NBA Passing

Andy Bergmann

Original post on
Coverage on: USA Today, Deadspin, Washington Post, Fast Company, Fansided, Visually, Flowing Data, Give Me Sport

Here’s a look at how starters on all 30 NBA teams share the basketball. The thickness of the gray lines on the accompanying chart represents the average number of passes per game between two players.

A very clear picture emerges on which teams distribute the ball more evenly between players, such as the Nets, Bulls and Cavaliers. On the flip side, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin dominate passing for the Clippers, and likewise for Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio of the Timberwolves.

This data would have been virtually impossible to collect in the past. However, all NBA arenas are now equipped with SportVU technology. Several cameras are installed overhead which are used to track every move of the game.

NBA Passing

Some notes on methodology: The top level center, point guard, shooting guard, small forward and power forward were selected from all team depth charts. The average number of passes were calculated from data from this season only (through Tuesday), taking into account only those games where all five players were active and saw playing time. In-bounds passes were excluded. Line thickness represents combined passing in both directions between two players.