User:Stwhalen/Player Efficiency Rating

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Player Efficiency Rating[edit]

The Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is an all encompassing basketball statistic. PER is a rating of a player's per-minute productivity on the court.


PER was developed by John Hollinger as a way to compare the relative worth of any two players. PER is not the ultimate ranking on how well a player performs, but it is a good benchmark. The PER formula takes into account positive accomplishments, such as field goals, free throws, 3-pointers, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals, and negative ones, such as missed shots, turnovers and personal fouls. These categories are assigned point values and then they are adjusted so all players are judged on as equal a basis as possible. They are adjusted to a per minute of playing time scale and then adjusted by an empirical factor representing a player's team's tempo of play. The NBA league average PER is 15. The actual mathematical formula is very complex and is explained in depth in Hollinger's books. PER is not an official NBA statistic but it is widely used and accepted by expert analysts. PER is also commonly used as a tool for ranking players in fantasy basketball.

Guiding Prinicples of PER[edit]

Commonly PER is miscontrued as the ultimate ranking of a player. However, this is not the purpose of PER. PER was created to give a snapshot view of how well a player contributes to his team. PER takes the statistics that are available and boils them down in a way that's easy to understand. It interprets the things that we do know - made shots, steals, assists, rebounds, blocked shots, free throws, missed shots, turnovers, and fouls in a systematic way that can objectively interpret player performance. However, Hollinger admits that there are some holes in the PER formula,

"Bear in mind that this rating is not the final, once-and-for-all answer for a player's accomplishments during the season. This is especially true for players such as Bruce Bowen and Trenton Hassell who are defensive specialists but don't get many blocks or steals."

PER cannot take into account such intangible elements as competitive drive, leadership, durability, conditioning, or hustle. It is a starting point for objective debate. In a world where sports news is dominated by high flying dunks and thunderous blocks, some stats can get lost in the mix. Hollinger is seeking for a way to clear away the media clutter,

"What PER can do, however, is summarize a player's statistical accomplishments in a single number. That allows us to unify the disparate data on each player that we try to track in our heads (e.g., Danny Fortson: great rebounder, high-percentage shooter, turnover machine, fouls like crazy, etc.) so that we can move on to evaluating what might be missing from the stats."

PER is basically a barometer to how complete a player's game may be. Hollinger often uses PER to reflect and evaluate on a player's past and in season performances. In this way, PER can be used to debate playing time and starting roles. Hollinger also uses PER to make preseason projections. These projections are often a source of heated debate.

Inspiration of PER[edit]

The main inspiration for Hollinger in creating PER was the Sabermetric revolution which has transpired through the mid 90's. Thanks to the work of people like Bill James and Rob Neyer - professional analysts who tirelessly study the game - the common people don't blindly accept what they're told by coaches and announcers anymore. Many times in proffesional sports, the stats of old just don't tell the whole story of how well a player is actually performing. With the inception of the baseball sabermetric statistic system, people began to rethink what stats are really telling of good player. In baseball it has reverberated to the point that it's actually changed how teams operate, from pitch counts to free agency to actual in game strategy. The idea of PER, as was the idea of sabermetrics, is to judge players objectively. Hollinger is trying to foster this kind of analytical transformation among the basketball community.

Problems With PER[edit]

There are some imperfections when judging players on the PER system. As previously stated the formula cannot quantify such intangible qualities as leadership, durability, etc. The projections also don't include defense beyond blocks, steals and fouls, partly because the league has opted to make this area a black hole in terms of stats and so we have nothing to work with. In this way, lock down defenders such as Bruce Bowen, guys who simply shut down their assigned man, holding them to little scoring are not well reflected by PER. This is why PER and MVP balloting are not always directly on par. Someday PER may have a greater influence on MVP voting but as illustrated in the tables below, the MVP ballots and PER are quite different.

Problems with PER Projections[edit]

The projections are built by looking at comparable players at the same age and how their stats changed in the following season. For players in most age brackets, this is extremely reliable, but there have been so few players to turn pro out of high school in the past two decades that there is a very small sample to work with. While some players who have come out of highschool have shown a lot of promise in future years, many have floundered and never quite reached their full potential - "The Darius Miles Effect". Darius Miles's falloff was so staggering and severe that it has proven to be enough of a millstone that the overall projection for players coming out of highschool foresees a decline in PER over the second and third years in the league. Even though the projection forsees a decline, most experts and Hollinger agree that promising young players like Dwight Howard and Josh Smith and Lebron James will most likely continue to excel. As the sample size for players of this characterization grows, the projections will become more and more accurate.

2006 Rankings[edit]

2006 Top 10 PER
Player PER
1. Dirk Nowitzki 28.20
2. LeBron James 28.17
3. Kobe Bryant 28.11
4. Dwyane Wade 27.68
5. Kevin Garnett 26.88
6. Elton Brand 26.88
7. Allen Iverson 26.02
8. Yao Ming 25.78
9. Shaquille O'Neal 24.47
10. Paul Pierce 23.71

2006 MVP Voting
Player % of Votes
1. Steve Nash 48%
2. Kobe Bryant 17%
3. Lebron James 16%
4. Dirk Nowitzki 8%
5. Dwayne Wade 5%
6. Chauncey Billups 6%

2006 Yahoo Fantasy Player Rankings
1. Shawn Marion
2. Kobe Bryant
3. Elton Brand
4. Lebron James
5. Kevin Garnett
6. Ray Allen
7. Dirk Nowitzki
8. Jason Kidd
9. Gilbert Arenas
10. Rasheed Wallace

2007 Rankings[edit]

2007 Top 10 Projected PER
Player PER
1. Lebron James 31.86
2. Kobe Bryant 27.00
3. Dirk Nowitzki 26.86
4. Amare Stoudamire 26.12
5. Dwyane Wade 25.91
6. Kevin Garnett 24.97
7. Chris Paul 24.96
8. Pau Gasol 23.95
9. Gilbert Arenas 23.78
10. Allen Iverson 23.31

2007 Yahoo Projected Fantasy Player Rankings
1. Lebron James
2. Kevin Garnett
3. Shawn Marion
4. Kobe Bryant
5. Dwayne Wade
6. Dirk Nowitzki
7. Gilbert Arenas
8. Elton Brand
9. Chris Paul
10. Chris Bosh


Basketball Reference - PER

ESPN Hollinger Archives

Hollinger's Homepage

Yahoo Fantasy Basketball