Valuing the Longhorns

Ever wanted to see the all-around value a player brings to the court? takes a look at the Texas basketball roster using an old player value formula.

Here we'll use Manley's Credits formula, one of the first player value formulas of its kind. Martin Manley unveiled the simple mathematical calculation in his book, Basketball Heaven, as a way to measure the positive things that a player accomplishes in a game against he negative things that he does.

So here's Manley's Credits formula:

Player Value = PTS+REB+AST+STL+BLK-TOV-Missed FG-Missed FT

The theory behind the formula is simple: add up the good things that a player does, and subtract out the bad things that he does. Many other formulas have modifiers. Some separate out offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds, providing a different value for each. Some value assists more than others. Some don't use a full "1" as the direct weight — Bob Bellotti, for instance, said that weights should be assigned at 0.92, or what he called the "value of ball possession."

But here at, we're about keeping things simple, and there isn't anything more simple than Manley's credits. So while there might be more perfect formulas out there — Manley's formula would seem to over-reward 1) scorers and 2) players who were on the court for long periods of time (therefore having more chances to accumulate rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, etc.), and his formula doesn't account for personal fouls, which most value formulas do — we'll see what his Manley has to say about the Texas team.

I'm going to do an example first, just so you can see the formula in action. Let's look at Myck Kabongo.

Kabongo's Player Value = 126 points + 42 rebounds + 42 assists + 15 steals + 0 blocks - 29 turnovers - 48 missed field goals - 15 missed free throws

The first part of the formula — adding up Kabongo's positive accomplishments, comes to 225. From that, we'll subtract 92, or the combined value of Kabongo's negative plays. So, per Manley, Kabongo has a Player Value this season of 133.

Now, let's take a look at each scholarship player on the Texas roster:

Sheldon McClellan (31 games played) — 337 Player Value

Ioannis Papapetrou (31) — 275

Julien Lewis (30) — 239

Jonathan Holmes (26) — 230

Javan Felix (31) — 228

Connor Lammert (31) — 214

Cameron Ridley (30) — 169

Myck Kabongo (8) — 133

Prince Ibeh (31) — 107

DeMarcus Holland (31) — 90

Jaylen Bond (18) — 87

You can see a bit of the way things balance out. For instance, Ridley did a few more positive things than Lammert (Ridley: 325, Lammert: 316) did, but he also did more negative things (Ridley: 156, Lammert: 102) like missing free throws and turning the ball over at a higher rate. Holland doesn't do a lot that shows up on a stat sheet, so it's not surprising that he's pretty much at the bottom (Bond has three fewer points in value, but played in 13 fewer games).

Now, to make this a little less raw, and give it a bit more meaning, we'll divide each player's value by the number of games he's played. This should basically give a "value per game" statistic, rather than a simple value across the whole season.

Kabongo — 16.63 Player Value Per Game

McClellan — 10.87

Papapetrou — 8.87

Holmes — 8.85

Lewis — 7.97

Felix — 7.35

Lammert — 6.90

Ridley — 5.63

Bond — 4.83

Ibeh — 3.45

Holland — 2.90

Not surprisingly, Kabongo jumped up to the head of the class when the statistics were factored by-game. Also, Holmes moved up a spot, while Bond leapt up two. But just look at Kabongo's margin there. It kind of lets you know what Texas was missing when he was out … his per-game impact is almost twice that of Texas's No. 3 player.

And finally, to take it a step further and try to add an efficiency measure, I'll take each player's value and divide it by the number of minutes he has played. This should give you a "value per minute played" figure.

Kabongo — .440 Player Value Per Minute

Holmes — .421

Bond — .405

McClellan — .392

Papapetrou — .367

Ibeh — .357

Lammert — .335

Ridley — .331

Lewis — .298

Felix — .253

Holland — .166

Certainly some interesting results here. Kabongo stays at the top, but just below him are a pair of energy guys in Holmes and Bond, who put up big production for the time that they play. Meanwhile, high-minute, low-production guys like Lewis and Felix really dropped.

Is this formula perfect? Of course not. It doesn't take into account little things, like how well Holland does to stay in front of the guy he's defending. Or even some other, more measurable statistics, like Ridley's freakish ability to put fouls on whoever is guarding him. But, by keeping things simple, Manley gives us a chance to gauge the value a player brings to the court.

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