Skip navigation
No more
Know more

These NBA passing charts show each team’s offensive strategy

The NBA recently began comprehensively recording players’ movements on the court during games, and analysts have just started to explore the trove of data the cameras have generated, hoping they’ll find new and better ways of playing the game. These charts by Andy Bergmann (@dubly) show how frequently starting players on each team pass to one another. Some teams, like the Chicago Bulls, share the ball widely, while others rely more on two or three players, like the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Also, some teams, such as the New Orleans Pelicans and the Milwaukee Bucks, just pass the ball less often than others, like the Indiana Pacers.

When teams have more data, will these charts look different? It’s possible. If better analysis changes how coaches understand the contributions of every player on the court and not just the leading scores, some teams might find more ways of using all five players on offense, but it’s still too early to tell how the data will affect the game. For example, much of the preliminary analysis so far has focused on offense, on the number of points scored rather than on the number of points allowed, but the data might suggest new defensive strategies as well.

Many thanks to Bergmann for the use of his charts, originally published on the NBA’s Web site. Click below for an essay on how the statistics currently used in basketball can conceal important information about how valuable players are to their teams.

Max Ehrenfreund | March 20, 2014 at 12:48 pm
Know more: What it really means to play well
No more
Know more
What California would look like if the world’s ice sheets melt
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
The most searched comfort foods last winter, mapped
Ana Swanson
ADVERTISEMENT
No more
Know more
A lot of Americans think that Islam is at odds with their values
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
The American cities that are growing the fastest, mapped in 3D
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
The states that eat the most fruits and veggies
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
How State Department allowances vary around the world
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
The states where more babies are born prematurely
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
What the Republican candidates would have earned in minimum wage when they were teens
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
Fantastical designs from the frontier of subway maps
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
Popular movies, reduced solely to their colors
Ana Swanson
No more
Know more
Why CEOs are more susceptible to automation than landscapers
Ana Swanson