Player tracking (National Basketball Association)

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Player tracking refers to technologies used to track players and the ball (if applicable) in various sports. The National Basketball Association (NBA) first tracked all games at the start of the 2013-14 NBA season. [1] Second Spectrum is the current Official Optical Tracking Provider of the NBA and began league-wide tracking in the 2017-18 NBA season, replacing STATS SportVU which previously held the league-wide contract. [2]



The NBA (via Second Spectrum) uses an optical tracking system that leverages multiple cameras placed in the catwalks in all 29 NBA arenas. The cameras receive and update data at a rate of 25 frames per second. The cameras feed the data into proprietary software, where computer vision algorithms extract positional data for all players on the court and the ball.


The NBA provides a variety of statistics to the public based on the data produced by player tracking to the public on its website. This includes information for players covering categories such as drives, defensive impact, catch and shoot, passing, touches, pull up shooting, rebounding, shooting efficiency, speed, and post ups among others. [3] Similar information is available for teams. [4]

In addition, more sophisticated and detailed tools are available to teams and broadcasters that are not currently available to the public. [5]

Player tracking systems introduce many new statistics, automate the collection of data and provide precision which would be impossible without the use of camera technology and tracking software.

Statistics collected, and available to view during the game and throughout the season include (all statistics are per player): [6]

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  1. Hangtime Podcast (episode 133). Accessed 2 November 2013
  2. "NBA announces multiyear partnership with Sportradar and Second Spectrum". NBA Communications. 2016-09-22. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  3. "Players Shooting Efficiency". NBA Stats. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  4. "Teams Drives". NBA Stats. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  5. "Nylon Calculus: How Second Spectrum is redesigning the NBA". FanSided. 2018-06-28. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  6. "Player Tracking", Accessed 2 November 2013