(Jon L's left RU headquarters for the holidays, but he penned this as a Christmas gift to you all before he left!)
Let's talk about stats. Specifically, D-League stats. As of right now, they're pretty basic. When you look at a boxscore, it just feels like there's a lot of information missing. Sometimes that's because information really is missing, but even when everything is present and accounted for they could do so much more. Boxscores are supposed to be summaries and snapshots of a game, handy ways to take a quick look (or a long look) and be able to figure out how the game went. That's not so easy as it stands now, so here are some suggestions for ways to improve D-League boxscores:
Blocks Against - This is one the NBA already has, and theoretically shouldn't be hard to implement in the D-League. All it says is how many of each player's shots were blocked in a game. I can imagine how much fun this could be. Also, the next time Cezary Trybanski gets nine blocks in a game (I'm not holding my breath) we can see who they were without having to go back through the play-by-play.
DNP - This suggestion comes from our own Scott Schroeder, and it's a great one. Too often players get a simple "DNP" (Did Not Play) in the boxscore, and you have no idea why unless the team happens to mention it three days later. Giving the DNP designation more transparency like the NBA does - it could be DNP-Coach's Decision for benchings, DNP-ankle injury for...well you can guess, or DNP-forgot to renew his visa - would make it a lot easier for fans to follow the D-League.
Plus/minus - Hardwood Paroxysm's Matt Moore is the one who suggested this on Twitter, and it's a good idea. Basically, plus/minus (alternately written as +/- if you're on Twitter and need to save characters) tells you the net scoring for when a player was on the court. If a player has a + number, his team scored more than their opponent with him on the court. If it's a - then his team scored less. Yahoo incorporated the plus/minus into their boxscores a few years ago. There's also adjusted plus/minus which controls for the quality of teammates and opponents on the floor and allows observers to account for defense, but the D-League doesn't even have to go that far. Making a basic plus/minus available would give a better picture of who's performing well and bring the D-League more in line with it's parent league.
Speaking of which, isn't the D-League supposed to be the NBA's testing lab? Instead of playing with some new-fangled basketball, Dan Reed et al. could get ahead of the curve by going with these suggestions:
Blown dunks/layups - Call this the DeVon Hardin Special. Wouldn't you like to know how many dunks or layups your favorite big man missed? Sure, we all do. It makes sense to add this next to the "blocks against" column, and it would be a quick handy way to say "sure Cezary Trybanski had nine blocks, but he also blew four dunks/layups!" Early favorites to lead the league in this category are: Tulsa, Dakota, Bakersfield.
Rebounds that didn't come against Kevin Pittsnogle - I'm not really sure how you'd condense that into a handy two-letter boxscore heading, but I think it's worth including. Dwayne Jones is the guy who would be hurt most by this so far this season, but it'll even out eventually. Another option is to keep the rebounding totals as they are, but put the "rebounds that didn't come against Kevin Pittsnogle" in parenthesis, like this: 24 (6).
Number of times Futurecast went out - You can't attribute this to individual players, of course, but it could go down near the Team Rebounds or Technical Fouls section. It's valuable information, after all.
Minutes spent hanging around the perimeter - This one's just for big men. Marcus Hubbard, Kevin Pittsnogle and Connor Atchley get to fight it out on the career leaderboard.
Random Shots taken with 16 seconds left on the shot clock - This one's pretty self-explanatory. Curtis Jerrells, come on down!
What would you like to see added?