The plus/minus stat in basketball, which measures a team’s point differential when certain players are in the game, is considered little more than a snapshot. Those who incessantly crunch NBA data – Thunder general manager Sam Presti being among them – stress the plus/minus becomes a far more significant statistic when it’s evaluated over a few seasons rather than a few games.
OKC players currently dominate this season’s plus/minus standings. Kevin Durant sits comfortably at No. 1 (+437), Russell Westbrook is No. 2 (+372), Kevin Martin is No. 5 (+316), Thabo Sefolosha is No. 10 (+264), Nick Collison is No. 15 (+247), Serge Ibaka is tied at No. 17 (+240) and Kendrick Perkins is No. 22 (+208).
Therefore, it stands to reason the Thunder also dominates combinations of multiple players. Durant-Westbrook (+374) is the landslide leader in the two-man combo ahead of San Antonio’s Tim Duncan-Tony Parker (+313). Durant-Martin (+299) is No. 3, Sefolosha-Durant (+261) is No. 7, Westbrook-Martin (+249) is No. 10, Durant-Ibaka (+240) is No. 11, Sefolosha-Westbrook (+228) is No. 13, Westbrook-Ibaka (+224) is No. 17 and Perkins-Durant (+216) is No. 20.
Martin had a monstrous individual outing in OKC’s 112-91 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena, finishing at an astounding +31 in just 22 minutes. Martin had 17 points, shot 7 for 12 from the field and 3 for 5 from 3-point range.
The affable Martin shrugged off his achievement and said he wasn’t aware of the total until somebody texted him about it. “A couple times we were shooting free throws, so I got a couple points just checking in the game,” a smiling Martin joked after Tuesday’s practice. “You’d rather be plus-31 than negative-31, so I guess it’s a good stat. I think as a group it didn’t matter who was the court yesterday. We were all putting it together.” Informed of Martin’s +31, Thunder coach Scott Brooks raised his eyebrows and said, “Was he really? Gosh.”
Asked if he paid much attention to the plus/minus, Brooks said: “I like pluses. I do look at it, but it’s so hard to really use it. … I look at it after games. I look at it with groups. But if Kevin (Martin) has a bad minus game, I’m still going to play him the next night.”
- John Rohde