How The NBA Uses Data & Analytics

6 min readAug 16, 2018

In my opinion, basketball is a wonderful sport, you can tell a lot about a person from the way s/he played basketball, things like did s/he hog the ball ? Did s/he show off on the court ? Was the person afraid to shoot and miss ? Did the person lie about being fouled? On top of that it’s just fun to play and great exercise !

Also in my opinion Data Analytics/Science is an amazing popular and growing field, so much so that it was named “the sexiest job of the 21st century”. Data science is a mixture of statistics, data analysis, machine learning, computer science, and knowledge of the data / business that aims to provide insights and understanding from data. So, when you put these two fields together, you get an article written by yours truly.

Data Science and Data Analytics have completely changed the NBA landscape, so much so that the league now runs a yearly Hackathon, this allows them to get some new great ideas and find new data analyst with talent.

The Golden state warriors even credit their success to their analyst. You may have seen the coach “Steve Kerr” rest some of his players, well this was due to the fact that the data showed his players needed rest, and this will not only prevent injury, but also allow for their players to be able to play longer, and that’s good both for the Golden State Warriors and the NBA, more winning games usually means more money.

In 2009 the league began using a state of the art video system to track the players movement on the court as well as the ball. Having this new video system allowed the NBA to collect new data which in term allowed data scientists to use machine learning and cartography ( the science or practice of drawing maps) to better assess which players helped their team to win.

The NBA has been using statistics so heavily, that they might surpass that of Major League Baseball (MLB) in using data, which was one of the first US sports league to use data to find hidden insights and patterns to benefit their team. Have you ever heard of “Money Ball” , both…