Warping Play Registration

Synergy: Breaking Down Field Goal Types With the creation of Synergy, the basketball world gained valuable access to previously hard-to-obtain data on all field goal events in the league. One of the biggest introductions was the “primary defender” tag on field goal events. With play-by-play data, when a player drives to the basket or attempts…

Stop Rate

In a recent game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Detroit Pistons, the Bucks employed their typical switch, slip, and show match-up zone defense to clog the paint and swat shooters off the perimeter en route to a 115-105 victory. The methodology is fairly straight forward: On the perimeter, try to slips guards and drop…

The Potential Assist

In a fairly comical article back in February 2018, Bleacher Report identified the League’s Least Valuable Shooters. In this article, Adam Fromal examined players around the league by extracting their field goal percentage from four particular zones on the court: 3-10 feet, 11-16 feet, 17′-3pt, and 3PA. Fromal would then calculate each player’s points per…

Modeling the Pass

Over the course of the years, NBA Stats has released a variety of information about passing in games. A few years ago, we could directly query the “single-hop” passing network between players. It allowed me to then perform a topical analysis such as Kobe Bryant’s role within the Los Angeles Lakers’ offense. Unfortunately, little information…

Game of Waveforms

Over the day following a Derrick Rose 50-point performance, Jalen Rose commented that Derrick Rose took 653 dribbles over the course of the game; contrasting to a 52-point performance from Klay Thompson that only took 56 dribbles. The aim of the comment was to identify the difference between the players’ role within the offense. Thompson,…

Stochastic Tracking

In the era of tracking data, a need for a new style of analysis has emerged. Long gone are the regularized regression models and the simple counting techniques. Instead, we require leveraging shot-noise distributed systems such as Dan Cervone’s competing risks model, or Matthias Kempe’s self-organizing maps, or Peter Carr’s Imitation Learning. The list is…

Kinematics of Player Motion

After a couple special topics posts in Sketching and Voronoi Tessellation, we take a step back and look at the basic mechanics of player motion: position, velocity, and acceleration. Understanding computation and estimation of such quantities allow us to perform more important calculations such as trajectories, coverage, and crashing. The easiest way to capture these…