Measuring Value

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On the eve of the NBA draft, let’s talk about value. Value is essentially what are you getting compared to what is it costing you. A bottle of water at a hotel may be $3.25 – we should all drink more water, but that’s not much value for that price. But if you’ve been walking around the desert in June – you might pay $325 to get that bottle of water. The value definitely goes up.

In economic terms, it’s usually pretty easy to measure value. Whatever LeBron James gets paid is not enough for what he brings to a team, both on and off the court. But after JR Smith’s gaffe at the end of game 1 of the NBA finals, how much he gets paid was laughed at – it was hard to see the value.

At the collegiate level, you can see the value of a player based sometimes on the stats they bring to the court or the leadership they bring to the locker room. The latter is harder to measure so let’s focus on the stats, after all, we’re Stat Geeks. (That’s literally our Twitter handle @WeAreStatGeeks).

We’ve all had conversations with players where we ask for more from a player. But what does that mean? If it’s rebounds, what’s the number? If it’s shooting, how do they do that? For example, if you have a player that averages, 3 rebounds per game, challenge them to double that, that’s 1 one more rebound in the first half and 2 in the second or vice versa – easier said than done – but that’s palpable and something they can really focus on. And if that results in picking up a player that now averages 6 rebounds per game, what a huge increase in value for the team!

Nowadays with the three point shot starting to dominate the game, challenge players to get to the foul line once in the first half and once in the second. If they’re a good shooter, that’s an extra 3-4 points per game and probably leads to more space on the perimeter. Again though, that’s something a player can understand and digest and leads to a big increase in value to the team.

I would challenge you this summer to think about your roster and find those areas where players can increase their value and figure out a way to measure that.