“Where the Heat and Thunder Hit Their Shots”
Analytics by Kirk Goldsberry
Design by Goldsberry, Jeremy White, Joe Ward, and Matthew Ericson
New York Times (June 12, 2012)
I missed this when it first came out on NYTimes.com — an interactive adapted from the data visualizations that Goldsberry publishes on his CourtVision site. (Cool stuff if you’re into hoops analytics.)
Screen caps from the “shot map" for James Harden are posted above. There’s some nifty interaction design here; you start with a hexagonally pixelated image of the player, and once you scroll over it the pixels disperse into the player’s shot-mapping data.
Each hexagon on the map represents shot volume; the greater its area, the more shots taken from that location of the court. If you scroll over any hexagon, you can see the total number of attempts and the total points scored. Highest points-per-shot values are coded in red; the lowest are in green.
Above each map you get the aggregate data; below, you get a brief here’s-what-the-data-means analysis. Overall, a slick and fun design that conveys a lot of analytics data without being overwhelming.
But the color-coding of the data markers seems a little off. You might recognize the map’s color palette from a standard weather map (red means “hot temperature,” i.e., a “hot hand”; yellow and green denote “cooler” areas).
So the dark green is equivalent to “Dude is throwing up bricks.” I’m not sure the color does the data justice. I mean, if you throw up five bricks in a row, your shot is ice cold.