May 26, 2018

Improved Plus/Minus Stats Through Game 11

I’m not one that thinks I have it all figured out and am always looking for ways to improve the information provided on this site. 

Early in the basketball season I’ve been providing mostly canned stats and my own Plus/Minus stats.

Noticing what appeared to be an outlier – Landry Nnoko’s +15 for the Arizona game – I thought there must be a better way to use this information.  After all, the non-starters are less likely to rack up huge +/- numbers in wins and more likely to have lower +/- numbers in losses.

This didn’t seem to be a valuable metric for bench players and made it hard to compare two players who played substantially different minutes.

Out of this thought process the Plus/Minus Per Minute Played stat was born (at least for this site – I have no idea if someone else actually “invented” it).  It’s a simple calculation, but it tells you not the raw number, which tends to favor or hamper the guys that play more, but the average +/- number per minute played.  This number makes it easier (but not perfect) to compare those who play 26 minutes to those that play 13, for example.

Plus-Minus 122612

What difference does this make, you ask?  If you look at only the raw average (excluding T.J. Sapp) the high to low order for Clemson would look like this:

1. McDaniels

2. Booker

3. Hall

3. Jennings

5. Harrison

6. Filer

7. Roper

7. Nnoko

9. Sullivan


11. Fields

Adding the average minutes played variable to this stat gives us this order:

1. McDaniels

2. Booker

3. Jennings

4. Hall

5. Nnoko

6. Harrison

7. Filer

8. Roper

9. Sullivan


11. Fields

The big winner in the new order is Landry Nnoko with a two spot gain.  The majority of Nnoko’s plus score happened against Arizona.  Nnoko was on the floor for two big Clemson runs despite his lack of a meaningful impact on the box score or game (I don’t even recall him playing that much) so these stats may be skewed, time will tell.

Adonis Filer is an interesting case study.  It’s early in Filer’s career and he has plenty of time to develop, but at this point it’s a bit mystifying why it seemed to be such a given that Filer would have taken playing time away from T.J. Sapp.  

There may be more to the Sapp transfer than simply playing time and Filer may develop into a star for Clemson, which wouldn’t surprise me given his apparent makeup and court demeanor.

Short term, however it’s not even close – in the games in which he played Sapp contributed almost 5 times the value per minute played as Filer is currently providing. 

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