Basketball has never been the most statistically advanced game, at least compared to its counterparts baseball and football.
Major League Baseball, for example, has turned into a data hotbed with the creation of “Moneyball,” a team management concept that heavily relies on statistical analysis. The National Football League, too, has recently adopted more data tracking technology, such as RFID, to monitor player movement and distance run in real-time.
Now the National Basketball Association is finally trying to catch up with a more data-friendly approach. The Information reported yesterday that the NBA has partnered with Stats LLB last year to set up a six-camera player-tracking system in all 30 team arenas. It can monitor the ball movement and all the players on the court 25 times a second, producing massive amounts of data.
Here are some screenshots of the camera system and how teams are using the data:
This is what the camera looks like in the arena:
This is a screenshot of the data analysis software. All teams use these tablets during games now.
Teams can break down each player’s efficiency into more detailed sub-categories, like touches per shot or points per touch.
Here’s what an in-game analysis would look like. You can track the distance run or speed for each player.
Some NBA teams are also using wearable devices by companies like Jawbone or Fatigue Science to track the players’ sleeping habits and daily routines for more data. All this will only result in more data analysis, making the NBA “the Elysian Fields of sports-loving statisticians,” the report says.
One of the most data-advanced NBA teams is the Sacramento Kings. Its owner, Vivek Ranadive, is the founder of the real-time data processing software maker TIBCO. He told Business Insider in September that the Kings have applied TIBCO’s data analysis software to its player management system, which has resulted in performance improvements across the board. One of his players, Rudy Gay, was able to improve his shooting percentage by nearly 20%, while taking less shots and averaging more points per game last season. In fact, he told us, the Kings have analysed more data than what had existed in the entire history of NBA before last year.