Who’s the Best Shooter in the NBA?

Rajiv Maheswaran and Yu-Han Chang, both research assistant professors at the USC Viterbi Information Sciences Institute (ISI), look to measure things beyond the standard box score. 

Armed with data gleaned from the image-tracking technology installed in every NBA arena, they are doing for basketball what “Moneyball” did for baseball. Their resulting spin-off company, Second Spectrum, feeds the Los Angeles Clippers and six other NBA teams analytical data generated by its proprietary software system. In the example below, we unpack a specific insight from their 2014 Best Paper at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference: “Quantifying Shot Quality in the NBA.” It was the pair’s second consecutive research paper to take home the coveted award.