What Is a Plus-Minus in Basketball? The Correct Answer Is Here!

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The NBA deals with many stats. Some stats are pretty straightforward, such as rebounds or three-point percentages per game, but some might be confusing. 

The plus/minus stat is one of the essential categories. However, not many casual fans and spectators know it. If you are one of them, Scott Fujita is here for you!

So let’s read to answer, “What is a plus-minus in basketball?”

What Is a Plus-Minus in Basketball? 

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This stat shows how much a player contributes to the overall point total of the team.

The measurement isn’t as complicated as many think. It shows how much a player contributes to the overall point total of the team per every hundred possessions.

So it shows how much one person affects one game, including the negative or positive impact the player might have on the team. 

The +/- stat is also a good basis for determining how well a player plays. It also reflects that a player can help their team get better when he’s on the court.

How to Calculate Plus/Minus?

Once you understand “What is basketball plus/minus,” figuring out exactly how to calculate it is essential.

If one player goes into one tied game, then leaves with the team up by five, this player has a rating of +5. On the other hand, if he goes into a tied game and leaves when his team is down by 8, his rating will be -8.

Then you can take and extrapolate it out to every 100 possessions to gain an overall +/- stat. So a player who has a total +3 rating means his team is three points better for every hundred possessions that he is on the court.

What Is a Good Plus/Minus?  

The good +/- stat typically ranges from 2 to 8. Anything from 2 to 0 refers to an okay player, 0 is one average player, and players who dip lower than this are generally considered average.
This rule is not always true, but that is an excellent place to start.

How Important Is This Measurement?  

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The stat plus/minus can be helpful, but it’s not always accurate.

The plus/minus stat can be a helpful tool, but it can’t be a valid representation of a player’s efficiency. The reason is that this stat assumes all players are even, and it does not count for external factors as well.

To determine if a player is truly changing the game when he is on the court, you need to have context and also rely on other vital stats.


Is Plus/Minus Important?

This stat might be helpful, but it isn’t the end-all-be-all of statistics.

Although a better player usually has higher plus/minus rankings than the worse one, various other factors actively contribute to their score. That way, it might sometimes be misleading.

Who Has the Best Plus/Minus in the NBA?

Nowadays, Stephen Curry is the NBA player who has the best plus/minus stat. With an impressive ranking of 7.18, no player can impact their teams as he does.

What Is a Good Way to Improve Plus/Minus?

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You can play more efficiently or better to improve your plus/minus stat.

This stat is more focused on the individual impact on the game, so you can improve your plus/minus stat by playing more efficiently or better. The more rebounds, assists, blocks, or points you put up, the higher your plus/minus stat.

Can Plus/Minus Be Misleading?

Like any other stat, it is not perfect. One person may put up excellent stats or be very helpful to his team but may still not have a fantastic plus/minus stat because of other circumstances.

So it is always critical to look at other statistics surrounding the +/- stat when evaluating a player.

Final Words  

Hopefully, this article will give you a better understanding of “What does plus minus mean in basketball?” As a basketball lover, knowing what this stat means and how to calculate it will bring you a deeper understanding of this sport.

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