Challenge: Who was the best offensive player in the NBA during the 2011-2012 regular season?
Once you have an idea of how you will define “best” and what types of offensive production you value in determining the “best,” it’s time to start digging into the statistics.
A nice place to start may be the 2011-2012 NBA Leaders page at Basketball-Reference.com. This page allows you to see the top 20 performing players from this past season, in many different statistical categories. For example, you can see that Kevin Durant led the league in both free throws and field goals made, that Tyson Chandler led the league in field goal percentage, or that Steve Novak led the league in three-point percentage.
From the leaderboard you can click on any player’s name. This takes you to their player page where you can find all their numbers from this past season. For example, looking at the player page for James Harden allows you to see his statistics, broken down several ways. You can look at his total numbers along with several advanced statistics. You can also see his numbers per game and per 36 minutes.
One you have started to look at statistics for a specific player, you may want to compare how those numbers stack up against some other great offensive players. Basketball-Reference’s Player Comparison Finder lets you do this easily. Select up to six players that you’d like to compare, making sure you’ve checked the option for single season and selected the 2011-2012 season.
The results will be organized just like the player pages, but with the statistics for your six chosen players stacked on top of each other, making for an easy comparison.
Feel free to explore beyond Basketball-Reference as well. These other statistical sites have all sorts of numbers available:
Look around. Have fun. Find something new.
- Data Resources - Links to statistical websites that may help in answering Challenge #1
- Unpacking the Challenge - Questions to help you begin thinking about Challenge #1
- Digging Deeper - Some more complex variables to consider in selecting your answer, and providing supporting evidence
Back to Challenge #1