The Most Important Stats To Track For Your Basketball Team

By Marcus Hagness
Former Junior High and College Coach, Hillsboro ND
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Statistics are a huge part of sports and basketball is no exception to that statement. Players young and old can recall stats that they recorded, their favorite player recorded, or what someone recorded on them.

How many times have you heard someone start a conversation with, “That night I had 20 at halftime…” or “Remember when [so-and-so] dropped 40 on us?” or “Dude, last night Klay Thompson had 37 points in the third quarter!” in your life?

Tracking and recording stats is important, but if you are a coach the chances are you don’t just look at the big three (points, rebounds, assists).

When looking at a stat sheet, I believe the best stats to look at are the following:

1) Turnover Differential/Assist-To-Turnover Ratio

The first thing you should take a look at is the total turnovers by both teams and see who came out on top. Was it the team that won the game? More often than not, the answer to that is yes. Assist-to-Turnover ratio is the 1a of this first point. Take a look at how many assists the team had versus how many turnovers recorded. A good benchmark to shoot for as a team is at least a 2:1 ratio. In other words, if your team records 10 turnovers, you should have at least 20 assists.

Why is this so important? If your team is getting twice as many assists as turnovers, they are moving the ball and getting good shots much more than they are throwing the ball away. The top teams and point guards in basketball always accomplish this.

2) Rebounding Margin/Offensive Rebounds

Team A pulls down 48 total rebounds, 15 offensive.

Team B pulls down 32 total rebounds, 12 offensive.

Out of 80 total missed shots, team A pulled in 60% of those balls, and gave themselves 15 extra shots, three more than their opponents. So just by rebounding well, team A gained three possessions on team B. Think about all the close games you’ve won and lost as a player that three extra possessions for you or your opponent could change the outcome.

3) Free Throw Differential

Free throws are so important, which isn’t a shock, it tells you more about the game than you think. So the typical goal for a team at the foul line is right in the 70% range. The aggression of a team offensively and discipline of a team defensively can be assessed in the attempts column.

Referees do play a role in this, but typically the more aggressive offensive team goes to the line more. You can tell which team is more aggressive, in terms of attacking the basket and getting the ball inside by comparing three-point attempts to free throw attempts.

4) Assists on Field Goals %

This is something that will tell you how well your team moves the ball and finds the open player.

Anything over 50% is acceptable, but you should be looking for 65% or higher in this category. If your team is under 50% in this category there is a good chance a player like JR Smith plays a lot of minutes for your team.

The thing about all of these statistics is, they’re not sitting there on the stat sheet in a clean little column for you to see. You have to look at multiple areas, do a little math (gasp!) and assess what you get versus what you saw on the floor.

Statistics can tell you a lot about the game in question, but at the end of the day there are many other variables you as a coach have to take into affect. These things are great jumping off points you can use when speaking to your assistant coaches and even your players. It’ll help you adjust a game plan or strategy when it comes to tournament time or rematches with teams throughout the season.

Related Pages & Helpful Resources

Basketball Stats Articles
Using Shot Charts
Basketball Stats & Shot Chart App

Leave your comments, suggestions, and questions below...


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Nick says:
1/3/2024 at 9:35:38 AM

Hi. I like this. Do you know of a tool that can calculate this on the web anywhere?


todd says:
2/8/2023 at 12:31:19 PM

How do you calculate Assists on Field Goals %?


  1 reply  

person says:
2/8/2024 at 7:40:02 AM

if my team scores 12 field goals and 5 of them are assisted you'd do 5/12x100 n get your answer


Turd Furgeson says:
4/2/2022 at 10:36:42 PM

Losers delete comments


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