Offensive rating is a measure of an individual player’s efficiency. In its simplest form, it’s points produced divided by possessions used. If you want to know more than that, you must read Dean Oliver’s Basketball on Paper. Otherwise you’ll have to take my word that the formula is about as good as it gets for assessing personal efficiency based on the stats that are recorded.

Values of ORtg fall in the same range as team efficiencies – 100 is about average, higher values are better. Considering that individual stats are often dependent on team interactions, to say that Player A is better than Player B because he has a better offensive rating is a serious misuse of this metric.

A very important aspect of offensive rating is that it must be used in conjunction with the possession usage (%Poss) column to have any value. The average player will use 20% of his team’s possessions while he is on the court.  The majority of players fall between 15% and 25%. A player that has a high offensive rating and uses a lot of possessions is especially valuable (example: Adam Morrison, 122.8 ORtg, 31.4% possessions used).

The current leader in ORtg is Northeastern’s Bobby Kelly at 141.0. Kelly only uses 11.6% of Northeastern’s possessions, so we can gather he’s very selective about when he shoots, and in his ample spare time he enjoys watching point guard Jose Juan Barea do his thing. Kelly is very good at his role (75% shooting in eFG terms), but no one would suggest he’s All-American material or even all-CAA material, because he’s just that – a role player.

If Kelly were to somehow be taken away from Northeastern, it wouldn’t hurt them nearly as much as losing Barea, who despite having a much lower ORtg (108.5) uses a nation-leading 39.5% of his team’s possessions, in addition to being the team’s floor general.

Line o’ the Night

                           FG    3pt  FT    Reb
                      Min  M-A   M-A  M-A   O-T  A F S TO BLK Pts
Thomas Gardner         42 13-22  7-14 7-8   0-2  3 4 0  8  0   40
Result: Win. Missouri 89, Kansas 86 (OT).

I don’t think you’ll find a more improved shooter than Gardner this season.

             3FGM-3FGA  Pct
Gardner '05    53-196  .296
Gardner '06    54-123  .439

In 73 fewer attempts, Gardner has already made more threes than last season. Amazing. Gardner has gone from being one of the five worst high-volume three-point shooters in the nation to being more accurate than JJ Redick. This is why you gotta love college hoops.