What Does PER Mean In Basketball?

There are many statistics used in basketball to estimate the efficiency rate of players in each game. One of these rating statistics is called PER, standing for Player Efficiency Rating.

All the different statistics used help coaches and fans determine each player’s performance in a game, career, or season.

Several fans and critics depend heavily on the statistics of the player’s field goals on the court in each game and others tend to look at the hustle scores that each player made during a single game or multiple matches.

Hustle stats include rebounding, steals, and other such plays that do not involve field goal statistics. These statistics also play a crucial role in determining a player’s true performance on the field in the game.

Individually looking at each stat will not depict the real picture of each player’s performance in a game. While the statistic PER, player efficiency rating is a statistic that will help determine the stats of each player and also accommodate the hustle plays and field goals.

PER has recently gained more importance as basketball analysts and coaches have begun using this term to determine the performance of the players in each game or match.

PER is a very effective rating mechanism to judge the performance of each player in the game, however, for an everyday fan, it can be a bit difficult to understand.

So let’s break it down and understand it thoroughly.

What Does PER Mean In Basketball?

Understanding PER (Player Efficiency Rating):

John Hollinger was the one who coined this statistic of Player Efficiency Rating that analyzes the performance of each player based on their per-minute performance in each game. John Hollinger was the former Vice President at the Memphis Grizzlies Basketball Operations.

This statistic helps judge the performance of each play more comprehensively instead of judging their performance based upon individual states. It also helps compare each player’s performance against one another using one statistic that can build a whole story of their career progression over time.

The PER calculation does take into account all of the plays in each game performed by each player in the game. It can be difficult to understand since it takes into account a lot of the plays and moves involved in the game.

Yet, the calculations can help understand each player’s performance and do make things a lot more interesting for the average basketball fan.

The following statistics are added in the PER calculation:

  • Blocks,
  • 3-pointers,
  • Steals,
  • Field Goals,
  • Rebounds,
  • Assists
  • Free throws,

The following negative statistics are subtracted in the PER calculation:

  • Turnover
  • Personal Fouls
  • Missed Shots

Since all of us are not that great at performing such a large and delicate mathematical equation. We are here to assist you in understanding the numerical values.

Let’s understand what they mean for each player’s career history in the NBA:

  • 13 to 15: Rotation player
  • 15 to 16.5: Slightly Above average player
  • 5 to 18: Third offensive option
  • 18 to 20: second offensive option
  • 20 to 22.5: Borderline All-star
  • 5 to 25: Definite All-Star
  • 25 to 27.5: Weak MVP Candidate
  • 5 to 30: Strong MVP Candidate
  • 30 to 35: Landslide MVP Candidate
  • 35 Plus: All-Time Season

This is the highest the statistics go; however, the statistics do go lower than 13 they go as low as 0 to 9 points. The players that fall in the average of 0 to 9 points, actually mean, that their performance is not good enough at all to continue to play for the major leagues.

The PER average statistic is 15.0 points per game which means that fans can estimate the performance of each player against this number to analyze their performance in each game.

By following the rating chart we have provided above fans can understand where their favorite players stand at the current point in time and what kind of PER they need to have to be able to move high up on the points table.

Now that we understand the PER statistic thoroughly, we can now move on to weighing the pros and cons of this statistic:


The Pace:

Each team plays at a different pace than the others and the PER statistic takes into account the pace of each team the number of possessions and the time each team had possession throughout one game. This statistic helps evaluate each player’s performance over an even playing field.


The best thing about this statistic is that it evaluates the performance of each player on a per-minute basis.

Each player’s performance on the field is judged equally and the PER average is derived based upon all the parameters shared above. This can help evaluate the performance of the upcoming rising talents and those players who have peaked and are on their way out.


Garbage time PER:

The term “Garbage time” is used to denote the period when the outcome of the game is predetermined and the remaining time has no impact on the game.

Sadly the PER statistic does not account for this garbage time in the calculations and gives inaccurate readings for players who perform in the garbage time.

Lack of defensive measures:

The ER doesn’t take into account the defensive measures taken by a lot of the players who play in the backend of the court.

This can affect players who do not embellish their steals or blocks as well as others and this can impact their PER statistic by a lot if the fans do not pay much attention to the game and just focus on the derived PER value for each player.


The PER statistic is an effective way to judge the performance of each player on the court. It also gives the coaches and the fans a good chance to evaluate the performance of each player and determine who the best player is among the whole team. Despite the cons, the pros outweigh them and make this statistic fun to use.