The Top Four Stats to track that will help you focus on winning basketball games

SportsVisio Team
Oct 2022

The first four Key stats give you an instant understanding of what's happening in the game and can know if you're winning or losing.

The game of basketball is really simple! To win you need more points than the other team so either need to shoot a higher percentage or take more shots than your opponent. That's all you can do. That's the only way to win. Shoot more, Shoot better.

Let's take a look at the top 4 Key shooting stats...

KPI Stat #1 - Field Goal Attempts (FGA)

If you take more field goal attempts than your opponent takes (meaning take more shots), then you have a good chance to win games. You can sometimes win if your shooting percentage is lower than your opponent. Many times defense wins championships but you have to score to win.

Creating more shot attempts is Key. If you're having a bad shooting night, you better have a team that is capable of getting more FG attempts than the opponent! (two stats a track behind this is offensive rebounds +/- and turnover percentage +/-)

That's why you need to know if your team is getting more FG attempts or not. It's a must know stat: +/- FGA 

Now you don't always have to get more FG attempts than your opponent. For example, if you're shooting 87% and your opponent is only shooting 25%, then you probably won't be getting more FG attempts than your opponent (due to fewer offensive rebounding opportunities).

FG attempts are key and then immediately look at the next stat to put things in perspective.

KPI Stat #2 - Effective Field Goal Percentage (EFG%)

Effective Field Goal percentage shows who is shooting better. EFG% rolls shooting into one number. It gives more credit to made 3 point field goals since they yield 1.5 times the scoring of a 2 point field goal. The formula is [EFG% = (2Pt + 1.5 x 3Pt) / FGA]

If you can shoot a higher EFG% than your opponent, it increases your chances of winning the game. EFG% is a great way to objectively see if you are shooting better than your opponent or not.

EFG% affects many areas of the game. A good percentage means less defensive rebounds and will help you cut down your opponent′s fast break opportunities -- which allows your defense to get set and should lead to less personal fouls being committed.(which leads into Key stat #3)

If your FGA and EFG% are about the same as your opponent, make sure you win the next two Key stats.

KPI Stat #3 - Free Throw Attempts (FTA)

This stat will track free throw attempts. Of course shooting more free throws is good for a variety of reasons. For one, getting to the line gives you a "free shot" and means the opponent has more fouls. (creating fouls could also help your EFG% if opponent has to bench a good defender)

Defensively, if your team is fouling more it keeps your team from fast breaks in transition, can get your key players in foul trouble(sitting instead of playing), and erases all your hard work on defensive possessions with easy uncontested point attempts by the opponent.

KPI Stat #4 - Free Throw Percentage (FT%)

Free throw percentage is the last piece of the puzzle, this final stat gives you the rest of the story and helps you determine where points are coming from.

Comparing to Your Opponent

With these 4 Key stats and comparing them to your opponent, you can always tell whether you are winning or losing a game. These KEY Performance Indicators (KPI's) are the highest level stats that coaches can look for each game. 

Again, if you can beat your opponent in the 4 Key stats above, you will always win the game. It's impossible for you to lose.

If Winning is the goal... look to win in at least 3 out of those 4 key stats, and you'll do just fine!

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