NBA Thoughts: Which Stat Is Most Important in the NBA?

Alec BeckmanContributor IIIJuly 6, 2011

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27:  Louis Williams #23 of the Philadelphia 76ers drives to the rim past LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat  during game five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on April 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The NBA carries a considerable quantity of stats. Points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game.  The question is, which of these stats matters most?  There is one statistic, an algorithm to be more precise, that measures a player's worth.  

Stats can't measure heart, hustle, athletic ability or defensive play, which are the X factors when contemplating who should receive an award such as the MVP.  ESPN's John Hollinger has created the closest thing we can get to measure the worth of every player, a Player's Efficiency Rating (PER).

A player's PER is an equation based off positive and negative stats, per minutes played.  This means that a high-energy player who comes off the bench for 10 minutes can have a higher rating than a lockdown defender who plays 35 minutes a game.  

PER is never going to be 100 percent accurate in terms of who is most valuable, but it comes pretty close.  For instance, Lebron James, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant are all in the top 10.  However, not everything is perfect. So looking at a team like the Philadelphia 76ers, two of their three top PERs are bench players Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young.  Also, a star like Rajon Rondo, is much lower on the list than Orlando's Ryan Anderson.

With numbers, it will always be impossible to tell the real value of a player, but this stat really proves to be the most important stat in the game.


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