David Aldridge of NBA.com and TNT writes this week about the analytic bonanza that the league's embrace of the SportsVu system will bring all 30 NBA teams, focusing on what it showed about the Nets-Pacers game Saturday..
NBA installed six small military cameras in the rafters above Barclays Center this summer, 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.
As Aldridge explains, the cameras, operating 25 frames per second, can determine, "how fast is a player running on the basketball court, and for how long? How much does he dribble? How long does his team maintain possession of the ball? How often does he touch or control a rebound within five feet of him?"
The data is analyzed with the help of "spotters" and team analytic staff, some of it in near real time, some the next day.
Here's the take on what the cameras saw Saturday night vs. Indiana, Aldridge writes...
Roy Hibbert had 11 rebounds on 18 rebound chances, or 61 percent. Brook Lopez had seven rebounds on 15 rebound chances, or 47 percent.
Even though the Pacers have one of the league's best halfcourt defenses, both Indiana and Brooklyn were able to drive effectively. The Nets scored 27 points on 19 drives, a points per possession on drives (PPD) of 1.42, above the league average of 1.2. The Pacers were also effective, scoring 25 points on 20 drives (1.32 PPD).
The Pacers were better on uncontested jump shots, making half of their 36 shots. The Nets went 10-for-26, just 39 percent, on their uncontested shots. That isn't good for Brooklyn, because the Nets shoot the second-highest number of contested shots in the league -- 20.5 per game -- and they only make 34.1 percent of them.
By contrast, Indiana only shoots 11.9 contested shots per game, 22nd overall. And it's probably no surprise that with a lethal perimeter player like Paul George on the roster, the Pacers are second in the league in catch-and-shoot jumpers, making 48.5 percent of them.
How and how much teams will use depends on the coach and organization. The Nets upgraded their analytics guy, Scott Sereday, this off-season and added Charles Klask, Lawrence Frank's assistant for analytics in Detroit.
Aldridge also writes about the Nets struggles calling them "decidedly average in everything," but writes as well about the team's veteran experience and early lack of health, particularly Deron Williams' lost preseason and Andrei Kirilenko's back spasms.
SportVU cameras shift focus of what's possible with NBA stats - David Aldridge - NBA.com