CourtVision: New Visual and Spatial Analytics for the NBA

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Kirk Goldsberry


Abstract: This paper investigates spatial and visual analytics as means to enhance basketball expertise. We introduce CourtVision, a new ensemble of analytical techniques designed to quantify, visualize, and communicate spatial aspects of NBA performance with unprecedented precision and clarity. We propose a new way to quantify the shooting range of NBA players and present original methods that measure, chart, and reveal differences in NBA players’ shooting abilities. We conduct a case study, which applies these methods to 1) inspect spatially aware shot site performances for every player in the NBA, and 2) to determine which players exhibit the most potent spatial shooting behaviors. We present evidence that Steve Nash and Ray Allen have the best shooting range in the NBA. We conclude by suggesting that visual and spatial analysis represent vital new methodologies for NBA analysts.