In-game player movements tracker


Sports journalism is driven by data. Though the most often used metrics in reporting would usually rely on aggregated data, such as the average scores of a team, how often it would win at home and away and so on. There is one limitation: the outcomes of games are heavily influenced by chance, so even with very extensive statistics predictions about game outcomes are just guesses.

But there is a perspective that would be new: if one could zoom into the decisive moments of a game and provide insights which get lost in the video of a game. The NBA in the US has introduced animated visualizations doing just that. From a bird’s eye perspective you can see the movements of the players and the ball, see how a team succeeds in scoring against the other.

The tracking is possible because of camera systems that do not only record moving images, but allow for an extraction of player and ball movements. A number of examples can be found here

These kind of new views  will over time change how sports journalism reports about games, specifically for the fans of a team. Whether done for one game or in a step by step analysis of how one player performed during a season, the movements data is interresting. There are even ways to extract the data from the NBA via an API: Go to the website of Savvas Tjortjoglou. In his most recent post he provides a script that allows to tap into the API of games data from the NBA.

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Found on Flowing Data