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Big Data Firing Up Fans This NBA All-Star Weekend

This weekend kicks off the 63rd annual NBA All-Star game in New Orleans where the “Heroes of the Hardwood” compete in an exhibition with the ultimate goal of scoring street cred from the fans. The excitement starts on Thursday and rolls thru Sunday with major storylines including:/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/fireball_385443.jpg

  1. Sprite Slam Dunk Contest: The inclusion of superstars Paul George and Kyrie Irving is sure to jolt the event
  2. Foot Locker Three-Point Contest: Kyrie Irving looks to defend his title against superstar sharp shooters including, Steph Curry and Kevin Love
  3. NBA All-Star Game: LeBron James and the Eastern Conference battle against Kevin Durant and the West with Pharrell Williams and Kendrick Lamar headlining the halftime show

While there’s plenty of excitement to surpass last year’s average of 8 million viewers, the fun has only just begun. The NBA All-Star Jam Session allows fans to create their own unique All-Star experience while mingling with players and celebrities. One of the events called the Fan Combine replicates the NBA Player Combine, providing the perfect opportunity for fans to get in the game and transform those old childhood dreams into reality. Participants compete in four categories:

  • Speed
  • Agility
  • Jump
  • Shoot

Stats are instantly analyzed and compared to your favorite professional players, undoubtedly answering the lifelong question; do you have what it takes? But if the inevitable holds true and you’re not quite ready to quit the day job, don’t sweat it; your computer has you covered. Last year, SAP and the NBA launched powered by SAP HANA, allowing fans to access the league’s entire official statistics history – more than 4.5 quadrillion combinations of stats! Focusing on the fans, the NBA became the first major U.S. professional sports league to include video box scores. Along with this innovation, fans also have access to shooting charts, play-by-play sections and other video integrated analytics capabilities. Much more than a typical box score sheet, this interface empowers the fans to drill down and analyze advanced stats like, who is the best three-point shooter when down five points or which two or three man rotation is the best? Other examples include:

  • Efficiency Rating – Measures a player’s per-minute productivity by analyzing points scored vs. points allowed
  • True Shooting Percentage – Field goal percentage treats two-pointers and three-pointers equally and does not account for free throws. True shooting percentage accounts for all three types of scores, weighting them differently, and using total points scored rather than total field goals made
  • Usage Percentage – estimates the percentage of a team’s plays used by a player when he is on the floor.  Usually USG% calculations are estimates; however calculations are exact as it calculates all stats solely when a player is on the floor.  Efficiency decreases as usage increases.  Teams can optimize their offensive output by putting together lineups that balance usage percentage
  • Unlimited statistical breakdowns of NBA players and teams, past and present
  • Top Lineup Combinations – The best two through five man lineup combinations over the last six seasons.  Combinations can be sorted based on a variety of statistical breakdowns
  • In-depth Statistical Breakdowns – Per possession, clutch, efficiency, player/team comparisons and additional in-depth statistics with many breakdown options

As teams, coaches, and general managers continue to prioritize technology within their bag of tricks for strategy, look for the NBA to continuously ensure that the fans are up to speed with other trending tools like Combine Measurement Analysis to better understand which combine measurements specifically equate to on-court effectiveness for specific statistics. Or NBA Draft Performance Evaluation to highlight the top drafting teams in the NBA by utilizing SAP Lumira charts. In fact, because technological evolution is such a vital topic for the NBA, the league will be hosting its 15th annual NBA All-Star Technology Summit on Friday. The invite-only event is geared toward engaging in a series of conversations about the future of sports, media and technology focused on innovation to continually improve the NBA fan experience. Insights will include the following superstars in their respective fields:

  • Charles Barkley, NBA legend, Analyst on Inside the NBA, Turner Sports
  • Magic Johnson, NBA legend
  • Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks
  • Vivek Ranadivé, Owner, Sacramento Kings
  • Daryl Morey, GM, Houston Rockets
  • Jonathan Becher, CMO, SAP
  • Brian Kopp, SVP, Sports Solutions, STATS LLC

So even if you’re not going to be quite as busy as Blazers guard, Damian Lillard who will become the first player in history to compete in five events (Slam Dunk Contest, Three-point Contest, Skills Challenge, Rising Stars Challenge, and the All-Star game), the site will keep you in the action all season long, and the Technology Summit is yet another proof point to show the fans that the NBA will continue to develop the ultimate experience moving forward.

  • Check out more on the NBA’s interactive statistics here
  • Jam with me on Twitter and LinkedIn

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