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STATS cameras will serve Bulls, and all other NBA teams

Updated: October 7, 2013 1:29PM



All eyes will be on Derrick Rose on every NBA court he steps on this season, and now so will six very important cameras.

The NBA and STATS LLC announced on Thursday that they expanded their partnership to install STATS’ SportVU Player Tracking technology to now include all 30 teams in the 29 arenas.

In other words, “Moneyball’’ is coming to the hardwood . . . sort of.

According to vice president of STATS Brian Kopp, the backbone of the technology is six cameras that calculate both ball and player movements 25 times per second to provide a continuous stream of innovative statistics based around speed, distance, player separation, and ball possession.

Last season, the Northbrook company had 15 teams using the technology, with the Bulls not one of them. Now, the entire league will be able to embrace the data.

So for example, if the Bulls wanted to know how quickly Rose is moving up and down the court post-torn ACL in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter, that technology is a click away.

“We can break down that distance in different speed zones, how many cuts are you making, for example,’’ Kopp said in describing just one aspect of the technology.

That data will not only help the coaching staff have a better understanding of Rose’s fatigue level and the actual distance he is putting on the knee on a nightly basis, but also help a training staff understand exact workload from game-to-game.

And the fans won’t be cheated from getting their hands on this technology.

According to the NBA’s executive vice president of operations and technology, Steve Hellmuth, the NBA Game Time app, NBA.com and NBA TV will use SportVU player tracking data for the fans to have at hand.

“The stuff that we thought about [for the fans] is the stuff that is obvious to coaches,’’ Hellmuth said. “A Bulls fans might be intrigued to know who guards who and how effective they were doing that across the board.

“To see the activity in the paint and to see a big man that is very active is very interesting.’’

NOTE: According to Bulls general manager Gar Forman, with the Bulls currently at 12 guaranteed contracts, the plan is to “bring some guys into camp and let them compete. There hasn’t been anything we’ve wanted to jump on [in free agency], so we’ll let some guys compete for one or two spots.’’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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