt does not go in, of course, it is a missed field goal.

Must have missed that part, thank you.

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Must have missed that part, thank you.

No problem bro. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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So if Affalo deflects the ball off Kobe's foot/body and out of bounds, is that a Steal for Afflalo and a TO for Kobe?

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So if Affalo deflects the ball off Kobe's foot/body and out of bounds, is that a Steal for Afflalo and a TO for Kobe?

My bad, I should have been clearer on this. To be considered a steal, the disruptive action must lead to the turnover before the ball goes dead.

In your example, the ball goes dead when it goes out of bounds, and is therefore not a steal for Afflalo. However, it is a "personal violation" on Bryant, and Bryant is therefore credited with a turnover.

This reminds me of a situation you'll sometimes see with Jumpballs. In fact, I'll edit the original post to reflect this.

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Barbosa,

Just wanted to drop in and say thank you for taking the time to write this. There are threads/posts on this constantly and I believe it warrants a sticky.

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Guess it's too late to make an edit.

Wanted to add something to the Turnovers section having to do with jumpballs.

Jumpballs and turnovers: If a player is tied up, and a jumpball is called, a turnover is credited to the offensive player if the defensive player ends up winning the jumpball.

Example: Monta Ellis holds the ball at the top of the key, gets stripped by Dwyane Wade, causing a loose ball. Ellis and Wade both dive on the ground for the ball, and both end up holding the ball, causing a jumpball. Wade subsequently wins the jumpball. A turnover is credited to Ellis. Had Ellis won the jumpball, obviously no turnover would be credited as the offensive player would have maintained possession.

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I feel as flops should be called as a personal foul. Arguably, even a technical---when warranted.

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Have a question about assists. T-Wolves game the other night with less then 2 seconds left in the game. Ridnour inbounds the ball to Love who makes the three point shot. Does Ridnour get credit for an assist even though the play started from out of bounds?

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Have a question about assists. T-Wolves game the other night with less then 2 seconds left in the game. Ridnour inbounds the ball to Love who makes the three point shot. Does Ridnour get credit for an assist even though the play started from out of bounds?

Yes.

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i disagree with one of your definitions of turnover...i believe that if a player makes a good pass and his teammate does not catch it, the turnover gets credited to the player who didn't catch the pass. for instance, kwame brown used to fumble a lot of great passes and many dimes have squirted out of his hands and out of bounds....in this case, kwame would usually be credited with the turnover.

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Guess it's too late to make an edit.

Wanted to add something to the Turnovers section having to do with jumpballs.

Jumpballs and turnovers: If a player is tied up, and a jumpball is called, a turnover is credited to the offensive player if the defensive player ends up winning the jumpball.

Example: Monta Ellis holds the ball at the top of the key, gets stripped by Dwyane Wade, causing a loose ball. Ellis and Wade both dive on the ground for the ball, and both end up holding the ball, causing a jumpball. Wade subsequently wins the jumpball. A turnover is credited to Ellis. Had Ellis won the jumpball, obviously no turnover would be credited as the offensive player would have maintained possession.

To add to that point, Wade also would be credited with a steal in that situation.

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i disagree with one of your definitions of turnover...i believe that if a player makes a good pass and his teammate does not catch it, the turnover gets credited to the player who didn't catch the pass. for instance, kwame brown used to fumble a lot of great passes and many dimes have squirted out of his hands and out of bounds....in this case, kwame would usually be credited with the turnover.

You're both right and wrong. A lot of it is up to the discretion of the statistician. The Wall to McGee example I gave in my initial post was a scenario where Wall passed a "little too strongly," putting McGee in a position where he couldn't reasonably receive the pass. The ball, in other words, scraped his hands as it lasered out of bounds. Turnover on Wall.

Kwame Brown is an interesting example cause he was so notorious for having small hands, and just not being able to catch even simple passes. In these cases, where a player like Brown catches the ball but in the act of catching fumbles it out of bounds, the statistician likely presumed Brown had momentary 'control' of the ball and a split second later, through incompetence and small hands, lost it out of bounds. Hence, a turnover for Brown.

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To add to that point, Wade also would be credited with a steal in that situation.

Indeed. Props for pointing that out rico.

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Using this as a question and answer thread. Growing up in a small MN town basketball wasn't one of the big sporting events in winter so my knowledge is more then slightly lacking. Most times when reading a box score I can figure out what most abbreviations stand for by looking at what position the player played and going from there. However what does BS stand for (not the obvious I'm sure). and then the next one is BA (and I'm pretty sure it isn't batting average) ?

And thanks for the help.

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Using this as a question and answer thread. Growing up in a small MN town basketball wasn't one of the big sporting events in winter so my knowledge is more then slightly lacking. Most times when reading a box score I can figure out what most abbreviations stand for by looking at what position the player played and going from there. However what does BS stand for (not the obvious I'm sure). and then the next one is BA (and I'm pretty sure it isn't batting average) ?

And thanks for the help.

BS is blocked shots, the number of a shots a player has blocked.

BA is blocked attempts, the number of a player's shots who have been blocked by someone else. You obviously don't want your player to have these as they are missed field goals.

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Using this as a question and answer thread. Growing up in a small MN town basketball wasn't one of the big sporting events in winter so my knowledge is more then slightly lacking. Most times when reading a box score I can figure out what most abbreviations stand for by looking at what position the player played and going from there. However what does BS stand for (not the obvious I'm sure). and then the next one is BA (and I'm pretty sure it isn't batting average) ?

And thanks for the help.

BS= Blocked Shot

BA= Blocked Against

Example:

Nate Robinson blocks Yao Mings' shot.

The BS goes to Nate Robinson

The BA goes to Yao Ming

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BS= Blocked Shot

BA= Blocked Against

Example:

Nate Robinson blocks Yao Mings' shot.

The BS goes to Nate Robinson

The BA goes to Yao Ming

Oops, you're right. BA is Blocked against, not Blocked attempts. Same meaning though. ;)

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In the NFL the player who recovers the fumble gets the fumble recovery, not the player who knocked it out. Different circumstance because there is no "steal forced" category, but I think the guy who gets the ball gets the steal.

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I run stat crew for a top 25 college team, and blocks are something that can be somehwhat arbitrary. Technically, we can award a block to a player that doesn't touch the ball, but forces the offensive player to alter their shot in a manner that leads to a miss. I don't think I've ever awarded a block on that, but it could happen.

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