Do Objective Performance Measures Like NGE
Account For Intangible?

Each year, any attempt to explain the team's performance through the compilation of objective performance measurements such as efficiencies, turnover rates, rebounding rates, and the like is met by the same criticisms, including the argument that the numbers do not account for the intangibles. Varioius critics cite different intangibles that render the objective measures either irrelevant or even useless. I will leave it to the reader to fill in the blank on the intangible that he thinks can't be included in the objective performance measures like NGE.

Despite the critics repeated contentions to the contrary, yes they do!!!

It is a myth that the global [macro] numbers do not account for intangibles.

These numbers are global, macro numbers, and they do account for the intangibles to the extent that these intangible factors have an impact upon how the games are actually played. For example, Calipari demonstrated in 2010 that he is a great motivator, and the impact of his motivational work on Cousins is reflected in the total numbers for the game. It is part of what the numbers have come to represent for 2010. If Calipari had been less effective on Cousins and others, the numbers for the team in 2010 would have been worse. Expressed in a more positive light, Calipari's ability to motivate Cousins and others during the season improved the team's overall performance measusres for the season.

The numbers for the season also certainly incorporate Calipari's impacts of his various intangible actions and decisions, do they not? The numbers also incorporate the level of hustle that the individual players gave through the season, the luck involved with some shots that could have gone in but didn't and some that should not have gone in that did. Don't the numbers incorporate the intangibles of certain players who may have lost some focus due to extraneous personal issues from time to time?

As for predicting, or even attempting to predict how a particular player will ever perform in a given game or situation, I have never done that, and never will. I leave that to the real basketball experts, not some silly number cruncher like me, who only puts out worthless clutter that seems to get many people exercised every season.

Frankly, I do not care who scores how many, who commits how many, or who gets how many, only how the collection of players and coaches that comprise the team actually perform as a unit. I rarely look at the individual lines of any box score, only the bottom line for the teams. These bottom line numbers reflect upon how the coach uses his available roster players, and how those players perform when asked to contribute in the games. If a coach consistently makes great player personnel decisions, then that greatness will translate into better overall numbers for the team, and if the coach is a dunce, and is always making poor decisions, then the team's performance will suffer, and the numbers will illustrate that too.

So, the impact of Calipari's coaching, and his coaching decisions is included in the numbers, even though there can't be a specific statistic to isolate that single factor, any more than there can be any statistics to isolate the variability of human performance. It is intangible precisely because there is no isolated statistic that can measure that factor's absolute affect. This is true of all factors that fans describe collectively as “the intangibles.” All coaches, players, and teams must confront unexpected, and tough situations within a game, and over the course of several games. The manner in which they respond is recorded and is a factor in the stats. However, the manner in which they respond is intangible.

The key to understand a team in objective terms is finding the best macro stats to measure that performance by incorporating the tangible and intangible factors into a single or small number of measurements. Some look at scoring averages, offense, and defense. Some look at shooting percentages. Some look at W's and L's. Some look at how many individual players get double figures, or double doubles.

I have landed on one macro stat that does it for me, Net Game Efficiency.

Net Game Efficiency [NGE] is a function of many things including points scored and allowed, shooting percentages of a team and opponents, turnover rates for both, offensive rebounding rates of both, There secondary and tertiary factors that also affect NGE, e.g. the intangibles, can't be measured directly, but their collective impact upon the primary factors is clearly incorporated within those primary factors.

Therefore, NGE does account for the intangibles.

Submitted by Richard Cheeks


What Is Basketball?

What is a Possession?

Change in Position on Definition of Possessions

What Is Net Game Efficiency?

Why Do "Upsets" Occur?

Do Objective Performance Measures Like NGE
Account For Intangible?


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