NET EQUIVALENT POINTS (NEP)
Developed by Don Davis
The NEP is designed to use the commonly available statistics in a way that provides a meaningful measure of a playerís overall contribution to the teamís effort. The term Net Equivalent Points is used simply because the general intent of the NEP system is to value each statistic in terms of itís actual contribution to either scoring or prohibiting the opponent from scoring. The NEP operates on the premise that outscoring the opponent is the fundamental goal of a basketball team. This is done on offense by scoring as many points as possible and on defense by limiting the opponent to the fewest points possible. Therefore the value of any statistic should be measured in how effectively it contributes to these offensive or defensive goals. By definition the NEP excludes any subjective or non-quantifiable elements. This is both a flaw in the system and a plus. It is a flaw because it does not include elements such as leadership which clearly is a quality that contributes to the offensive and defensive success of the team. It is a plus because it does not depend on subjective opinion which can be easily influenced by crowd pleasing play which does not contribute to the success of the team. In summary the NEP attempts to boil down each individual stat and assign an NEP which roughly quantifies thatís statís contribution to scoring an actual point.
WHAT STATS ARE ASSIGNED AN NEP VALUE
HOW DOES THE SYSTEM WORK
This question can be answered in several ways. First let me explain how NEP got started because that gives you the basic core of the NEP theory. Many of you may follow the statistics Dave Seiverling and John Steere posts for each game. Among these stats is a stat called "Points per Possession" (PPP) This stat basically divides the total points a team scored by the total number of possessions the team had in a game. The definition of possession is critical to the calculation and there are several distinct ways to define it. Suffice it to say Dave uses the "Dean Smith" method. This PPP is essentially a very good measurement of the effectiveness of a teams ability to score. Likewise the opponents PPP is a good measurement of a teams defensive effectiveness. As you might imagine the PPP will vary quite a bit from team to team as well as the opponent PPP. By knowing the PPP you can then relate a given statistic to itís contribution to giving a team a possession or taking away a possession and hence quantify that statistic in terms of scoring. That sounds confusing so let me give you a simplistic example. Suppose a player makes a steal. How does that contribute to his team scoring or limit the other team from scoring. Going back to the pivotal PPP we can say a steal, in actual effect, ended another teams possession before they could score. If the opponents PPP was, for example, 0.75 (in other words the opponent scored 0.75 points on average with every possession) than you took away that 0.75 points which they otherwise would have scored. This is a simple example of how a statistic, in this case a steal, can be reduced down to itís actual impact on the final score. Each stat has a similar relationship to PPP and can hence be equilibrated to the actual scoring of points.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER NON_STATISTICAL FACTORS
Clearly the NEP has holes. As mentioned above it does not include things such as leadership. It also does not include factors that have a very real and direct impact on scoring such as taking charges, altering shots, tenacious defense, setting screens and Iím sure you can think of others. One compensating factor is many of these factors will be normalized or "washed" out over a season. Also certain stats will compensate for these factors even though they arenít measured directly. That sounds like arm-waving but what I am saying is a tenacious defender, for instance, will end up with more steals or more blocks and will hence receive a higher NEP even though no direct contribution was given for the recognized "tenaciousness" of his defense. Remember, the system is relative not absolute. It is meant primarily as a comparative tool to compare players and teams to one another.
The NEP is done as a hobby at this point and not intended to provide anything other than an interesting way of looking at a game that I (and many others) follow for fun and entertainment. IMHO the NEP has grown to be a very meaningful tool and provides insight that is not readily apparent to even many educated basketball aficionados. Perhaps the Roy Williamsí of the world have little need for a system such as this to know who is contributing and to what degree. For those of us who make a living outside of basketball, however, it can provide real insight into who is really getting the job done. Please feel free to bash or praise the system to your heartís content. I am open to any input you would like to give.
There are three people who deserve great recognition for the NEP. First, Dave Seiverling is really the grandfather of the NEP for without his outstanding dedication to providing the world with all the Jayhawk statistics a human could desire the NEP never would have been created. He is the source for much of the raw data used to maintain the NEP. Furthermore he has been very helpful in providing valuable feedback to many questions.
Secondly I want to give a ton of credit to Mr. Ben Vollmayr-Lee. He caught wind of the NEP and has put a very critical eye on it resulting in some very important revisions. As of this writing (12/13/99) the NEP is still a work in progress. Ben has collaborated in great detail to assist me in finding the flaws in my logic and enhancing the derivations of the system. Ben is a Mizzou fan who happens to be a Physics Professor at Bucknell University.
The last recognition I must give is to Mr. Brian Haeffner. Many of you may recognize him from his presence on the board as "haeffb". He was the one who introduced Mr. Vollmayr-Lee to the NEP and Brian has also provided a great deal of feedback into the system. He too is a Mizzou fan.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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