The Misleading Nature of +/- Numbers

It's not that Boston's bench underperformed last year. In fact, the unit's plus-minus rating (+522) was the best by any bench in the NBA. But simply out-performing opponents' reserves wasn't good enough for the Celtics. Boston's backups needed to alleviate the starters' workload – a unit that averaged 166.8 minutes per game (ninth highest in the NBA). If the 'Big 3' are to be fresh come playoff time – particularly Kevin Garnett – the reserves need to play more than their cumulative 75.6 minutes per game from a season ago.


TheHoopsWorld article later noted that Rasheed Wallace used only 11% of his 10.9 field goals per game in the paint. I'd say it looks like we'll have a repeat of that performance this year.


Anonymous said...

Are you saying the author mis-represented +/-? I think he did a good job of showing that it doesn't mean as much if the sample size is too small. For individual players it can be useless, but it's helpful when discussing 5-man units like he is doing here.

Lex said...

No. I'm just saying our bench wasn't the greatest last year, and yet our bench was number 1 in +/- stats. There were better benches, and thus if +/- stats were more accurate, our bench wouldn't have been #1

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