Dean Oliver's Defensive Statistics

The defensive statistics officially tracked by the NBA and WNBA -- blocks, steals and fouls -- are widely recognized by NBA experts as inadequate to describe players' defensive performance. To address this issue, Basketball On Paper author and Seattle SuperSonics consultant Dean Oliver created a new set of defensive statistics, which are essentially the opposite of the offensive statistics already tracked. They are:

  • Forced field goal misses (FM), when a defender forces an offensive player to miss a shot from the field.
  • Forced turnovers (FTO), when a defender forces an offensive player to commit a turnover.
  • Forced free throw misses (FTS -- free throw stop), when a defender fouls an offensive player who misses free throws.
  • Defensed field goals made (DFGM), when a defender allows an offensive player to score a field goal.
  • Defensed free throws made (DFTM), when a defender commits a foul that leads to made free throws.

    From Basketball On Paper:

    "It's not a complicated system, and it's not supposed to be. There are times when an offensive player misses a wide-open shot with no defender around. That is a team forced miss. Or, if the offensive player made the shot with no one around, that is a team DFGM. Maybe a coach can place responsibility on one player more than another if no one is covering the ball (e.g., a player didn't rotate, or a player double-teamed when she shouldn't have)."

    "This approach is very valid," Wizards assistant coach Tom Young told "Itís more detailed than what we do, but this kind of information is extremely useful."

    For more on the system and examples of it in action, check out Kevin Broom's work at and his defensive breakdown for, as well as Ed Peterson's work for