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Whether you're just a fan of basketball, playing basketball in a youth league or school, or want to play competitively, it is beneficial to know what the abbreviations in the box score or stats book stand for. Each abbreviation represents one of the basketball stats that are recorded and tracked to help determine the effectiveness of a player or team when they play a game of basketball. Especially if you're going to be playing fantasy basketball, you should understand what these stats stand for before drafting your players. Here is what they all stand for...
Note that for season or career basketball statistics, there will be an "average" column and a "total" column. The total is the total number of the specific basketball stat throughout the season or a player's career, whereas the aveage is this total number divided by the number of games played (either for the season or career of that player)...
General Basketball Statistics - Individual
G (also GP): Games Played
Games played is simply the number of games that a basketball player actually checks into an official basketball game and is on the court during regulation play. I player may be suited up and eligible to play a game, but not get to play. If he/she sits is suited up (in an official team jersey) but sits on the bench the whole time, he/she is not considered to have played the game and does not get credit in the "GP".
GS: Games Started
MIN or MINS: Minutes
Games started is similar to games played (G), except for it is when the player actually is one of the original five players that is on the court when the game begins with the jump ball. It doesn't matter if they get pulled after one minute, if they were on the court when regulation begins and the clock starts to run, then a player gets credit for a game started.
Minutes is the total number of minutes that a player is actually on the court during regulation and eligible to score, defend, etc. If a player is on the court when the official clock is running, then the time that they are on the court according to the "official clock" is what is marked in the MIN (or MINS) column of the stats sheet.
MPG: Minutes Per Game (MIN ÷ G)
Minutes per game is the average number of minutes a player is on the court during regulation when he/she actually plays in a game. When a player doesn't suit up due to an injury, suspicion, etc., or doesn't enter the game when suited up, then these are not counted as "zero minutes." MPG is calculated as Minutes ÷ Games Played or MIN ÷ G.
REB (also REBS): Rebounds
Rebounds are under "general" basketball statistics becasue it's one of the basketball stats that you can get credit for on offense and on defense. Rebounds is simply the total number of rebounds, or times you grab the basketball after a shot is missed to give your team possession of the ball, you get in a game, season, ets.
RPG: Rebounds Per Game (REB ÷ G)
Rebounds per game is the average number of total rebounds a player gets per game that they actually play (are on the court during regulation): It is simply a players Rebounds ÷ Games Played (REB ÷ G)
PF: Personal Fouls
Personal Fouls is a basketball statistic that it's better to have a lower number in. They are the number of times the referee calls you for gaining an unfair advantage through physical contact that is not allowed by the rules. These are most often accidental, and include things like hitting a player in the act of shooting or hitting there arm when trying to steal the ball.
TF: Technical Fouls
The stat you want the lowest mark in is technical fouls. Technical fouls are more seroius than personal fouls, and can be called for poor sportsmanship, arguing with a ref, intentional fouls (without an attempt to block or steal the basketball), fouling with the intent to harm, or fighting with another player.
Offensive Basketball Statistics
The following basketball statistics are all related to scoring...
The most recognized of the basketball statistics is points...how many points did a player score for there team to help their team win or help make the game closer if they lost. Related to how many times a player made a basket and the type of basket they made (how many shots they made, or how many times they threw the ball through the basket/hoop).
PPG: Points per Game (PTS ÷ G)
Points per game is the average number of points a player scores when he/she is on the court during regulation play (when the clock is running) and is eligable to score points for their team. Calculated as Points ÷ Games Played (PTS ÷ G)
FG (also FGM): Field Goals Made
A field goal made is a basket that is made in regulation play. A basket is made when a player shoots ("throws") the ball through the basket/rim. All baskets legally made that aren't free throws (a shot that the defense is not allowed to contend from 15 feet in front of the basket) are considered field goals and worth either two or three points, depending on where they're shot from.
FGA: Field Goal Attempts (also Field Goals Attempted)
A field goal attempt is any time that a player shoots the ball to try to score in regulation. In other words, it's a shot attempt that isn't a free throw, and is worth either two or three points IF the ball goes through the hoop. A field goal attempt includes both made shots and missed shots.
FG%: Field Goal Percentage (FG ÷ FGA)
Many consider field goal percentage as one of the better basketball statistics to determine how effective a player is at scoring because it tells how often a player makes a shot when he/she attempts one. That's essentially what field goal percentage is: the percentage of shots a player has made out of those he/she has taken. Calculation: Field Goals Made ÷ Field Goal Attempts (FG ÷ FGA). multiply by 100 to get percentage
2P (also 2PM): Two Point Field Goals Made
Two point field goals (2-pointers) made are baskets made during regulation play (when a player shoots or throws the ball through the baske), that aren't free throws, and are within the 3-point line (the arc surrounding the basket). Note that if a a player's foot is on the 3-point line, it counts as a two point field under his/her basketball statistics.
2PA: Two Point Field Goal Attempts
Two point field goal attempts are any shots attempted within the three point line during live play (free throws do not count as field goal attempts). As noted above, when a player's foot is on the three point line, it is counted a two point field goal attempt under that players basketball stats. Both made two pointers and missed two pointers are totalled together for total two point attempts.
2P%: Two Point Field Goal Percentage
Two Point Field Goal Percentage is the percentage of two point shot attempts that a player makes when they attempt a two point field goal. In a way, it is an indicator at how likely a two point shot attempt is to be made by that player. Like other basketball statistics involving percentage, it is simply makes divided by attempts: Two Point Field Goals ÷ Two Point Field Goal Attempts (2P ÷ 2PA). multiply by 100 to get percentage
3P (also 3PM): Three Point Field Goals Made
Three point field goals made are just like two point field goals made, except for when taken from behind the 3 point line (the arc surrounding the basket). These are those shot attempts (ball thrown toward the basket) from behind the three point line that were actually made (the basketball went through the hoop).
3PA: Three Point Field Goal Attempts
Three point field goal attempts are the number of shots (attempts at throwing the ball toward the basket with the intent of the ball going through the hoop) that are attempted during regulation play from behind the three point line (the arc surrounding the basket), regardless of whether the shot goes in or not.
3P%: Three Point Field Goal Percentage (3P ÷ 3PA)
Three point field goal percentage tells what percentage of shot attempts a player takes from behind the three point line that are actually made (the ball goes through the hoop when they shoot it, or "throw" it toward the basket). Calculated as: Three Point Field Goals Made ÷ Three Point Field Goal Attempts (3P ÷ 3PA) multiply by 100 to get percentage
FT (also FTM): Free Throws Made
A free throw is a "free shot" in which the opposite team is not allowed to defend, or try to stop, the player shooting from making the basket. It is awarded when the opposite team breaks the rules, taken from 15' in front of the basket (the free throw line), and worth one point for each basket made. Though all basketball statistics are important, this is especially important as sometimes it can be the difference in the game.
FTA: Free Throw Attempts
Free throw attempts are the number of free shots a player is awarded from the free throw line (15' directly in front of the basket) that the opposite team is not allowed to defend. This is one of the basketball statistics that can help you read more into a how a player played in a certain game. As free throws are most often awarded for a player being "hit" (usually on accidient) when they are in the act of shooting, this basketball stat can show a glimpse of a player's aggressiveness (driving to the basket instead of settling for jump shots).
FT%: Free Throw Percentage (FT ÷ FTM)
Free throw percentage demonstrates the likeliness that a player will make a free throw when awarded one. Especially when the game is close toward the end, this is one of the most important basketball statistics because it helps teams decide who they should or should not foul, and who should be in the game during this situation. For example, you would rather have Steve Nash shooting free throws at the end of the game as opposed to Shaq. Calculated as: Free Throws Made ÷ Free Throw Attempts (FT ÷ FTA). multiply by 100 to get percentage
That finished off the offensive basketball statistics regarding scoring...here are some more offensive basketball stats that can be related to scoring, but aren't an actual measure of an individual's points scored...
AST (also A): Assists
An assist is a pass from one player to another that leads to a field goal being scored. If a player throws the ball to another player that makes a shot, then they are awarded an assist: That pass has helped, or "assisted" the other player to score. It is somewhat up to the official statisticians whether or not a player is awarded an assist, as there are no clearly defined rules regarding the number of dribbles (bounces of the basketball) that a player can take before making a basket for the pass before to still be considered an assist. For the most part, though, if a pass led to a score without a lot of "one-on-one" play to get the basket, it is considered an assist.
APG: Assists per Game (AST ÷ G)
Assists per game is the average number of assists (passes from the player awarded the assist that lead to scores from their teammates) a player has recorded in the basketball statistics for each game they play (actually are on the court during regulation play). It is calculated as: Assists ÷ Games Played (A ÷ G).
AP48M: Assister per 48 Minutes
A regulation NBA basketball game is 48 minutes long (well, the clock runs for 48 minutes, but there are many things that stop the clock). Assists per 48 minutes is much like Assists per game, except the number is adjusted to represent the average number of assists a player would get if he/she played for 48 minutes.
Turnovers is anothe of the basketball statistics that you don't want to have a high number in. These are very bad for you and your team, as a turnover is when you do something besides miss a shot that gives the other team possession of the ball (so you "turn it over" to the defense). Things like having the ball stolen from you, having a violation (traveling, double dribble, etc.), and throwing the basketball out of bounds are considered turnovers.
TOPG: Turnovers per Game (TO ÷ G)
Turnovers per game is just like the turnover basket stat column: you want a lower number in this column. This is the average number of times per game that a player turns the ball over to the other team through some kind of mistake other than missing a shot. Calculated as: Turnovers ÷ Games Played (TO ÷ G)
TOP48M: Turnovers per 48 Minutes
Turnovers per 48 minutes is the "pro-rated" average number of turnovers a player would have if they played every minute of an NBA game, which has the official clock run for 48 minutes.
AST/TO: Assist to Turnover Ratio
The assist to turnover ratio is one way to determine how effective a player, especially a point guard, is with the ball in his/her hands. It's the number of times he/she helps a teammate score (see assists above) for each time they make a mistake and turn the ball over to the other team. This basketball stat is calculated for a certain period of time, such as a game, season, the playoffs, or a player's career. The higher the AST/TO ratio, the better a player is with the ball in their hands.
OFF (also ORB or OREB): Offensive Rebounds
An offensive rebound is when a player grabs the basketball after their team misses a shot. Any time a player grabs a missed shot, it is called a rebound. Offensive rebounds give that player's team another chance to score some points. Players like Dennis Rodman were especially good at "sneaking in" to get an offensive rebound...as the defense should get the rebound if all of their players are doing their job and blocking out.
REB (also REBS): Total Rebounds
I'm a big fan of rebounding, that's where you're going to see total rebounds in every basketball statistics category on this page. Total rebounds is the sum of Offensive Rebounds and Defensive Rebounds, so the total number of times that a player grabs the ball after a missed shot on either end of the court.
Defensive Basketball Statistics (Individual)
The following basketball statistics are in defensive categories. These are basketball statistics categories that show when a player helps to keep the other team from scoring. Not all defensive aspects are recorded as stats, however, as many defensive aspects are too vague and would be hard to record and these categories are easily recorded in one of the defensive basketball statistics columns...
A player is awarded a steal in their basketball statistics column when they legally gain control of the basketball from the other team by either intercepting a pass, batting/deflecting the ball away from the offense and gaining control themselves, or batting/deflecting the ball away from the offense and a teammate of the player that batted the ball away gains control of the ball.
STLPG: Steals per Game (STL ÷ G)
Steals per game is the average number of times that a player legally gains control of the ball from the other team per game that they play. Calculated as Steals ÷ Games Played (STL ÷ G).
STP48M: Steals per 48 Minutes
Steals per 48 minutes is just another "average" number of steals a player has per game, but it's adjusted to the expected number of steals that a player would get if they played the entier 48 minutes of an NBA basketball game.
BLK (also BS): Blocked Shots
Blocked shots are the times when a player stops a shot from going toward the basket, most often with the ball being "batted" back toward the shooter or away from the shooter. A shot can only be blocked on it's way up and when the ball is not touching the basket/rim, otherwise it is considered "goal tending" and the offensive team is awarded the points as if the shot had gone done (so two or three points, depending on where the ball was shot from).
BLKPG (also BSPG): Blocked Shots per Game (BLK ÷ G)
Blocked shots per game is the average number of blocked shots (times a player "blocks" the basketball from going toward/in the basket) that a player gets when he/she plays a game. Calculated as Blocked Shots ÷ Games Played (BLK ÷ G).
BLKP48M: Blocked Shots per 48 Minutes
Blocked shots per 48 minutes is an adjusted average of blocked shots a player would get if he/she played the entire 48 minutes of an NBA game. It's based on a player's blocks per game and their minutes per game and adjusted accordingly.
PF: Personal Fouls
Personal fouls can actually occur on both ends of the court, but since they most often occur on the defensive end of the court, so I'm including them in the defensive basketball statistics category. A personal foul occurs when a player gains an unfair advantage, usually to keep a player from scoring or to steal the ball, through physical contact not allowed by the rules. Often times when a player tries to block a shot or steal the ball he/she might hit or slap the offensive player's arm and get a personal foul called on them.
BLK/PF: Blocks per Personal Foul
Blocks per personal foul shows how effective a player is at actually blocking a shot and not fouling when they try to. The stat abreviation is actually the calculation: Blocks ÷ Personal Fouls (BLK ÷ PF)
DEF (also DREB): Defensive Rebounds
Defensive rebounds, to me, are one of the most important basketball statistics, especially for forwards. Any time the other team misses a shot, the team on defense should be in position to grab the ball if they miss. When a player grabs the ball right after the other team misses a shot, it is considered a defensive rebound.
DRPG: Defensive Rebounds per Game (DEF ÷ G)
Defensive rebounds per game are the average number of rebounds a player gets per game they actually play. Every time a player grabs the ball after the other team misses a shot, it is considerd a defensive rebound, and the total is divided by the games that player has played for DRPG. So the calculation is: Total Defensive Rebounds ÷ Games Played (DEF ÷ G). As all other "per game" basketball statistics, this can be for a season, playoff, career, or other period of time.
REB (also REBS): Total Rebounds
Total rebounds is the combination of offesnive rebounds and defensive rebounds a player gathers. It's the sum of Offensive Rebounds and Defensive Rebounds (OFF + DEF), or the total number of times a player grabs the ball after a missed shot from either team.
RPG: Rebounds per Game
Rebounds per game is the average number of times a player gathers a rebound (grabs the ball after a missed shot) per games they've played in a certain period of time (a season, their career, the playoffs, etc.).
Overall Basketball Statistics (Team)
There are plenty more basketball statistics to come. Please bare with me as BBT&T is a one-man shop and I have a regular full-time corporate job, so this site is updated in what little spare time I have available.
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