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How NBA Players Use Technology To Improve Their Game

    How NBA Players Use Technology To Improve Their Game

    For years one of the biggest factors in predicting NBA expert picks was technology. Gamblers had to evaluate advanced statistics, frequent trends, and other metrics to help them determine the most likely winner of the game – and by how many points.

    Technology is obviously still important to gamblers who don’t have the inside information of which players are more injured than the media is reporting or which athletes missed curfew by six hours the night before the game. Tech is also now more important than ever in a player improving their game and thus securing that next big contract, and here are some examples of how:

    More Advanced Film

    Back in the early 80s, a game film might have consisted of an intern shakily holding a handheld camera and spending more time recording the wall than the action on the court. To say that technology has evolved is an understatement, and now many NBA teams have practice recordings that look like a Michael Bay blockbuster.

    Over half the teams in the NBA integrated a connected camera technology from PlaySight during the offseason. This allows multiple cameras with rotating angles placed around the stadium or practice facility, so every second of every trip down the floor is recorded from multiple angles.

    Having an abundance of a digital film can help coaches scout where certain players need improvement and in what roles they best excel. It also frees up manpower so team personnel don’t have to record practices and can instead focus on drills and/or scouting the next opponent.

    Virtual Training

    Team practice is incredibly important to a player’s development, but so are individual drills. Instead of running through cones on the ground or spending hours practicing free throws, individual practices are now more efficient than ever.

    NBA teams have integrated a lot of the same evaluating forms and methods that pro golfers have. A golfer, for example, will video their swing and correct form lag, which is now something pro basketball has made a norm now as well. Are players releasing the ball too early on a shot, have their left elbow too low, are hunched over too many degrees on defense, or displacing too much weight on their off-foot when jumping? Sensors, video, and analysis can determine all of that.

    Also very similar to how a golfer practices with a simulator, so can an NBA player in much of the same manner. Large interactive screens flash targets for passing drills, giving data in real-time (too low, too soft, etc.).

    Gone are the days of “I made 15 of 20 shots” because now sensors on the rim and in the basketball tell how accurate even the makes were – hitting more of the right side, clipping too much of the front of the rim, coming in at too low or too high of an arc, etc.

    Biometric Evaluation

    Film and scouting can show how a player is performing externally, but to get the most out of somebody’s talents, you also need to know how they are doing internally. Biometric sensors are incredibly important, often used even in real-time, as team personnel knows when a player is getting fatigued based on their heart rate.

    Once you have the data, a player can extract anything they want from it. Are they sleeping well? Is a man-to-man defense draining their energy more than zone? How are oxygen levels in the 4th quarter, right out of halftime, and so on?

    In the future biometric data could be used to predict injuries and know when a player should sit out. This can only improve player safety as they’ll often lie about the severity of an ailment mostly because your “best ability is your availability.”

    Of course, running a team based solely on data has some concerns as well. Much like a positive COVID test said that you were sick even without symptoms for much of the last couple of years, it can be controversial to tell a player he or she is injured when they don’t feel it – especially when certain performance bonuses are close to being reached.

    Fine-tuning tech in sports will be a trial-and-error process, but it’s a system that doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere.


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