The amount of information in the form of statistics that is available to the casual NBA fan is staggering, if not downright impressive.
An afternoon can easily be wasted poring over the data available at stats.nba.com, and yet, the league is piloting an attempt to add to its already impressive portfolio of numbers.
From the official release:
This year at Samsung NBA Summer League 2015, the league will be tracking five “hustle stats.” These statistics will be tracked in an attempt to quantify how a player’s effort and intensity, factors we know are important to team success but traditionally have not been formally tracked, affect the outcome of a game. They will be distributed in-game to team personnel, media and broadcasters. Additionally, we’ll also pilot the idea of handing out advanced box scores in-game during NBA Summer League as well.
The five categories of new information that will be immediately available are as follows:
2-Point FG Contested (C2FGA) – Defensive players will be assigned a 2-point FG Contested if they make their presence felt by raising a hand to contest a shot inside the three-point line prior to the release of the ball without fouling or blocking the shot attempt. A 2-Point FG Contested will still be awarded even if the offensive player makes the shot, another player also contests the shot (leading to both players being assigned a 2-Point FG Contested), or the ball is never actually released from the shooter’s hands due to the contest (provided the offensive player demonstrated a clear intent to shoot as opposed to simply pump faking).
3-Point FG Contested (C3FGA) – The same rules of a 2-Point Field Goal Contested apply to a 3-Point Field Goal Contested, except the Field Goal Attempt must be outside the three-point line.
Deflection (DEFL) – A defensive player shall be assigned a deflection upon redirecting the intended flight of the basketball through intentional physical contact on any non-field goal attempt. A deflection is separate from a steal, and does not require either control of the basketball or a change in possession. A kick ball also results in the defending player being awarded a deflection.
Loose-Ball Recovered (LBR) – A player shall be assigned a Loose-Ball Recovered upon gaining sole possession of a live “50/50” ball not controlled by either team. A loose-ball recovery can occur after a deflection, a block, a field goal attempt, or any other situation in which players must exert effort to gain possession of a live ball not directly in their individually controlled area (i.e. the ball does not come directly towards them or the recovery is contested). A loose ball recovery that leads to a jump ball results in half a Loose-Ball Recovered for both players involved in the jump.
Charge (CHRG DR) – The defensive player shall be assigned a Charge Drawn if the offensive player dribbling the basketball charges into an opponent that has established a legal guarding position. This occurrence will be directly called by an official on the floor.
The only one here I don’t like is the “charge drawn” tally, because I would rather see players attempt to play actual defense than try to position themselves to take charges.
(And no, running to a spot where you think the player with the ball will end up, setting up shop and then getting steamrolled by said player does not qualify as playing defense.)
Overall, more information is better in terms of player evaluation. As long as these numbers aren’t used in a vacuum irresponsibly to make inscrutable arguments, they’ll be a welcome addition to the already encyclopedic volume of available intelligence.