As technology improves, we’re going to be able to take the dissection of sports to a whole new level. In the future, we’ll be able to measure stats that we probably can’t even think of right now. This trend is already starting in some basketball arenas.
10 teams, including the Spurs, now have an in-arena camera system developed by STATS LLC that sees the game of basketball like you wouldn’t believe.
“…it tracks every movement on the court to a very precise level. It can tell you how fast a player was moving on a certain possession, how far a player runs during a game, how much Jose Calderon’s shooting percentage declines when a defender is within X feet of him upon release, how high in the air the ball was when Kevin Love rebounded it, whether Kevin Durant shoots better after taking one dribble or four, which player’s passes are more likely to lead to open shots, and lots more. The system, once refined even more, will produce so much data that the real challenge will be sorting it in useful ways.”
Pretty intense, huh?
The camera system can also solve the debate of who the fastest player in the NBA is. Right now, since the camera system is only in 10 NBA arenas, we don’t have adequate data to say for sure, but so far the fastest clocked player is the San Antonio Spurs’ own Tony Parker. Parker has reached a top speed of 20.9 mph in a full-court sprint.
I’m not going to crown TP the fastest in the NBA just yet, but that is a pretty ridiculous number, a full 1.5 mph faster than the guy who has the second highest clocked speed, Ricky Rubio.
We’ve always known Parker is ridiculously fast, but I’d love to see him in a footrace with some of the other PGs in the league. I still think we could get a faster speed from Devin Harris, Russell Westbrook and maybe Derrick Rose. That would be a fun race to watch.
Another interesting note, Spurs’ Tiago Splitter, Danny Green, and DeJuan Blair are pretty good at moving the ball.
Three of the top 10 passers by this measure — teammate field-goal percentage on shot attempts taken after one of their passes — play for San Antonio: Tiago Splitter, Danny Green and DeJuan Blair. The Spurs rank only 12th overall in assist rate, or the percentage of a team’s baskets that result directly from credited assists, per Hoopdata. The appearance of these three San Antonio players on the STATS list, but not of Parker, is probably indicative of how well San Antonio moves the ball in general, and specifically when Parker isolations and pick-and-roll plays don’t immediately result in good looks.
I hope all the NBA teams in the league decide to invest in this camera system, I’d love to know who the fastest is. But if you’re a Spurs fan, you have to be pretty happy that your point guard currently sets the mark for elite speed.