Since its inaugural year in 1946, the National Basketball Association has gone through multiple changes. From the inclusion of the twenty-four second shot clock in 1954, to the three point shot in 1979, basketball has developed in various ways as an attempt to keep the game as up to date as possible.
Kirk Goldsberry, a basketball writer and cartographer, has come out with a new book called Sprawlball: A Visual Tour of the New Era of the NBA. In this book, Goldsberry applies his cartography, or mapmaking skills to the game of basketball.
More specifically, he takes a deeper look at the three point shot, and how pivotal it has been throughout this league, shifting its focus from bigger players to smaller ones. He figures out where, how often, and how well players shoot from different areas of the court, and maps the data. Basketball has been a game of statistics since the beginning of its existence, but Goldsberry indicates that it has turned into a game of analytics.
The uniqueness of Sprawlball stems from the fact that, at its core, it’s a geography book. It’s simply a book of maps. Goldsberry blends his love for both cartography and basketball in this book, and it is a must-read for whoever is interested by a corroboration of how an application of analytics can have an effect on performance. In other words, it’s great for both sports lovers and science lovers. With the NBA Finals at the peak of its intensity, this is the perfect time to give Sprawlball a read.
Featured Image Via Kirk Goldsberry