Monday, June 15th, 2009 at 2:00 pm  |  10 responses

The NBA Is Becoming More Data Friendly

Stat nerds, your time is at hand: “As the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic tested one another’s resolve in the finals, the N.B.A. was testing a new tracking system, one that could perhaps alter how the game is watched, measured and coached. Perched high above and adjacent to the court, six high-definition cameras in a semi-circle have captured and traced the movements of each player, the referees and the basketball in Games 3 and 4 of the N.B.A. finals at Amway Arena. The cameras streamlined information into two data processing computers tucked behind the rafters that are aimed at rapidly defining an N.B.A. game in a way that has not been seen before. Through the processing computers, the data became relative and relatable. For example, the cross-angle cameras confirmed that a goaltending call on Orlando’s Dwight Howard was accurate. When Howard blocked the shot by Andrew Bynum, the ball had already descended about 3 inches, according to the computers.”

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  • Franchise

    Bill Belichik would like credit for his idea.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    I wish they’d show different angles when broadcasting games, too. Like in the ECF, I love the overhead shot (lower so you’re like floating above the point guard) because it shows much more of the action.

  • niQ


  • Word of God

    NHL has been doing for some time.

  • http://nationofmillions.ca ciolkstar

    They could also introduce a stat about the distance and average speed each player runs over the couse of a game. it wouldn’t be perfect but that could be the closest thing to a measurement of “hustle” that exists.

  • http://www.crashwallace.com nate the great


  • JL

    finally a reference to Dwight Howard goaltending. I kept thinking his blocked shots were consisting of many goal tends, but the ref’s just let it go. If they can do this reliably, then it should probably be automated, Refs have time to get like an audio confirmation. They just don’t have the best angle sometimes.

  • wilz

    hustle is one of the most obvious things when you watch a game..that’s probably the last thing you could try to measure. just cuz a player is running in circles doesnt mean he’s hustling. so much depends on situational factors.
    goaltending and out of bounds tho..

  • http://nbainchina.com NBA China

    Ciolkstar: They track how much each player runs in football (soccer), so the technology is there.

  • rav

    was just going to say – sounds like the prozone system thats been used in soccer for about 10 years – i honestly thought the NBA would have been doing this for many years