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Layups: The Most Accurate Adjusted +/- Yet

Posted by Neil Paine on November 4, 2009 has debuted a method of calculating adjusted +/- with the lowest standard errors yet. If you want the gory mathematical details, go here and here first, but if you just want the results, check out the 3-year version and the single-year 2008-09 results... A (very) brief synopsis: Kevin Garnett and Lamar Odom? They're really good. Josh Powell and Antonio Daniels? Er, not so much.

8 Responses to “Layups: The Most Accurate Adjusted +/- Yet”

  1. Simon Says:

    Matt Bonner was a top ten player? Confusion...

  2. P Middy Says:

    The problem with +/- and a lot of non-traditional stats that look at how the team is doing with and without a player is that they never take into account what the other team is doing at the time. Or even what the players team is doing at the time. For example, couldn't Bonner's +/- be high just because he is out there whenever Duncan and Parker are? (don't know if that is actually the case) Too much going on at once in Basketball. It's not baseball where you constantly have a 1-on-1 situation.

    The more I dive into these per and +/- and other complicated stats, the more I think the good old boxscore tells me what I need to know.

    I am in favor of keeping track of more non-calculated stats though. For example, in addition to steals, keep swipes too (knocking the ball away, leading to a steal). Keep track of charges taken. etc . . .

  3. Jason J Says:

    Adjusted +/- does attempt to filter for the effect of teammates and strength of opponent, but it murks things up with a pretty sizable standard of error that results.

    I was just thinking I should run some +/- on some old Bulls games I have, since in my head if Jordan comes out looking like the king of the world it makes it much easier to trust a metric. I've got the entire 1991 finals. It would take forever, but it would be interesting to see. I have a feeling someone like Bill Cartwright who never had to play a single possession w/out Jordan and Pippen on the court might have the best raw +/- of anybody.

  4. P Middy Says:

    It seems when judging players, in the end, it comes down to watching the footage. It always does. I have been long awaiting the day that the NBA opens its full game library to pay-per-game content distribution. I want to SEE Wilt do his thing for 48 minutes. I want to see what it looks like when Oscar triple doubles in back-to-back-to-back games. I need it.

  5. Jason J Says:

    I hear you. Think of all the Showtime fastbreaks I'm not watching right now. The Dreamshakes. The Iceman fingerrolls. The Shaq / Penny dunk-a-thons. The Robert Parish three little step rainbow jumpers.

  6. BP Says:

    What team does "Home Court Advantage" play for again? Nice to know what home court advantage is actually worth. It's a shot from behind the arc.

  7. Gerrit Says:


    Do you know if Adjusted Plus/Minus takes into account position?
    For instance, could Lamar Odom's unexpectedly high APM be due to the fact that when he is in the game Pau Gasol is not playing PF, but is instead at Center where he seems to be better?

  8. Neil Paine Says:

    No, position is not taken into account. It's sometimes tough to say what position a guy is playing, and positional designations are arbitrary. Adjusted +/- is trying to be as non-arbitrary as possible.