Starting with the 2016-17 season, we’re implementing “Gamescore” (GmSc) tracking in our OVC StatBox. The one thing our statbox was missing was the best individual performers, and instead of listing the top in any category, we looked for an all-incomposing method of determining the top performers during a game. What we found was Gamescore.
What is Gamescore?
If you’ve watched any NBA in recent years, you may have heard of Player Efficiency Ratings, or PER. It’s a super-complicated formula used to compare statistics of players across seasons in a historical context. It exists on the college level as well, but to calculate it, you basically need a database with every stat from every game in Division I.
The guy that created PER ratings, ESPN columnist John Hollinger, also created Gamescore, as a simpler way to compare performances in a single game.
It’s calculated with the following formula:
PTS + 0.4 * FG – 0.7 * FGA – 0.4*(FTA – FT) + 0.7 * ORB + 0.3 * DRB + STL + 0.7 * AST + 0.7 * BLK – 0.4 * PF – TOV
It’s a lot to take at once, so here’s the basic breakdown:
- A two-point basket is worth 1.7 points. (+2 PTS, +.4 FG, -.7 FGA)
- A three-point basket is worth 2.7 points. (+3 PTS, +.4 FG, -.7 FGA)
- A missed shot costs 0.7 points.
- Every missed free-throw costs 0.4 points.
- Offensive rebounds are worth 0.7 points.
- Defensive rebounds are worth 0.3 points.
- Assists and Blocks are worth 0.7 points each
- Steals are worth 1 point each.
- Fouls costs 0.4 points each.
- Turnovers cost 1 point each.
What’s a ‘Good’ Gamescore?
Well, that’s one thing that’s not really defined. Basketball Reference says the scale is roughly that of player scoring, but that only clears things up a little.
Here’s my rough scale:
- An ‘average’ game: 8
- A ‘good’ game: 13
- A ‘great’ game: 18
- An ‘amazing’ game: 23
Here’s some stat lines and Gamescores for comparison: In Austin Peay’s OVC Tournament semifinals between Austin Peay and Belmont, Chris Horton was 8-11 from the field, 30 points, and 16 rebounds in the win. His Gamescore was 31.7.
Belmont’s Evan Bradds was 15-16 from the field, scored 32 points, and had three assists, but had six turnovers. His Gamescore was 24.7.
In the OVC Tournament finals, Austin Peay’s Jared Savage was 8-14 from three-point range, pulled down 9 rebounds, (8 were defensive rebounds) and scored 24 points. His Gamescore? 18.7.
What are some of the issues with Gamescore?
There’s two notable issues: great defensive players are far undervalued, and overtime games will likely have higher gamescore than games that end in regulation. It’s why we’ll be using GmSc per 40 minutes to evaluate season-long performances.
It’s also possible to have a negative gamescore, if you shoot poorly or suffer from turnovers.