Barclays Center gets SportsVu cameras

Brooklyn Nets/Adam Pantozzi

Sometime before the season, the NBA will install six small military cameras in the rafters above Barclays Center, bringing the Nets into the world of SportsVu, the next generation of sports analytics where every movement is tracked.

The Nets are among the last 15 NBA teams to get the technology. Before this season,  half of the 30 teams had installed the cameras at their own expense, about $100,000. The league will pick up the tab for the rest, it was reported last week.

As Ian Parfrey of Brooklyn Fans notes, the way teams use them is varied and secretive. The data, which is shared among the teams that use the technology, can be manipulated in a lot of different ways.  It's particularly useful for tracking defensive assignments, yours and theirs.

Here's how ESPN Tech described its value in an article last year, when 10 teams were using the SportsVu technology...

SportVU tells us, with relative certainty, which player has the fastest top speed in the NBA. It tells us not who scores the most, but who scores the most per touch. It tells us who dribbles the most per game, and who dribbles the most compared to how many shots they take. And that’s just the surface.

Why didn't the Nets use it? It's not a lot of money and as everyone in the NBA knows, that's never a problem for the Nets ownership.  It's just that the team hasn't been known as a true believer in analytics, not like the Rockets or the Mavericks. They have just done things quietly, like spending big bucks on consultant Jeff Sagarin, and sending as many as seven executives and staff to the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, aka Dorkapalooza. That was as many as any team in the league. Early on, they used Milton Lee to establish an analytic baseline.

This off-season, the Nets upgraded their statistical analyst, Scott Sereday, from a consultant to a full-tme employee, although that was more about changing the way he was paid than upgrading the position. They also hired Lawrence Frank's stats coach, Charles Klask, to do in-depth game prep and real-time analysis. Now, they have an additional tool, courtesy of the NBA.

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