Minor Surprises in the NBA Player Tracking Stats

NBA Player Tracking statistics provides a whole new dimension for stat lovers to delve in. According to the official website, “Player Tracking is the latest example of how technology and statistics are changing the way we understand the game of basketball.”

How did they do it?

“Using six cameras installed in the catwalks of every NBA arena, SportVU software tracks the movements of every player on the court and the basketball 25 times per second. The data collected provides a plethora of innovative statistics based around speed, distance, player separation and ball possession. Some examples include: how fast a player moves, how far he traveled during a game, how many touches of the ball he had, how many passes he threw, how many rebounding chances he had and much more.”

These numbers reveal a lot about the players and can be used extensively by fantasy basketball buffs if he wishes to research about a certain player’s productivity and activity on a basketball court. While minutes is one of the easiest determinant of production, it wouldn’t hurt to gauge the value of your players based squarely on how active they are if they get their numbers called.

Speed and Distance: Statistics that measure the distance covered and the average speed of all movements (sprinting, jogging, standing, walking, backwards and forwards) by a player while on the court.

Overall Leader: Damian Lillard (205.40 miles traveled in 82 games while on the court; 2.5 miles per game)

Surprise Leader (#3 overall): Ben McLemore (4.5 mph average speed)

One more notable surprise in the top 10 is Joe Johnson (9th). JJ travels a lot more per game than anybody other than John Wall, Trevor Ariza, Andrew Wiggins, and Damian Lillard.

Touches: The number of times a player touches and possesses the ball.

Overall Leader: Chris Paul (93.70 touches per game, 7,687 touches in the season)

Surprise Leader (#10): Trey Burke (77.9 touches per game, 5,922 touches in the season)

The Utah Jazz point guard is the only-non starter in the list and played the least minutes per game among the top 10 leaders (30.1 MPG).

Passing: The total number of passes a player makes and the scoring opportunities (basket, free throw, assist) that come from those passes.


Overall Leader: Chris Paul (23.80 points created by assist per game; 70.20 passes per game; 838 total assists in the season)

Surprise Leader (#8): Elfrid Payton (14.9 points created by assist per game; 51.8 passes per game; 533 total assists in the season)

Payton is a rookie and plays considerable less time per game than his counterparts in the ladder. His inclusion solidifies his status as an elite pass-first point guard no one has ever known.

Defensive Impact: Statistics related to defense, including blocks, steals and defending the basket (a defender within 5 feet of the basket and 5 feet of the shooter).

Overall Leader: Anthony Davis (3.50 OPP FGM at the rim; 200 total blocks for the season)

Surprise Leader: None

All league leaders are notable interior defense stalwarts but if you want me to say a name out loud, it would be John Henson.

Rebounding Opportunities: Statistics that measure the number of rebounds a player gathers compared to the number of rebounding chances (within a 3.5-foot vicinity).

Overall Leader: DeAndre Jordan (20.3 rebounding chances per game; grabs 73.6% of available rebounds; 1,226 total rebounds for the season)

Surprise Leader (#10): LaMarcus Aldridge

Aldridge is not known as a great rebounder throughout his career but last season, he proved doubters wrong. LaMarcus only lagged behind league leader DeAndre Jordan in grabbing all the rebounds available rebounds at a 72.2% rate.

Drives: Statistics related to drives to the basket — any touch that starts at least 20 feet of the hoop and is dribbled within 10 feet of the hoop, excluding fast breaks.


Overall Leader: James Harden (8 points per game on DRIVES alone; 636 points on drives for the whole season)

Surprise Leader (#10): Reggie Jackson (5.7 points per game on DRIVES; 438 total points on drives)

Jackson has a reputation to be a chucker and he probably he is. This stat is the very reason why quick, shifty guards like him should drive more to the basket instead of settling for outside shots.

Catch and shoot: Statistics related to any jump shot outside of 10 feet where a player possessed the ball for 2 seconds or less and took no dribbles.

Overall Leader: Kyle Korver (8.5 points on catch and shoot situations; 2.6 3FGM on catch and shoot; 638 points total for the season)

Surprise Leader (#8): Kevin Love (6.3 catch and shoot points per game; 467 points total)

Love and Dirk Nowitzki are the only big men on the list which is both good and bad for fantasy owners. Having 3-point sources outside of your guards and small forwards is a huge plus but could hurt your overall FG% in the long run.

Pull-up Shots: Statistics related to any jump shot outside 10 feet where a player took 1 or more dribbles before shooting


Overall Leader: Chris Paul (10.3 pullup points per game; 846 total)

Surprise Leader: Chris Paul

To see CP3 go ahead by over a hundred points on Steph Curry in the department is surprising to say the least. Steph may have broken Paul’s ankles on multiple occasions last season but CP is the undisputed master of pull-up shots by a wide margin

Photo Credit: Reuters/Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA Today Sports