Kirk Goldsberry Moneyballs the Celtics
Photo by Mark Fleming
As the new NBA season tips off, Celtics fans are still wringing their hands over the loss of Ray Allen to the hated Miami Heat. But according to Kirk Goldsberry, they shouldnâ€™t be.
Goldsberry, a visiting scholar at Harvardâ€™s Center for Geographic Analysis, is emerging as a pivotal figure in the rapidly growing field of sports analytics. Thatâ€™s the one in which high-powered statisticians mine data and crunch numbers to better predict player performance. Anybody whoâ€™s read Moneyball knows just how important this kind of analysis has become in baseball.
Now itâ€™s basketballâ€™s turn. About five years ago, Goldsberry, whose specialty is data visualization, started plotting NBA shot attempts. This year, after a lot of trial and error, he began producing astonishingly information-rich maps (precise to the square foot) that show the spots on a court where a shooterâ€™s attempts are most likely to be successful. Nine NBA teams have approached Goldsberry about using his maps to find their playersâ€™ strengths and weaknesses.
So whatâ€™s the good news for Celtics fans? Goldsberry recently studied the performances of Jason Terry and Courtney Leeâ€”acquired to replace Ray Allenâ€”and both, it turns out, regularly sink the same shots that Allen did.
â€” Michael Pina
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2012/10/31/kirk-goldsberry-celtics-moneyball/