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Cameras that track players' every movement to be in every NBA arena

September 06, 2013|By Ben Bolch

Just about everything that takes place on an NBA court will be quantifiable starting this season thanks to motion-tracking cameras that will be installed in every arena.

How long does it take Kobe Bryant to get back on defense in his first month back from a torn Achilles' tendon? What is the field-goal percentage of the Clippers' opponents with center DeAndre Jordan inside the lane as opposed to outside the lane? What's Steve Nash's success rate in defending Derrick Rose one on one?

OK, so maybe you don't need a phalanx of cameras to figure out the answer to the last question, but the system of six cameras and related software in every arena will provide a whole new slew of data for NBA teams to analyze. Player fatigue and referee performance are among the factors that can be measured by a system that monitors every move made on the court.

The NBA will become the first professional basketball league in the world to use such extensive technology to analyze player movement through a partnership between the league, STATS and SportVU cameras. Fifteen teams had already purchased a system first used during the 2009 NBA Finals that will now be expanded to involve all 30 teams.

"At this point, given the value of the data both at the team level and the league level, and the promise that it holds for unlocking some of the secrets for what makes great basketball teams, both for our basketball operations people and for our fans at home, we thought it was the right time to make it a league-wide effort," NBA Executive Vice President of Operations and Technology Steve Hellmuth told Associated Press.

Teams are expected to make some of the data available to fans through NBA.com and on NBA TV as well as selected mediums at each arena. The fact that all 30 teams are using the technology will eliminate gaps in information gathering.

"It's gone from an interesting concept to actually something that's allowing them to take action on a daily basis," STATS Vice President Brian Kopp told AP. "That was the big change that we knew we needed to make in order for this to be adopted by the teams. What we always wanted to do was to be at this point and have a partnership with the league itself."

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