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Rebounds are in the Box Score

By Matthew Yglesias

"Rebounds are in the Box Score"

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My baskeblogging has gotten pretty lame around here. So lame that I didn’t even watch the Rockets upset the Lakers last night. Huge mistake. That said, this seems like a good time to revisit a classic theme of Yglesias NBA commentary—a lot of times you hear that guys are making awesome contributions that don’t show up in the box score when, in fact, their contributions show up in the box score. Thus this from J.A. Adande:

And Chuck Hayes? Well, you couldn’t even find a box score by his locker. He said he doesn’t even bother to read them anymore, because they don’t reflect his contributions. “What he does, it does show up … just in winning and losing,” Morey said.

My copy of the box score shows that Hayes only played 6 minutes. Obviously, under the circumstances he didn’t make that huge an impact. But it also shows that during those six minutes he grabbed three rebounds and a steal while taking zero shots and committing zero turnovers. A guy who played 30 minutes and grabbed 15 rebounds and five steals should, I think, be seen as making a huge contribution to his team as long as he plays defense well even if he doesn’t score many points. The key thing is that your possession monster can’t be missing tons of shots. Hayes used to be a modest scorer whose field goal percentage was consistently over 50 percent. Add that to great rebounding, and you have a very effective player whose contributions are very much being captured by the box score. This season, however, Hayes’ FG% and FT% are both way down which makes him less useful.

All this, however, is right there in the box score. The box score has its limits—most notably it’s hard to draw any conclusions about defense from box scores—but unless by “box score” you mean “raw point total without considering shots taken or minutes played” then it really is a very informative thing.

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