Statistics to pay attention to
The statistic sheet is the bane of many coaches, as young players sometimes try to make an impact there through ill-advised means such as chucking up shots to notch more points. As a result, you may have heard your coach advocate against paying too much attention to box scores, emphasizing winning instead. However, there are some statistics that implicate winning more than others, providing useful information in understanding why a certain team succeeds or falters.
Turnovers: This is one of the key factors that determines whether a team wins or loses. If you turn the ball over more often than your opponents, you will end up with fewer possessions, allowing them to beat you even without scoring at a more efficient rate. All too often, players make mistakes in their eagerness to contribute towards the box score, and this is usually reflected in their turnover rate.
Offensive rebounds: Offensive boards are relatively infrequent in basketball, due to the advantageous positioning of the defense. If your team is adept at this aspect of the game however, you will earn many second chance opportunities, which tend to be easier attempts near to the basket as well. Conversely, if you are giving up too many offensive rebounds, you can expect a tough game ahead.
Field-goal percentage: This statistic is the most straightforward indication of offensive efficiency. Teams may shoot a poor percentage due to an inability to create shots through movement or individual moves, or it could reflect poor decision-making on the part of the players. If you hold your opponents to a low percentage, this is often a clearer indication of a solid defensive effort than blocks and steals combined.
Free throws: In competitive basketball, the ability to get to the foul line is essential. If your attitude towards fouling is too casual, you may end up gifting easy, uncontested points to your opponents. If you are adept at earning free throws, this leaves the defense vulnerable and can sometimes take key opposing players out of the game through foul trouble.