During several months, Fernando López, Manuel Ruiz and me, we have been working on the applications of spatial statistics to basketball. We have written a paper which has been accepted for publication. If you are interested in this paper, please be free to email us.
We think this methodology may be succeesfully applied to the analysis of teams in the NBA and in the ACB League (and obviously in any league with play-by-play data available). This is the abstract of the paper, which will be published in Spanish and English.
The importance of quantitative analysis in sports using objective data such as game statistics has been prominent in recent years. In this paper we have shown an application of spatial statistics to understand more thoroughly the game of basketball. This methodology has been underused in sports research, and specifically in basketball. We have depicted how a spatial clustering technique, such as the Kulldroff test, which is widely used in epidemiology, can be applied to analyse basketball data. This test detects low and high incidence clusters of shots, and therefore better characterizes the game of teams and individual players. In addition, we have also used a test based on entropy, the V-test, which serves to statistically compare shooting maps. We show the interesting contribution of this methodological perspective in the case of the analysis of a Lakers performance, and the transformation of this team from a medium-level NBA franchise into a champion team because of, among other factors, the incorporation of two key players in the 2007-08 season: Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher.