Stat geeks and hoop junkies, let the mouth watering begin. The NBA and Stats LLC announced a plan to install motion-tracking technology in every NBA arena beginning with the upcoming 2013-2014 season.
Stats’ SportVU Player tracking system, a platform that includes six cameras and exclusive software, will be used by all 30 NBA teams during game play to record and measure the movements of the ball and all players on the court. A continuous stream of data and innovative statistics will therefore be available, chronicling speed, distance, player separation and ball possession for a deeper and more targeted analysis. (Super fans, commence drooling.)
And don’t think that the motion-tracking system is just for the ex-jocks in the TV booth. Along with NBA TV, the SportVU player tracking data will be available to fans via NBA.com and the NBA Game Time app. Get ready to corroborate arm-chair conjecturing with some cold hard facts.
“We are a league driven by data, and our expanded partnership with STATS provides our teams and fans with access to uncover groundbreaking statistics,” Steve Hellmuth, NBA Executive Vice President of Operations and Technology, said in a press release. “In this new era of statistical information, SportVU will be an invaluable resource for basketball executives and our passionate fans.”
Stats CEO Gary Walrath says “the new vernacular of the NBA will be speed profiles, offensive play types, defensive matchups and court coverage maps.”
While I’ll still continue to thumb my nose at the NBA as a league of nothing more than isolation plays and nonexistent defense that isn’t worth watching until the playoffs roll around, perhaps this motion tracking technology might convince me otherwise. I mean, if it’s anything like this GIF of every shot LeBron James made in Game 7 of last season’s finals, then sign me up. And since LeBron and the rest of the Heat open the season against the Chicago Bulls and the (fingers crossed) triumphant return of Derrick Rose, maybe I’ll tune in…at least until the real basketball kicks off, the NCAA college season.
Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images