The Weekly Nichols: Developing a Rating for Selfishness

People always like to praise a player’s selflessness on the court while at the same time criticizing those who do not share the same virtues. But which players really are “selfish?” I’ve developed a simple measure that will attempt to answer this question.

First, let me describe what I mean by selfish. For the sake of this article, selfish means a player who consistently chooses to shoot instead of setting up plays for others. The player doesn’t need to take a lot of shots or be a high-volume shooter.

To come up with the rating was actually quite simple. First, I divided a player’s total field goal attempts by their number of assists. I then found their ranking among players of their position. Finally, I translated this ranking to a stat on a 0-10 scale.

Simple enough. But before I reveal the numbers, I want to stress that this is a very simple rating system. Because of how basic it is, there will certainly be exceptions to the rule that get misrepresented. Also, don’t forget this is adjusted for position. In reality, most point guards are probably very selfless. But if a point guard has a rating of 8 or 9, that just means he’s more selfish than other floor generals.

To see the numbers for every player, go to:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=rXbYUWIumaHKB0pH8G4_ZrQ

Also, here are a few tables that may be of interest:

Most Selfish by Position
Least Selfish by Position
What the People Want

Seth Carstens