From GPS tracking to heart monitors to drone cameras, modern basketball has experienced technological advances that many could never have envisioned. Additionally, modern analytics technologies have enabled coaches to extract insights from games stats that are either very difficult or impossible to calculate by hand but have a huge impact on building a game strategy.
Player & Lineup Tracking
In a vacuum, individual player stats can only unveil so much. What’s more impactful to know as a coach is how your players perform together to ensure that you get the most out of every player in the most efficient way. This is why lineup and player combination tracking is so crucial. Analyzing the performance of each lineup or combination of players throughout a game tells you which athletes complement each other and which should be played separately. Today’s advanced tools provide lineup stats for single games or across an entire season – leveraging stats like plus minus (or net rating), turnovers, offensive rebounds among many others.
Advanced basketball technology presented another metric that has quickly gained a spot in the tool belt of NBA coaches (and subsequently other leagues’ coaches) due to the value it provides in terms of game time efficiency and the ability to evaluate players. OnCourt/OffCourt player stats reveal how a team performs in all the minutes a player is on the court verse when that player is off the court.. These stats show the positive or negative team impact of a player without relying on his or her individual stat line or even the plus minus.
Team Impact vs Player Stats
Individual player stats don’t always give justice to the right athletes. A clear example of this is Brook Lopez, who is great at boxing out and has a great On-Court team rebounding percentage, but never has particularly gaudy individual rebounding numbers. He is near the league lead in box outs per game and, as the data shows, his team collects the rebound on 90% of his box outs even though he personally grabs a few of them. Not all leagues will have this level of statistical coverage, even if lineups and On/Off stats are available, as many do not have the ability to count non-standard basketball events such as box outs. Because of this, lineup and other On/Off player stats are particularly useful to coaches as they are able to leverage their knowledge of each player’s skills and abilities and use it to provide better context to the lineup stats. While modern tech can certainly add value, it can never out-perform a coach who knows his athletes.
Player Combination Optimization
Dean Oliver, the famed sports scientist behind the Four Factors, was also instrumental in the expansion of player combination analysis. Two-player combinations remove the sample size problems that full five player lineups may have, as well as provide more context to the single player stats. By tracking every minute played by every two-player combination, coaches today can easily identify the pairings that have positive and negative effects on the team and maximize the outputs of each athlete.
For the 2019-2020 season, advanced lineup and player tracking will be available for all NCAA teams. Pivot Analysis analyzes every play of every game at all levels of the NCAA, providing advanced stats analysis for every lineup and player combination, empowering coaches to play each game smarter. Pre-orders are now available and until August 31st all subscribers are eligible for the early bird discount!