The Dallas Mavericks have always been ahead of the field in advanced statistics and technology.
They were one of the first teams in the NBA to install SportsVU cameras in their arena to track player movements throughout the course of the game. In 2013-14, every NBA team installed the cameras, which have become a critical part in analysing players’ tendencies.
The Mavericks also use “beeper-sized” devices on their players in training camp that monitor workloads with the hope to get a better understanding of limiting injuries and improving rehab. Mark Cuban believes in the devices so much that he bought a minority share in Catapult, the company that makes them.
Cuban believes that better understanding player health is a key progression in the NBA. He recently told Dallas Morning News that if he’s going to make a big investment in the Mavericks, it will involve a top-line medical facility:
“There’s a lot of things we’re looking at doing, but they’re more driven by technology and medical technology than anything else. It’s not all about, ‘Hey, let’s go build some huge practice facility somewhere that has a bigger kitchen than the next guy.’ That really doesn’t resonate with me at all.”
“You’ve heard me say for a long time that first-line medicine is going to change everything.”
Much of the NBA has become more health conscious in monitoring players’ minutes and giving them more time to recover. Cuban believes that medical advances should allow players to extend their careers:
“And anything we do is driven by the idea that somebody coming into the league today, if they watch their health and do what we tell them, they should be able to play 20 years and not leave the game barely able to walk, but feeling like a 25-year-old.”
When asked about his investment in Catapult’s devices, Cuban told Dallas Morning News, “Anything that makes us smarter about our players’ health is a win for us.”
Hopefully the rest of the NBA follows suit on paying more attention to players’ health. Keeping players healthy and understanding injuries better would not only improve their personal lives, it’d improve the NBA’s overall product.
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