Developing a Rating System for SOM Hoops

by Dave Little


Total Card Ratings :
Charles Barkley:
Shooting: 14.84
Three-point Bonus: 0.833
Fast-Break Shooting: 2.38
Passing: 2.1
Fast-Break Passing: 0
One-on-one Defense: 4.42
X-column Defense: -2.44
Fast-Break X-column: -0.667
Shot-blocking: 1.24
Offensive Boards: 6.79
Defensive Boards: 10.23
Total: 39.73

Other Players: Laettner 26.87; Blaylock 39.43; Stockton 64.47

Comment on card ratings:

For draft purposes, I find it useful to know total card ratings. However, it is probably more useful to know the comparison of the player to the other players at his position. For example, Michael Jordan is recognized as the most talented player in the game. However, a large number of talented 2 guards are active in the NBA; the drop from Jordan to Reggie Miller, Steve Smith, Mitch Richmond, Latrell Sprewell, and similar players is not terribly steep. However, the pool of top-notch centers is not nearly so deep. Beyond Robinson, Olajuwon, and Ewing, (and Alonzo Mourning slightly behind this group), the 1996 pool of centers with 2000 minutes played drops rapidly.

The solution to this problem is to determine a Z-score for each player at each position. The Z-score is probably familiar to scholars of statistics; it determines the relative distance from the mean for each player. The formula used is:

Z = Rating - Average

Standard Deviation

The further above average, the higher the Z-score. Thus the Z-score is a measure of the extent to which a player excels with respect to his peers. Using this analysis for the 1996 card set (with a much less developed rating scale), the top 5 players in the 1996 card set (>2000 minutes played) were:

  1. David Robinson
  2. Shawn Kemp
  3. Grant Hill
  4. Michael Jordan
  5. Hakeem Olajuwon

Introduction | Shooting | Passing | Rebounding | Defense