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Four Factors
Author: Dean Oliver

Four factors are box score derived metrics that correlate most closely with winning basketball games. These factors also identify a teamís 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 ball

Effective Field Goal Percentage=(Field Goals Made) + 0.5*3P Field Goals Made))/(Field Goal Attempts)

  • Taking care of the ball

Turnover Rate=Turnovers/(Field Goal Attempts + 0.44*Free Throw Attempts + Turnovers)

  • Offensive rebounding

Offensive Rebounding Percentage = (Offensive Rebounds)/[(Offensive Rebounds)+(Opponent's Defensive Rebounds)]

  • Getting to the foul line

Free Throw Rate=(Free Throws Made)/(Field Goals Attempted) or Free Throws Attempted/Field Goals Attempted


Comments: 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 ó thereís no reason that a team canít 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 ó hitting the offensive boards on a poor shooting night, for example.
 


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