A friend called me about 8:20 or so this evening, heaving laughter. “You — heeheehee — You’re not going to believe what Herb just said on his show.” (I suppose at this point I should mention that I don’t listen to Sendek’s show, which I consider only marginally less entertaining than his offense and only marginally more entertaining than minor dental surgery.)
“What did he say?” I asked.
“He just talked about — get this — he just talked about his ‘Gross Adjusted Shooting Percentage!’”
What is that? Basically, that is calculating the shooting percentage of three-pointers as if they were two-point shots. I’ve heard Sendek talk about this before. Basically, if you shoot ten three-pointers and make four of them, your shooting percentage is only 40 percent, but since you’ve scored as much as you would with six normal baskets, your GASP (aside: love the acronym, just loooove it) is 60 percent.
According to my friend, however, Sendek was using his GASP to defend the team’s losing record. Gasp. No surprise there. He said that Sendek had argued that taking GASP into account, we lead the league in shooting percentage. Or did he say we were second? Now I can’t remember. Either way, it was a pretty impressive statistic.
Well, WHOOP-de-friggin-do! There’s this other statistic, called a won-loss record, that ain’t quite as impressive, and it happens to mean something. Something quite important, in fact. In that category, we are almost dead last in the conference, impressive GASP and all.
Out of curiousity, however, I decided to check into this GASP thing. I looked at NC State and its opponents in ACC contests only. I did not look at all the ACC teams’ stats for league games not against NC State. Here’s what I found:
NCSU: 49.6 FG% — 58.4 GASP
Opponents: 47.6 FG% — 53.2 GASP
Pretty impressive, no? We’re “outshooting” our opponents by 5 percentage points! Too bad percentage points don’t translate into actual game points, eh?
Then I thought some more about it. GASP doesn’t take into account FTs. If you make eight out of 10 FTs, that’s the points equivalent of shooting 40% of FGs. Surely a responsible GASPer should factor into FTs, so I did.
NCSU: 49.6 FG% — 50.2 GASP
Opponents: 47.6 FG% — 48.0 GASP
Now we’re “outshooting” our opponents only by a mere two percentage points. And the GASP scores are very close to the actual FG percentage.
If anyone’s read this far, then I’m pretty sure they’ve realized what a vain exercise this is. GASP is an interesting sidebar, nothing more. It makes a poor smokescreen for losing. We are not going to hang a banner for having the highest Gross Adjusted Shooting Percentage in the league, and if we ever do, I pledge to you that I will personally rip it down, stomp on it, tear it to ribbons and use them to light cigars.
“Herb Sendek, your team just lost to stinky old Virginia and embarrassed the school beyond belief. Now what are you going to do?” “I’m going to Microsoft Excel!”