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Who was a better scorer in the 2011-12 NBA season: Miami Heat forward LeBron James or New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler? To answer this, most people would count only the points each player made, but in this lesson students will also take into account the points that they missed.

Students compare the two players in various ways, from total points, to points per game/minute, to a new measure called net points. Think LeBron is the best scorer on the floor? Think again.

Students will

  • Calculate how many points James and Chandler scored and missed during the season
  • Calculate each player’s point-per-game and point-per-minute averages, and discuss who was a better scorer
  • Calculate each player’s net points (points scored – points missed) totals, as well as per-game and per-minute averages for net points
  • Assess the usefulness of net points as a statistic

Before you begin

Students should be able to perform arithmetic with multi-digit numbers. Unit rates also make an appearance (e.g. the number of points a player scores per game), so some previous experience working with them is assumed.

Common Core Standards

Content Standards
Mathematical Practices