Friday, November 1, 2013

5 early gems from the new NBA player tracking tool

If you haven't seen the new NBA Player Tracking tool yet, check it out. It uses SportVU cameras and software to track the movements of every player on every court for every NBA game. That means it can chart the movements and speed of every player, touches and passes, rebounding, defensive opportunities, and much more. It's going to be an amazing tool for fans to get a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the game.

Like for example, by jumping to impossibly early conclusions based on two games of data! But hey, it's fun, so here are five early nuggets that I found interesting and we'll keep tracking in the future. (Note: I'm only including data for players who've played two games so far, not one. See? I care about sample size!)

1. How some notable centers are doing defending the rim (min 6 FGA / gm at the rim):

Against Roy Hibbert: opponents are shooting 26% at the rim (btw, David West and Ian Mahinmi both qualify as well, and are at 38% and 37% respectively)
Chris Kaman: 17% (!)
Tyson Chandler: 32%
Andrew Bogut: 50%
Pau Gasol: 54%
Nikola Vucevic: 56%
Chris Bosh: 62%

2. Catch and shoot FG% (min 5 such FGA/gm):

Klay Thompson: 73%
LeBron James: 62.5%
Ray Allen: 41.7%
Carmelo Anthony: 40%
Wesley Johnson and Pau Gasol: 36% each
Arron Aflalo: 25%

Bonus: Stephen Curry doesn't qualify yet, but (yawn) he's at 75%.

3. Leaders in player time of possession per game (number of mins a player possesses the ball in mins):

Chris Paul: 7.9 mins out of 37 mins played
Derrick Rose: 6.6 mins, 32.9 mins played
Jameer Nelson: 6.2 mins, 35.5 mins played

Bonus: Klay Thompson has possessed the ball for just 1.1 mins / gm in order to score 24 ppg. That's 66 seconds per game.

4. Leaders in average speed on the court (in mph, min 20 mpg)

Norris Cole: 4.7 mph
JJ Redick: 4.7 mph
Kirk Hinrich: 4.6 mph
Steve Blake: 4.6 mph

5. Leaders in assist opportunities per gm (passes in which the teammate then attempts a shot):

CP3: 21.5 opptys/ gm, translating to 13 apg
Jameer Nelson: 18.5 opptys/ gm, 7.5 apg
LeBron: 18 opptys/ gm, 10.5 apg

Bonus: Poor D-Rose and Melo: each have 9.5 opptys/ gm, but only 3.5 apg

FINAL bonus: D-Rose has attempted 13 pull-up jumpers so far this season, and has made 0 of them.

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