Four factors are the box score derived metrics that correlate most closely with winning basketball games. These factors also identify a team’s strategic strengths and weaknesses. Four factors can be applied to both a team’s offense and defense, hence it gives us eight factors.
- Shooting the ballEffective Field Goal Percentage=(Field Goals Made) + 0.5*3P Field Goals Made))/(Field Goal Attempts)
- Taking care of the ballTurnover Rate=Turnovers/(Field Goal Attempts + 0.44*Free Throw Attempts + Turnovers)
- Offensive reboundingOffensive Rebounding Percentage = (Offensive Rebounds)/[(Offensive Rebounds)+(Opponent’s Defensive Rebounds)]
- Getting to the foul lineFree Throw Rate=(Free Throws Made)/(Field Goals Attempted) or Free Throws Attempted/Field Goals Attempted
While these are the four essential factors that decide winning and losing in the NBA, the factors do not carry equal weight.
1. Shooting (40%)
2. Turnovers (25%)
3. Rebounding (20%)
4. Free Throws (15%)
The number in parentheses is the approximate weight of each factor. Shooting is the most important factor, followed by turnovers, rebounding, and free throws.
Each statistic measures a separate skill there’s no reason that a team can’t shoot well, commit few turnovers, rebound a high percentage of its misses and make frequent trips to the free throw line. At the same time, a team can compensate for poor performance in one area by outstanding performance in another hitting the offensive boards on a poor shooting night, for example.