February 19, 2018
Sports Video Group
Sensor and real-time graphic reveal shooting accuracy and patterns
One of the highlights of Turner’s NBA All-Star Saturday Night coverage was the debut of a shot-tracking technology developed by Israeli startup RSPCT. Deployed for the Three-point Contest, RSPCT’s system, which uses a sensor attached to the backboard to identify exactly where the ball hits the rim/basket, was integrated with SMT’s graphics system to offer fans a deeper look at each competitor’s shooting accuracy and patterns.
“There is a story behind shooting, and we believe it’s time to tell it. Shooting is more than just a make or a miss,” says RSPCT CEO Oren Moravtchik. “Turner and the NBA immediately understood that the first time they ever saw [our system] and said, Let’s do it.”
During Saturday night’s telecast, Turner featured an integrated scorebug-like graphic showing a circle representing the rim for each of the five racks of balls during the competition. As a player took a shot, groupings indicating where the ball hit the rim/basket were inserted in real time, showing where the ball landed on the rim or inside the basket.
“It’s a bridge between the deep analytics that teams are using and the average fan,” says RSPCT COO Leo Moravtchik. “Viewers can understand shooting accuracy faster and better without having to dive into analytics; they clearly see groupings of shots and why a shot is made or missed. Last night, if a player missed all five shots of a rack, you could see why: if they are all going right or all going left.”
The system, which can be set up in just 30 minutes, consists of a small Intel RealSense Depth Camera mounted behind the top of the backboard and connected wirelessly to a small computing unit.
“We have some very sophisticated proprietary algorithms on the sensor,” says Oren Moravtchik. “The ball arrives at a high speed from the three-point line at various angles. We can [capture] the entire trajectory of the ball: where it came from, how it flew in the air, where it hit the basket — everything. We know the height of the player, the release point, and where it hit the basket, and then we can extrapolate back from there.”
Although Saturday night marked the debut of the RSPCT system for the NBA, Leo Moravtchik sees far more potential once complete data sets on players can be captured — such as a full playoff series or even a full season.
“There may be an amazing player shooting 18 out of 20 from every [three-point] location, but there are differences between locations beyond just field-goal percentage,” he says. “Based on our data, we not only can show them [that] shooting [tendencies] can predict, [that] we can actually project their field goals for the next 100 shots. We can tell them, If you are about to take the last shot to win the game, don’t take it from the top of the key because your best location is actually the right corner.”
RSPCT is not only focusing on sports broadcast and media clients but marketing the system as a scouting and player-development tool.
“We’re [targeting] NBA teams, college teams, and even high school and amateur teams,” says Leo Moravtchik. “Wherever there is a basket — camps, gyms, schools — people want to see how they are shooting. We can bring it there because it’s a 30-minute installation and very cost-effective.”