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Player impact metrics are supposed to help us understand one thing: how much does a player impact winning?

To answer this question, we used play-by-play data to quantify the impact of any given play on the likelihood that a team will win1.

Our impact ratings favour high usage, offense first players on teams that play in a lot of close games. In other words, Dame Time™ is real.

The metric is highly contextual. In addition to time and score, the metric can include the effect of schedule and team quality. Said another way, a basket by a well-rested Steph Curry on the 2015-16 Warriors is not as important as one by Damian Lillard on the Trailblazers coming off a back-to-back2. Context is both useful and dangerous, however. We think that it can provide some insight into how much value a player is adding beyond the expectation given by their situation. To make player comparison easier, we've included toggles to allow you to choose whether you want to use contextual information or not.

A lot of impactful basketball is not captured in play-by-play data.

Especially defense. There are dozens of great examples of impactful plays you won't find in traditional boxscores or eventlogs. We would love to attribute credit to players for contesting shots or creating wide-open looks for their teammates, but that information is not available to us on a play-by-play basis3. This means that there are plenty of players that we will systematically underrate.

Interpreting game and season ratings


Impact Description
0.75+ Elite
0.4 to 0.75 Good
0.25 to 0.4 Above average
0.15 to 0.25 Average
0.05 to 0.15 Below average
≤ 0.05 Bad


Impact Description
0.55+ Elite
0.3 to 0.55 Good
0.2 to 0.3 Above average
0.15 to 0.2 Average
0.1 to 0.15 Below average
≤ 0.1 Bad

1See this documentation for more information.

2Historically elite teams play fewer high leverage, clutch minutes. This leads to a sort of chicken-and-egg problem we're calling the Steph Curry Conundrum. How do you account for the fact that elite teams play in few close games because elite players build that lead? Our answer is... you can't. The best you can do is try to level the field by removing the backdrop of how good a team is when rating how impactful a player is.

3See here if you want to know more about our underlying data.

2023-24 MVP Tracker

See full tracker here