NBA to Install Data-Tracking Cameras in All Arenas

by August 23, 2013

What was once on the cutting-edge will now become the norm — the NBA is having STATS LLC data-tracking cameras (which cost about $100,000 per year) installed in all 29 arenas around the League. Per Grantland: “The deal is expected to be announced as early as next week. Exactly half the league’s teams used the STATS LLC SportVU cameras last season after a trend-setting half-dozen had them installed for the 2011-12 season — or even earlier. The cameras record every movement on the court — of players, officials, and the ball — several times per second, so that subscribing teams have been able to track the positioning of players in new ways … The Toronto Raptors showed how they have used the data to (among many other things) build computerized ‘ghost defenders’ that reacted in optimal ways to every offensive action. The team could then overlay camera recordings of actual game play to see how closely Toronto’s real players mirrored the actions of their ghosts. Subscribing teams have used the data to get at some of basketball’s deepest questions — how many players should crash the offensive glass; where missed shots actually fall after hitting the rim; the best strategies for defending various players in the pick-and-roll; how each player should approach transition defense in specific situations; and many, many others. The possibilities, big and small, are basically endless. Reports released by STATS include information on how fast players run, how often they dribble, how far they run during games, which players touch the ball at the elbow most often, and which players drive from the perimeter to the basket most often.”