By: Dylan Tehada
As the history of basketball has unfolded, the game has evolved in a variety of ways. Whether it be new rules, new styles of play, or new equipment the game is constantly innovating and changing. One of the biggest developments that has influenced the game to venture into new frontiers is the rise of data analytics. With the power of data analytics at the hands of players and coaches, the game is now taught and played in ways that have never existed in the history of the sport.
As much as skill set and talent is important to the game, what separates good teams from great ones is strategy. Data analytics and new technologies have given teams at various competitive levels the upper hand in terms of strategy whether it be how to develop their players or how to game plan against opposing teams. This major shift in strategy that now revolves around data analytics and quantitative metrics has been widespread throughout the sport and particularly in the NBA. Even NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, acknowledges the importance of data and analytics to the future of the league.
“Analytics are part and parcel of virtually everything we do now,” Silver said.
One of the biggest areas where basketball analytics and sports science has made an impact is in player development. Playstyle patterns, tendencies, and efficiencies that were once difficult to evaluate by the human eye are now more easily accessible and quantifiable through rising technologies such as body sensors and on court cameras. Data collected through these technologies allow athletes to look at their strengths and weaknesses more conveniently and also informs coaches and trainers how they can help their players improve. Whether it be through shooting efficiencies from different areas on the court or the success rate of certain offensive sets, data is a powerful tool that allows coaches and players to worry less about what is and isn’t working and focus more on addressing shortcomings and building on strengths.
Due to the increasing accessibility to these technologies and the more widespread knowledge of how to gather and analyze data, teams at various competitive levels outside of the NBA are now starting to rely on data analytics. One of these competitive levels where analytics is becoming more prominent is at the collegiate level. Schools are investing more resources and time into analytics platforms and coaches are learning new ways to develop in game strategies during the season.
One integral platform used at the collegiate level is called Synergy Sports which takes live or pre recorded video footage and allows coaches to uncover tendencies and individual player performance through video footage. Loyola Marymount University’s Women’s Basketball video coordinator, Brad Johnson, gave his perspective on the rise of data analytics at LMU in particular and how the team leverages data analytics:
“We track our personnel development throughout the year and just the overall efficiency in [our] day to day within [our] team game to make sure [we’re] putting the right people on the floor in the right situations,” Johnson said.
As the game continues to change and evolve, so will ways for athletes to improve their game and realize their unlimited potential. New technological platforms have been key in helping elevate UPB athletes’ games and offer a new perspective that complements the feedback and mentorship of our player development coaches. Whether it be coaching pros at the NBA and WNBA level or young athletes who have never picked up a basketball, Coach Packie Turner has used platforms such as Homecourt and Synergy to help his athletes reach their full potential.
“Analytics are a part of basketball now, understanding the value of what teams overvalue and helping guys position themselves to take advantage of that or even just understand what they excel at is huge,” Coach Packie said.
All in all, the game of basketball will be ever changing. Data and analytics have proven to be a helpful resource that will only continue to grow and become more popular. Understanding how to leverage analytics and using it as a complement to our play development mentorship has been and will continue be a huge help as we strive to help athletes realize their potential is unlimited.
Julius Randle has been the epitome of constant growth and improvement season after season since his debut in 2014. After an impressive 2022-2023 season with the Knicks averaging 25.1 points per game on 46% shooting, Randle seeks to continue building on last season’s success and contributing to a winning franchise. Although the start of the Knicks’ season has not gone exactly to plan, Randle has showcased his veteran poise and innate ability to continue elevating his game as the long NBA season treads on.