SportVU data is the key to the next wave of useful, incisive analytics the NBA, and also some of the most stupid and pointless. This probably splits the difference. Here's what it would look like if every player on an NBA court had an Etch A Sketch pixel taped to his back.
Above is Tim Duncan, as tracked by Fathom Information Design using data from a 2011 San Antonia-OKC game. Not much time on the wings for Tim there, and it looks like he was a little more active around the basket in one half than the other, though it's hard to sort out which side of the ball that was just by this.
Below, you can see how the ball moved around the court over the course of the game, and come to the realization that NBA players literally spend 48 minutes drawing dicks on the court:
And even though we've seen this in action before, it's always fun to see how SportVU actually tracks players in real time. We can't embed it here, but you should check out the video of a few of the plays that Fathom tracked from February of 2011.
We saw a few interesting ideas at Sloan, and we're just scratching the surface of what SportVU can show us. But the fun thing to remember is that we're also just scratching the surface on the ways we'll be able to see that data as we go forward.
[Fathom via Flowing Data]