This post explains a series inspired by halfspaces.com’s +/- soccer ratings. Ben from halfspaces.com has come up with the +/- rating system to increase the objectivity of how he views players: he meticulously re-watches soccer matches, giving players a rating for standout events, good, bad, and ugly. Scores for each play range from -5 to +5, with the vast majority in from -2 to +2. Add up the total points for each player, and it becomes clear who has had a standout game. This system can even measure up a player who does lots of little things right, accruing constant +1’s with few negatives against flashy players that garner higher positives but more negatives.
So how can we adapt this system to College Basketball? Hopefully, almost directly! I suspect these rankings won’t be as reliable as when I get more experienced, but they provide a nice, semi-objective way to discuss player performance over the course of a game and over the course of the season. Once FSU gets more games under its belt, I’ll post graphs displaying trends over time.
General Scoring Guidelines:
+3: A fantastic play, almost single-handedly leading to a basket
+2: A great play, usually the equivalent of gaining single-handedly gaining a possession
+1: A standout play, such as a great screen freeing up a driver or a great pass, usually helps the team gain a possession
-1: A poor play, such as poor positioning on defense or taking a bad shot on offense, usually leads to loss of a possession
-2: A bad play, such as missing a rotation or a bad turnover, usually single-handedly losing a possession
-3: A terrible play, such as a terrible live-ball turnover that single-handedly leads to losing a basket
There is a lot of room for subjectivity here: Should a player automatically gain a point for a made shot? My notes will be relatively “shooting-neutral”. That is, because shooting in general is fraught with variability, players making or missing open shots won’t be awarded or penalized. On the other hand, missing open lay-ups will be penalized and making difficult shots will be rewarded (though points may be docked for taking a difficult shot in the first place).
Also, in the scoring guidelines I abuse the terms “a possession” and “a basket” loosely. “A possession” is more akin to “a play that would expect to change possessions” whether that is necessarily so, such as taking a charge, or not always true, such as a highly contested rebound rebound. “A basket” is similar, where it need not always lead to two or three extra points on the scoreboard.