Basketball Statistics & Analytics

Halie King Statistician

In the past, basketball statistics were a luxury available only to professional and major college teams. For the average coach, statistics were a nightmare, requiring great amounts of time and effort in acquiring and training statisticians and then manually compiling the various stats and percentages. For most coaches stats were just not worth all the effort. But, computers have changed all of this. They have taken the huge burden and responsibility of statistics off the coaches’ back, while providing them a wealth of information that coaches only a decade ago dreamed about. And, the best news of all is that the same software that is currently being used on the university and professional teams is now available for any team on any levels. There are even tablet and hand held versions available.

To be of value, though, statistics must be accurate. Inaccurate or incomplete stats have about as much value as no stats at all. Today’s software programs insure accuracy in stat keeping. By using prompts, they actually lead statisticians into making correct data entry. No longer will there be score sheets with more rebounds than missed shots, more steals than turnovers, or more assists than made shots. Software programs, such as Cybersports for basketball, also have built in logic and powerful editing capabilities along with intensive built in help utilities that include official rules and guidelines. In addition, instant cumulative or season statistics are also now available, a task that once took weeks to achieve.

Official Statistics Rules and Guidelines


A field goal attempt is credited to a player anytime the ball is shot, thrown, or trapped at the proper basket. The act of shooting begins with the shooting motion and ends when the ball has left the shooter’s hand.

A field goal attempt is not credited when a player is fouled in the act of shooting and the try is unsuccessful.

A field goal attempt is not credited when an official rules that a foul occurred prior to the attempt.

A field goal attempt is not credited when an official rules that a violation occurred prior to the attempt.

A field goal attempt is not credited when offensive basket interference or goal tending occurs on the try.

A field goal attempt is not charged if a shot is taken near the expiration of time for a period or shot clock when the shot is not made and the shot was either a desperation attempt or not a reasonable attempt to make a field goal.

Blocked shots are counted as field goal attempts.


A field goal made is credited to a player when an attempt is successful or when an official awards points for defensive basket interference or goal tending.

A made field goal is credited when a player tips the ball into the basket.

A made goal is credited when a player is fouled in the act of shooting and the try is successful.

When a field goal is made at the wrong basket, it is mentioned as a footnote, and is not credited to any individual player.

A field goal made is not credited when a defensive player tips the ball into the basket, but instead is mentioned as a footnote.


A rebound is credited to a player or team every time a field goal or free-throw attempt is unsuccessful. A rebound is credited to a player when:

A player who immediately gains possession of the ball after a missed shot.

A jumper whose team gains possession on a jump ball situation created by two opposing players rebounding the ball simultaneously.

A player who tips a missed shot in an attempt to score.

A player on a tap-out if a teammate receives the ball; otherwise, to the opponent gaining possession.

A player retrieving a blocked shot.

Team Rebounds are credited to a team when:

A missed or blocked shot goes directly out of bounds or is deflected out of bounds before individual player possession can be established.

A free-throw attempt misses the rim completely, and the ball is awarded out of bounds.

A missed shot bounces over the backboard or touches a guide wire or support of the backboard.

Dead Ball rebounds are credited to a team when:

Possession is retained after a missed free-throw attempt which is followed by another attempt.

Possession is retained after a missed technical foul shot.

Time expires prior to a player or team gaining possession of a missed shot.

A foul occurs on a missed shot and the ball becomes dead before a player or team can gain possession.

A rebound is not credited on a missed shot when:

A player is fouled in the act of shooting and the try is unsuccessful.

A player is awarded a substitute free-throw because the opposing team committed a free-throw violation.

An official rules that a foul or violation occurred prior to the attempt.

A team is awarded two points on defensive goal tending or basket interference.


A steal is credited to a defensive player who is directly responsible for causing an opponent’s turnover. Steals are credited to a defensive player who:

Intercepts or deflects to a teammate an opponent’s pass.

Takes the ball away from a dribbler or taps the dribble to a teammate.

Takes away or taps the ball to a teammate from an opponent who is holding it.

Taps the ball or deflects a pass off an opponent out of bounds.

Creates a held ball by grasping the ball while an opponent is holding it, and the defensive team gains possession.

Steals are not credited when:

The opponent’s turnover is caused by a violation (traveling, double dribble, etc.).

The turnover is a result of an offensive foul.


An assist is credited to an offensive player whose pass, in the statistician’s judgment, is directly responsible for a for the principal pass that resulted in a successful field goal. The pass needs to be a major portion of the play in order for an assist to be given. Assists are not dependent on the degree of difficulty however an assist should be more than a routine pass that just happens to be followed by a field goal. Every made field goal could have an assist except for any unassisted play such as:

A successful tip or rebound shot.

A successful field goal following a steal when no passing occurs.

An assist may be given on a successful field goal attempt by a player after he dribbles, if a pass contributed directly to the dribble and resulting basket.

An assist is usually but not always credited to the player making the last pass prior to the successful field goal.

Only one assist may be credited for each successful field goal.

On situations where multiple passes lead to a successful field goal, the statistician must judge or determine which pass contributed most.


A turnover is credited to an offensive player whose actions are directly responsible for losing ball possession to the opposing team prior to shooting. When a team has gained control of the ball or having become entitled to the ball does not put the ball in flight for a try at a field goal before an opponent gains control of the ball - then a turnover situation exists.

Individual turnovers are credited when:

An offensive player who loses the ball to an opponent while holding, dribbling, passing or receiving.

An offensive player who is called for a violation (traveling, double dribble, etc.) by an official and the ball is awarded to the opposing team.

A player who commits a personal foul or is called for a technical foul while team has or is entitled to possession of ball.

A team turnover is credited when:

A team is in or entitled to possession of the ball, and a technical is called on the coach or the bench.

If no player can be judged responsible then the team is charged with the turnover.

Turnovers are not credited when:

A double violation or a double foul occurs, and ball possession is retained.

A violation occurs during the first of a two shot foul.


A free throw attempt shall be credited anytime a player shoots a free throw.

A free throw attempt is not credited when an official disallows a free throw attempt because of a violation by the shooter or a teammate.

A missed free throw attempt is not credited when the shooter is awarded a substitute throw because of a free throw violation by the opposing team.

A free throw attempt is not credited when a double violation results in a jump ball.

A free throw attempt is credited when the ball fails to touch the rim on the attempt.


A Free throw made is credited to a player when the attempt is successful or when an official awards one point because of defensive goal tending or basket interference.


Cybersports for Basketball

More than Just Stats- What the Reports Tell

No longer are coaches limited to the basic raw statistics. Box score reports have now been enhanced to include quick look team comparison stats, such as rebound percentages, second effort points, and points scored off turnovers. In addition, a host of easy to read reports are produced such as shot charts, leader reports, line up analyses, detailed play by play, team goals, and graphical team comparisons. New statistics, such as Defensive Assists, Defensive Stops, and Fouls Drawn are also now being captured.


Total points scored are important to the final score. However, how the points are achieved is of the utmost importance for future play. Scoring breakdown include: Points per Possession, Points per Shot, Lay-up Points, 3 Point Scoring, Free Throw Points, Points in the Paint, 2nd Chance Points, Points off Turnovers, and Bench Points. In addition, game, team and individual player shots are available. These shot charts are powerful reports. They graphically illustrate the exact shot locations. Teams and players have a tendency to prefer to shoot from certain areas. Some teams will predominately use one side of the court. Individual players will have favorite spots along with weak spots.

Fouls Drawn

This new stat captures the number of times a player is fouled. Hard to guard players obviously draw the most fouls.


The number of total rebounds are of little value. Offensive and defensive rebounding are two distinct endeavors that must be evaluated separately. Offensive rebounding primarily relies on agility and individual effort, while defensive rebounding requires strength and total team effort. In addition, the number of offensive and defensive rebounds does not tell you anything. Evaluating rebounding requires the use of rebounding percentages along with second effort points.

To analyze a team’s defensive rebounding performance coaches must look at the team’s defensive rebounding percentage (Def Rebs/Def Rebs + Opponent Off Rebs) along with the points allowed on second efforts. A good defensive rebounding goal is +67%. Note: A team can play tremendous defense forcing an opponent into a bad or rush shot, but this defensive effort will be wasted any time the offense is allowed to rebound the missed shot. Defensive rebounding is also a key to a good transition game.

Where defensive rebounds are a MUST, offensive rebounds are a BONUS. To evaluate a team’s offensive rebounding performances coaches must look at the team’s offensive rebounding percentages (Off Rebs/Off Rebs + Opponent Def Rebs) along with the points scored on second efforts. Over 50% of field goal attempts and 35% of free throws are missed. Normally, a team should strive to obtain 40% of their missed shots. Very rarely will a team ever win a game getting one shot per offensive possession. Big offensive rebounding numbers, usually, indicate poor shooting. If you don’t have great shooters, you better have great offensive rebounders.

Offensive rebounds are not enough. Teams must take full advantage and score off their offensive rebounds. In a national televised game between Louisville and Kentucky, during halftime, announcers were pointing out the offensive rebounding dominance of Louisville who were offensively out rebounding Kentucky 13 to 5. However, they forgot to look at one very important stat - Second Effort Points. Kentucky, although being out rebound on the offensive end of the court, out scored Louisville 8 to 6 on Second Effort Points. To be successful you must score!


Similar to points scored and rebounds, the number of turnovers is a misleading statistic. For turnover statistics to be of value the number of offensive possessions must be considered. Turnovers percentage (turnovers/possessions) is the true indication of a team’s ball handling performance. Normally, you would like to keep your turnovers percentage under 10%. However, if you play an up-tempo game you can expect a higher turnover percentage (15% to 20%). This higher turnover percentage, in most cases, is offset by a higher field goal percentage resulting from more transition lay-ups.

When analyzing ball handling performance, it is also vital to look at the number of opponent points allowed off turnovers. Similar to an offensive rebound, teams must capitalize and score off turnovers for them to be of value. If a team recovers and makes a defensive stop after a turnover, that turnover is canceled or erased.

Offensive Charges

Anticipating and taking an offensive charge is a "Really Big Play" (RBP) in basketball especially at the end of a close game. It not only takes away a potential basket and creates an offensive turnover but it also assesses the offensive player with an additional penalty of a personal foul.

Defensive Stops

Defensive Stops are the determining factor of any game. All the scoring in the world will do you little good if you don’t keep the other team from scoring. A Defensive Stop is a possession in which the opponent team does not score. Defensive Stops occur as result of offensive turnovers and defensive rebounds. Defensive Stops don’t just happen. They are a product of solid defensive play.

Lineup Combinations

The Lineup Combination reports are an exciting tool to assist coaches in tracking and evaluating the effectiveness of various lineups used during a game or season. Often times, a player may not have any significant statistics, yet their presence on the floor is vital and they are consistently listed in the top lineup reports. On the other hand, players with big scoring and rebounding numbers can, on occasions, actually be detrimental to a team and will be listed in negative or non-productive lineups.

Lineup analysis include: Most Used, Most Productive, Best Rebounding, Best Defensive, Best to Make a Defensive Stop, Best to Force Turnovers, etc. The lineup analysis reports are also a valuable scouting tool. Knowing the most used lineups that your opponent uses is definitely a big advantage.



To return to Main Menu - Click Here