Asking About Basic Stats
StatMuse is great; and like other great experiences in life, it’s even better if you know what you’re doing.
With that in mind, we present the first entry in our StatMuse NBA tutorial series to help you get a grasp of the many aspects and abilities of the StatMuse platform, starting with asking basic questions. The NBA platform works similarly to the NFL and MLB versions, but even seasoned veterans may need a few tips and suggestions for getting the best answers from basketball stats that stretch all the way back to the first games in 1946–47.
(Stats included are accurate as of the date of publication. Results may have since changed.)
Select the Right Sport
With multiple sports available, it’s important that you select the appropriate sport since it’s really hard to hit a home run in the NBA or score a touchdown on a baseball diamond. Our homepage will default to a sport that is in-season, but if you ever need to switch sports, simply click the toggle in the upper left-hand corner.
Ask a Question — Be Specific
StatMuse is like a search engine in that you type in a question and it returns an answer. However, instead of sending you to a webpage that includes the answer, you get it directly with an instant visualization. Keep in mind that specificity is the foundation of a good StatMuse question. It’s not a Kubrick film; it shouldn’t be left open to interpretation. Be as specific as possible in your questions to get the most accurate answers.
Player vs. Team Stats
Suppose you want to know who has scored the most points in a game, so you ask “most points in a game?” The problem with that is StatMuse doesn’t know based on that query whether or not you want to know “Most points by a player in a game?” or “Most points by a team in a game?” StatMuse assumes you meant “Most points by a player in a game?” and adds that text to your search to show you the results being returned:
Yet, these complications can be avoided by asking questions with a proper grammatical structure. StatMuse isn’t Jeopardy, so you don’t have to phrase it in the form of a question, but it generally helps to construct your StatMuse questions like you would any other. So asking something like “Who scored the most points in a game?” or “Which team scored the most points in a game?” can help return more accurate answers.
Same Name, Different Stats
Suppose you want to know the most points Stephen Curry has scored in a season, so you ask “What are the most points Curry scored in a season?” You’ll get an answer that includes stats for more than just Steph because his dad, Dell Curry, also played in the NBA and put up some decent numbers in his day. Remember Eddy Curry? You may not, but StatMuse and disappointed Bulls fans in the post-Jordan-era do. His stats also filter in since a first name wasn’t specified in the question:
StatMuse will still work with partial questions and even work through some nicknames, but it’s best to include full names in order to get the best results.
StatMuse can easily interpret abbreviations to make searching for stats as easy as possible. You can save valuable seconds by asking “What was Kevin Durant’s PPG last season?” instead of typing out “What was Kevin Durant’s points per game last season?” But just like you can get an unwanted response by referring to a “Ms.” as a “Mrs.” you can also get unwanted responses by using the wrong abbreviations in StatMuse. For example, if you ask “Which team had the most 3PTM in a season?” you won’t get the results for “Which team had the most three-pointers made in a season?” because the appropriate abbreviation for that stat is “3PM”.
If you don’t know an appropriate stat abbreviation or you’re using an abbreviation and not getting the results you want, try spelling it out and you should see the correct abbreviation listed in the data table. For a complete breakdown of every NBA stat supported on StatMuse and the appropriate abbreviation for each, check our our Basketball Statistics Glossary.
Now that you have the simple question down, let’s expand your statistical horizons with more complex queries.
You already have an idea of how to discover the most points LeBron James has scored in a game, but that can be fleshed out even further. What’s the most he’s scored in the playoffs? On the road? Against the Spurs? All you have to do is ask. You can even ask all of it in the same question:
Make a stat casserole with multiple teams or players comparing multiple categories. Simply use commas to separate your variables and StatMuse will render a interactive visualization including them all:
You can even switch between stat categories by toggling the headers along the top (click through to try it).
Filter by Opponent
Anthony Davis has swatted a bunch of shots in his short time in the league, but which team has the Brow blocked most? A simple question will show that Philly has felt his wrath the most:
But maybe seeing this stat makes you wonder if anyone has more blocks against the 76ers than Davis? Change up the language a bit to see who has the most blocks per game against Philadelphia:
Well how about that? Turns out Davis’ 4.2 BPG vs. the 76ers is the highest by any opponent. How many other teams would also have Davis atop their list? Let’s change Philadelphia to Detroit and see where Davis’ 3.8 BPG against them ranks all-time.
No Anthony Davis atop this list. It’s Jarvis Varnado who leads with 6 blocks per game against Detroit. This, of course, begs another question — Who the hell is Jarvis Varnado?
Restrictions and Limitations
But seriously, who the hell is Jarvis Varnado? By asking “What is the career BPG by Jarvis Varnado?” you’ll see he averaged 0.8 blocks in just 37 career games and “What are the most blocks in a game by Jarvis Varnado?” shows his six blocks against Detroit was his career-high, so he certainly can’t be considered the king of Piston-blocking. To paint a more accurate picture, you can set a minimum game limit to filter out the one-game wonders:
Serge, the Dream, the Admiral and Manute. That’s more like it. Sorry, Jarvis.
Our database updates a few minutes after a game has finished. If you’re upset that a game’s stats aren’t showing up immediately, we love your passion, but please wait for just a little bit. They’ll be there soon.
Try It Yourself
Now that you’ve seen some of the basic NBA questions you can ask StatMuse, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. Log in to StatMuse and ask some of these questions yourself. Or come up with your own questions.
If you’re still not quite ready to ask your own questions, you can see some of the best ones shared recently on the homepage. If you need any help, click on the live chat icon in the bottom right-hand corner or send us a message on Twitter and we’ll answer any questions you may have.
In the next NBA tutorial, we’ll dive into advanced stats like true shooting percentage, effective field goal percentage and a bunch of things that end in “rating.”