By Ron Chambers
I was really intreagued by Mike Begley’s article the other day on the “+/-” stat. As a journalist I hadn’t looked at it too carefully but I had heard it mentionedinmy conversations with GM’s around the league. Begley was one of the first stars in this league so having a player of that calliber talking about the stat made me take a second look. In Begley’s article he looked for anomalies in this stat. What player stands out on each team and why. It seems to me there is a lot of value to that because players on good teams tend to have better “+/-” ratings than players on bad teams. But, I was also really curious about who the “+/-” leaders in the league are. On a team level we look at winning margin all the time. It is no coincidence that Miami, Toronto, Brooklyn, Cancun, and Gabon are the only teams in the league with a double digit winning margin and that it drops several points after those five. Many think they are the leagues elite. It is also no coincidence that Budapest and Alaska are the only teams in the league with a double digit negative in the points margin category. But, what does it mean as an individual stat?
I decided to take a look at the top 20 players in the league and see what I could figure out from it.
- Walt Jackson 13.4 (Toronto Dinos)
There is no surprise here. Jackson is generally considered teh best player in the league and his team has beenon a terror winning 14 of their last 15. They also have the best record in the league and the second highest point margin. So, the surprise would have been if he wasn’t here.
2. Al Herbert 11.5 (Brooklyn Rage)
This one is a legitimate surprise. Herbert is on a very good team that has the third highest point margin in the league so finding him on the list may not be surprising but finding him at this place certainly is. During the Rage’s four game skid his “+/-” was -4.0. That explains a lot. So, why does Herbert do so well here? There are several reasons: he plays the most minutes for the Rage, he leads them in rebounding, he is a great defender. But maybe most importantly, he leads all Centers in assists. It is only 3.0 assists a game which is actually down from his last two years. But, it is the best there is. Basically, he is the type of player who makes everyone around him better.
3. Mario Bailey 11.2 (Brooklyn Rage)
This is another one that should’t surpise anyone. Bailey is one of the most efficient scorers in the league. He has the second highest points per shot in the league andis third in the league in scoring. Plus, he is a great defender and a good rebounder. He gents mentioned as an MVP candidate for a reason.
4. Abdullah Chanda 10.7 (Toronto Dinos)
This one is another surprise. He isn’t as good of a defender or passer as Herbert but he is the type of all around player that that teams need. Hemakes other players better and is efficient without demanding attention.
5. Charlie Meyer 10.4 (Gabon Giants)
Gabon has beensomewhat of a surpise this year. Everyone knew they were a decent team but no one expected them to be leading the World Division. A lot of attention has beenpaid to John Devine and his 24 point- 10 rebound season, not to mention his amazing long distance shooting (51% behind the arc). But, Charlie Meyer has been the quiet reason this team is doing so well. He just makes everyone around him better and he is pretty darn good himself averaging 17.0 points, 6.3 assists, and 5.5 rebounds.
6. Jervon Timmons 10.2 (Toronto Dinos)
Everyone knew Timmons was a star of the future. It turns out he is a star of today. His 10.8 assists is second best inthe WBA impressively though he does that with only 1.6 turnovers. But, his 2.8 steals also leads the WBA. Some are bother by the fact that he only averages 6.8 points a game. Don’t worry about that…he passes to Walt Jackson.
7. Parker Mason 9.9 (Cancun Outlaws)
Mason is probably hurt a litle on this list because Cancun is such a defensively oriented team. But, still #7 is darn good. He is one of the best scoring point guards in the league and the best rebounding point guard in the league. His passing has dropped quite a bit over teh last several years but his turnovers have also gotten under control compared to how they were early in his career.
8. Omar Jefferson 9.8 (Brooklyn Rage)
In many people’s minds Jefferson is having a disappointing season. His scoring is down about four points from last year and his assists are also down. But, he is playing efficient ball and leading a team that has a legitimate chance at the championship. One look at his”+/-” ratingand you seehow important he is. He is also the best 3-point shotter on the Rage and crucial for their spreading defenses. Hurting his numbers is also the fact that Brooklyn may have the best starting five in the league. All five are in the top 20 in “+/-“, three in the top 10, and two in the top three…not bad.
9. Jaxon McCall 9.1 (Miami Xtreme)
Everyone has know Jaxon McCall was good for years. He has averaged over 20 points every year of his career and has a career field goal percentage of about 54%. But, he also spent most of that career on teams that were not championship calliber. Quietly, Miami traded for him. Miami was expected to be good but not great. McCall has made all the difference. He has taken a scoring hit as he only averages 18 points this year. But, he also is on a team that is 16-5 and #2 in the FBB Power Poll. A quite little trade that nobody paid too much attention to has completely changed the fortunes of Miami. A team that was 33-47 last season has turned into a power house. That is what the right star player can do for any mid range team…if their team make-up is good. Miami also happens to have maybe the best top six players in the league. They have six that fall in the top 20 “+/-” rating.
9. Jarrod Roe 9.1 (Gabon Giants)
There was a time right before the start of the season when Gabon was looking to trade Roe. Silly Gabon! This kid is going to be a real star. He is only 23 and really needs to work on his conditioning but he is going to be a beast inthis league for a long time.
11.Isaac Edmondson 9.0 (Miami Xtreme)
11. Kent Mercer 9.0 (Cancun Outlaws)
13. Oman Fatafehi 8.7 (Miami Extreme)
13. Jarius Miles 8.7 (Brooklyn Rage)
15. Jose Nobis 8.6 (Miami Xtreme)
16. Reed Moses 8.5 (Cancun Outlaws)
17. Dave Troychak 8.4 (Miami Xtreme)
18. Shane Strom 8.1 (Brooklyn Rage)
19. Mike Bennet 8.0 (Toronto Dinos)
20.Darryl Whittaker 8.0 (Miami Xtreme)