Introducing TKB’s Very Own Advanced Metric: Your Eyes

There is no formula to calculate efficiency. You don’t multiply an employee’s “minutes taken for lunch” by his “bundles of paper sold” then divide it all by his “water breaks per hour” to get a number that tells you whether or not he’s more qualified for a promotion than someone else.

It turns out the NBA’s equation to calculate efficiency isn’t too efficient in its own right. Here are a few fun facts that you probably didn’t see if you looked at the mammoth formula and got scared off, just like the creators want you to do:

-Each shot is given a value, made or missed. If two players shoot 30% from the field, the player who shoots (and in turn misses) more shots is rewarded with a higher PER.

-The formula doesn’t account for situations. Who is the player playing against? Who is he playing with? Is the game a blowout? It’s a lot easier to score against the third team than the first.

-The creator willingly admits his efficiency formula inaccurately weighs defense, as only blocks and steals are taken into account.

Another great piece of propaganda is the “per 36 minutes” stat. The biggest question here… WHY? What does 36 minutes mean? Is that what we are supposed to believe is the median minutes per game? In the 2011-2012 season, less than 20 players averaged 36 minutes per game so this “standard” seems to be a bit ridiculous.

A player only plays 20 minutes per game for a reason. The coach knows that he can get the most out of that player by limiting his minutes. Per 36 doesn’t take into account the fact that a player who is only used to playing 20 minutes a night will probably start to feel a little winded at about minute 27, and most likely start to slow down his production.

Then there’s true shooting percentage, the best way to gauge a player’s shooting efficiency! Right? Wrong.  Poor Ronnie Brewer… having a career year shooting 44% behind the arc, just around his career averages shooting 48% from the field overall… but because he’s missed 11 of his 20 free throws, that TS% takes a dive. 20 free throws in 10 games should not have the same weight as the 40 2-point field goals he’s taken in those same 10 games, should it?

So here at TKB we’ve created a new metric. It’s not advanced. There’s no adding and subtracting. You don’t have to multiply field goal percentage by defensive rebounding rate. It’s very simple, and you can do it from your couch, the bar, your seat at the Garden or anywhere there’s a TV…

I present to you: the “My Own Two Eyes” Rating, or “MOTE” for short.

Here’s how it works:

Watch a game. Form an opinion. State your opinion because you feel confident enough in saying what you are about to say without having to worry about what advanced metrics tell you, because in the end, your eyes and brain are a whole lot more powerful than a calculator and a player’s usage rate.

For example, this season Carmelo Anthony has been playing strictly power forward, for better or worse. When he gets the ball in the low post, he has been near unstoppable. His size and ability to finish gives him the advantage against smaller defenders at the small forward position, and that combined with his foot speed gives him the advantage over slower defenders at the power forward position.

So Carmelo’s MOTE Rating would be: he’s one of the best post players in the NBA.

Why? Because you can see it, and it’s pretty obvious. He’s not the best, no one is putting him up there with Tim Duncan or Zach Randolph and no one is saying Melo should be a full time post-up player.  But when Carmelo gets the ball in the wing or on the block, he is usually scoring or at the very least drawing a foul (or should I say, SHOULD be drawing a foul).

Example #2, Jason Kidd is getting up there in age, much like a majority of the Knicks’ roster and don’t you know, the media/fans of other teams have sure made it known. But he’s single-handedly led the Knicks to a handful of victories with his calm and collected approach, his three-point shooting and his crafty defense. He has been an unsung hero for the Knicks in their 8-2 start.

So Kidd’s MOTE Rating would be: he’s one of the best free agent pickups this offseason.

It doesn’t matter what his age is or what his numbers were in Dallas. It doesn’t matter how he meshed with Dirk Nowitzki or how many minutes Roddy Beaubois stole from him. In this 2012-2013 season, he has done everything that was expected of him and more. He was supposed to be a backup point guard, now he’s the starting shooting guard and a huge contributor to one of the best teams in the league… but the numbers would probably tell you otherwise.

The list goes on and on. Raymond Felton has a MOTE Rating of “early returns say the Knicks made the right move letting Jeremy Lin go and replacing him with Felton for half the money.” Ronnie Brewer has a MOTE Rating of “why did the Bulls let him go?” JR Smith has a MOTE Rating of “no player has matured more than JR Smith this season.” Mike Woodson has a MOTE Rating of “he’s got the best goatee in the business.”

As you can see, MOTE isn’t a number, it’s an educated statement. Now of course MOTE can be taken advantage of if you’re not using it with all subjectivity thrown out the window. You have the power to make your very own argument as opposed to letting basketball’s version of the quadratic equation make your argument for you. Don’t abuse it.

I encourage everyone to join in. In the comments section, on game night via Twitter using #mote, or just in everyday life talking basketball around the water cooler. The goal is to promote justified opinions rather than unjustified numbers. Who cares if your opinion isn’t popular? With your own two eyes, you can provide all the justification you need.

-Steve Conoscenti