Why PER is a Disgrace to Basketball

Many people come to Detroit Bad Boys and base their ideas off of one stat and one stat only, PER. There seems to be a common misconception that you can break down the box score of a basketball game, assign each statistic a value, do some arithmetic and come out with a number that quantifies a basketball players value to his team.

This is wrong on many levels, first of all, PER is measuring an individual player. I don't care if a player is getting steals to help his PER, I'd rather have a perimeter defender who can stop the opposing team from getting into the lane at will. A point guard who is an elite perimeter defender can get less steals than a player like Monta Ellis who plays awful defense but gets steals.

This is how PER is calculated:

uPER = (1 / MP) *
     [ 3P
     + (2/3) * AST
     + (2 - factor * (team_AST / team_FG)) * FG
     + (FT *0.5 * (1 + (1 - (team_AST / team_FG)) + (2/3) * (team_AST / team_FG)))
     - VOP * TOV
     - VOP * DRB% * (FGA - FG)
     - VOP * 0.44 * (0.44 + (0.56 * DRB%)) * (FTA - FT)
     + VOP * (1 - DRB%) * (TRB - ORB)
     + VOP * DRB% * ORB
     + VOP * STL
     + VOP * DRB% * BLK
     - PF * ((lg_FT / lg_PF) - 0.44 * (lg_FTA / lg_PF) * VOP) ]

There are obvious weaknesses like ORB% is not included but DRB% is included, accruing Personal Fouls hurts you even though a player like Jason Collins based their career off of having 6 fouls to give. Different statistics are also weighted differently, who is to say that a block is not more valuable than a rebound? This statistic is stuck in the stone age of just taking numbers and breaking them down. The stat doesn't show if a guy makes the right rotations, sets good screens, runs a good pick and roll, saves balls from going out of bounds, forces opponents to shoot tough shots or any of the thousands of other variables that can make a basketball player valuable.

PER likes to assume that a player who plays 12 minutes a game will continue at the same pace if he plays 36 minutes and therefor can be very favorable to energy guys, I have yet to hear a compelling argument that Brandan Wright is the 12th best player in the NBA.

Sure this list has most of the best players towards the top but the players who do things that don't show up on a stat sheet aren't appreciated. Andray Blatche has a higher PER than Joakim Noah, I am inclined to believe that there are some deficiencies in a statistic that claims that to be true.

This is how the Pistons roster is ranked by PER:

This may just be me but I am pretty sure that Kyle Singler and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are better than Charlie Villanueva. There are many new numbers coming out to measure how important or useful an NBA player is, they are not statistics. This isn't baseball, the thousands of variables on every play make so many differences, if Josh Smith misses a rotation and Brandon Knight passes to Khris Middleton who makes a three, Khris Middleton and Brandon Knight made the right play but they should not be rewarded so much by another players mistake. There is no penalty for Josh Smith on this play, in reality Josh Smith just cost his team nearly 2 points as the Expected Points Per Possesion is just over one. Every play has a set value and every player does something every possession to effect how many points are scored on the possession.

PER is too focused on things that can be tallied down onto a box score, the game isn't played on paper, on paper Josh Smith should be an All-Star but there is so much more to the game of basketball than talent. Read this article posted on, Grantland is ahead of the time on players real values and new age statistics. Soon we will never again have to be told that Josh Smith is better than Greg Monroe because he is posting a better PER at PF.

I'm sorry if I went off track, but I also never want to see another person use as proof that a player is a good player or a good defender, please please pay for and read the stats and watch the tape. You will find that players can be so much better or worse than numbers say, Evan Turner scores a ton but is a terrible player, Wes Matthews scores under 17 points per game but I will maintain my argument that he is one of the 30-40 best players in the NBA. Looking at one number will not give you a good idea of who a player is, and trying to break down the game we all love to one number is ludicrous.

FanPosts are user-created posts from the Detroit Bad Boys community and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all fans or the staff at DBB. The DBB staff reserves the right at any time to edit the contents of FanPosts as they reasonably see fit.

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