The NBA, like other professional sports leagues, is in the midst of a statistical and technological revolution. Advanced stats are helping teams better evaluate players and tweak in-game strategy while new gadgets emerge that better evaluate just about everything. Take SportVU, an advanced camera-tracking system recently purchased by 15 NBA teams that, as Grantland's Zach Lowe puts it, "records every movement on the floor and spits it back at its front-office keepers as a byzantine series of geometric coordinates." Or the Mark Cuban-funded scientific study of flopping, which we're pretty sure fits in there somewhere.
But cameras and flopping studies are so early-2013. Mavs owner Mark Cuban told NBA.com's Jeff Caplan that his Dallas Mavericks will be outfitted with in-game GPS tracking devices.
"We just want to be able to get smarter about our players and how to train them and how to put them in a position to succeed," Cuban said. "So that's just one component of a lot of different things that we're doing."
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The OptimEye, as the device is named, is about the size of a matchbox. It records, Caplan says, "literally every movement the player makes, accurately measuring exertions such as distance, velocity, changes of direction, acceleration, deceleration, jumps, heart rate and more." All that data, the thinking goes, will let athletes and trainers fine-tune their performance.
The use of the technology was pioneered in the NBA last year by Jason Kidd, who used it to track his recovery from injury. Once he hit certain metrics, he knew he was ready to go.
But Cuban doesn't want to relegate OptimEye to the practice court. He told Caplan he's considering using it in preseason and, perhaps later, the regular season.
Surely, there's a joke to be made here about helping Monta Ellis' 3-pointers find the basket.