Player tracking (National Basketball Association)

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Player tracking is a new technology being used in the NBA to increase basketball statistical data collection and enhance advanced metrics. It began use in the NBA at the start of the 2013–14 season, and it is now in use in all 30 arenas, following trials during the previous season in 15 arenas.[1] USA Today said that "for fans who want to understand the game on a deeper level, this is a huge development".[2]

Technology[edit]

Six cameras have been placed in the catwalks in all 30 NBA arenas. Between them, these cameras are able to track each and every player on the court at the same time throughout the game, including tracking individual players, player separation and ball possession.[3] The cameras receive and update data in real time at a rate of 25 frames per second.[4] The cameras feed the data into proprietary software, where the data is stored and processed for use by "team evaluation, broadcast enhancement, web & mobile gamecasts and in-venue displays".[5] The system (and software) allows analysts and coaches to evaluate team defensive and offensive plays, how to best utilize a player (in isolation or within the team structure) and how to effectively shape the team.[6]

The current season's data is available to view on the NBA website at stats.nba.com.

Statistics collected[edit]

Some of the statistics collected are already counted by officials, however the new system introduces many new statistical data sets (as well as automating the collection of data), and provides some precise data which would be impossible without the use of camera technology and tracking software.

Statistics collected, and available to view during the game and throughout the season include (all statistics are per player):[7]

  • Speed and Distance - the speed, distance covered, average speed and distance travelled per game.
  • Touches/possession - touches per game, points per touch (PTS per touch) and total touches.
  • Passing - passes per game, points created by assist per game, total assists.
  • Defensive impact (this stat tracks blocks, steals and "defending the basket" defined as "a defender within 5 feet of the basket and 5 feet of the shooter") - Opposition Field Goal Percentage at the Rim, Opposition Field Goals made at the rim per game, total blocks.
  • Rebounding opportunities (rebounds collected "within a 3.5-foot vicinity") - rebound chances per game, percentage of available rebounds grabbed, total rebounds.
  • Drives (defined as "any touch that starts at least 20 feet of the hoop and is dribbled within 10 feet of the hoop, excluding fast breaks") - points per game on drives, team points per game on drives, total player points on drives.
  • Catch and Shoot (definition: "any jump shot outside of 10 feet where a player possessed the ball for 2 seconds or less and took no dribbles") - catch and shoot points per game, catch and shoot 3-point field goals made per game, total catch and shoot points.
  • Pull up shots (definition: "any jump shot outside 10 feet where a player took 1 or more dribbles before shooting") - pull up shots points per game, pull up shots 3-point field goals made per game, total pull up shots points.

Note: All of these categories are examples and they do contain far more detailed statistics. For example; as well as being able to view any of the stats listed above, you can also see "(stat) per 48 minutes" (this provides a fairer comparison, as players who play more minutes will amass more plays). All of these statistics (and more) can be seen on the NBA stat' webpage.

Software[edit]

The proprietary software was developed by SportVU and the statistics can be viewed in-game and on NBA.com/Stats and NBA TV.[8] The majority of the data collected can be viewed by the public, but some is reserved for use by NBA teams.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ nba.com. Hangtime Podcast (episode 133). Accessed 2 November 2013
  2. ^ Highkin, Sean. USAToday.com "NBA's new tracking stats give fans a window to the future". Accessed 2 November 2013
  3. ^ nba.com. nba stats "A whole new View". Accessed 2 November 2013
  4. ^ NBA.com - "Player Tracking - A Whole New View". Accessed 2 November 2013
  5. ^ sportsvu. stats.com "Basketabll". accessed 2 November 2013
  6. ^ nba.com. Hang Time Blog "SPORTVU ADDS TO THE CONVERSATION". Accessed 2 November 2013
  7. ^ stats.nba.com. "Player Tracking", Accessed 2 November 2013
  8. ^ NBA.com - "Player Tracking - A Whole New View". Accessed 2 November 2013
  9. ^ SBnation.com "NBA releases SportVU camera statistics". Accessed 2 November 2013