On the plus side

A controversial stat can fix the most dysfunctional lineup

Updated: August 13, 2012, 3:21 PM ET
By Peter Keating | ESPN The Magazine

OVER THE PAST DECADE, basketball statheads have hotly debated a metric that sabermetrician Tom Tango calls a With or Without You stat: plus/minus. Plus/minus looks at a team's point differential when a player is on the floor compared with when he's not. In theory, this is a clever way to measure not just a player's scoring but something media types love: the so-called intangibles. For example, when the Sixers beat the Pacers 96-86 on Jan. 9, Thaddeus Young had only 12 points, ...

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