STH News - NBA Analytics

The Importance of Statistics and Analytics in NBA

The NBA has undergone many changes over the years, with new rules, technology, and ideas shaping the way the game is played. Over time, it’s become bigger, more exciting, and more popular. In addition, athletes are more professional and better in tune with their performance than ever before, and the stakes have never been higher thanks to the salaries and endorsement deals on the line.

One area of sports, and the NBA in particular, that has helped to improve things is statistics and analytics. The modern game involves a lot of stats and data that can tell us which players excel in certain areas of the court and why teams play the way they do. Statistics are helpful for fans watching the game and are prominent in NBA betting, helping bettors find the best value. However, they’re increasingly used by coaches and general managers to set tactics and recruit new talent. This article will examine the importance of statistics and data analytics in the modern NBA.

What is Data Analysis?

Data analysis is the term given for the process of collecting, cleaning, and interpreting data. It’s used in a growing number of industries and it’s helped to massively transform the way sports are played. Sports data analytics have gained popularity since these techniques were used in the MLB by the Oakland Athletics and dramatized in the popular Hollywood film Moneyball. NBA teams and players have been using data for decades, with a growing amount collected each season.

Jason Tatum Boston Celtics
Even a slight advantage can mean the difference between success and failure in highly competitive industries. In the NBA, teams must look for any possible edge to give them the best chance of winning the Championship. As a result, teams now use data analysis to refine player performances, change tactics, and identify weaknesses in opposition teams. Data can be used to give coaches, players, and general managers more significant insights and improve their success.

How Three-Point Shooting Has Changed Due to Data Analytics

One of the most significant changes in the NBA over the past few years has been the increase in the number of three-point shooting opportunities taken by teams. In the 2010-11 season, 22.2% of field goal attempts came from behind the three-point line. Ten years later, this number had risen to 39.2%. This change is because data analysis shows it’s a statistically more efficient shot in terms of the points scored.

The increasing trend towards three-point shots has led to more teams developing sharpshooter players; Steph Curry has built his career around his ability to excel from the three-point line, and many other emerging talents are following a similar strategy. While this was previously seen as a risky shot and a potential waste of possession, it’s now being prioritized.

New Metrics

With data now becoming an integral part of strategy in the NBA, teams have become more competent at finding which metrics matter the most. While points scored, rebounds, and assists made are very obvious, they don’t tell the whole story of what’s happening on the court. More detailed metrics help to give coaches and players more performance information and tell them what’s going well and what needs to be changed.

Metrics such as player efficiency ratings (PER), win shares, and plus-minus reveal more information about what a player brings to the game. They consider different areas, including efficiency and offensive and defensive contributions. These metrics are far more essential to help coaches make decisions and are ideal for developing players, giving them things to work on to improve their output and overall success.


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