The Four Factors are just Win Score by another name

You ever notice fans and writers who are skeptical of Win Score seem to worship the so-called “Four Factors” as though they were brought down the hill in a golden box by a guy with a beard.

They never seem to see the irony.  The “Four Factors” are simply a parsed-out version of Win Score.

The Four Factors are (1) Field Goal Percentage; (2) Free Throw Rate; (3) Offensive Rebounding Rate; and (4) Turnover Percentage.  That’s just Win Score.

Win Score is a formula calculating a player’s ability to do one or all of the following: (1) create possessions, (2) turn possessions into points; and/or (3) commit acts that help the aforementioned or harm the opponents ability to do the same.

If you look at it “Factors” (1) and (2) are simply a measure of the team’s ability to turn possessions into points.  Field goal percentage is a self explanatory measure of the ability to turn possessions into points, and “Free Throw Rate” is such a measure because free throws are much more easily converted into points than field goals — even for the very worst free throw shooters — so the more times a team gets to the free throw line, the more efficient they are at turning possessions into points.  

Similarly, Factors (3) and (4) are simply a measure of a team’s ability to create and protect possessions.  “Offensive Rebounding Rate” is a misnomer, or rather it is simply an indirect measure of overall rebounding.  Since Defensive Rebounds are simply “Anti” Offensive Rebounds, Defensive Rebounding Rate could do just as well, as could any sort of measurement of rebounding proficiency.  And of course turnover rate, or a comparison thereof between a team and its opponents, encapsulates a team’s ability to better protect against and better create turnovers.

And the other “half stats” or “helpers” as I and others call them (assists, blocked shots, and personal fouls) are measurements of actions that indirectly help the two categories above.  (Thus the half value).

So there you have it.  If you worship at the throne of the Four Factors, you are actually already a fan of Win Score… you just didn’t know it. 

Its like, remember those old cheap colognes that would say right on the label, “If you love Drakkar, you will LOVE _________”.   Same deal.  Except Win Score smells better.

Gotta run… I’m late as it is.

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4 Responses to “The Four Factors are just Win Score by another name”

  1. StLreflections Says:

    I think the point is how you take the four factors and translate it to rating the individual. No one statistically minded disputes that Win Score has the right components for a useful box score based player evaluation.
    The dispute is over whether it overvalues rebounding (particularly defensive rebounding) since there is some evidence that rebounding is subject to diminishing returns/easy to replace, and undervalues the ability to get off one’s shot (or the ability of a player to make things easier for teammates, if you want to put it that way).

    That’s a legitimate statistical question, not just dismissing win score for no reason.

  2. BadgerBucco Says:

    As I’ve mentioned before, the Four Factors came first, so Wiin Score is just the Four Factors by a different name. That’s not a judgment that the Four Factors is better but just a more accurate way of stating your premise.

    • tywill33 Says:

      That sounds like that famous Bill Russell quote about the comparison being backwards.

      I didn’t mean to imply one is in any way derived from the other or that one is the original truth while the other is not. I just meant to suggest that the two share very similar core observations, which the adherents of one might not want to admit.

  3. A Weekend Tour Around the Wages of Wins Network | The Wages of Wins Journal Says:

    […] Ty then observes: The Four Factors are just Win Score by another name […]

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