The NFL recently introduced its hyped “Next Gen” statistics package for the 2015 season, showing fans how fast their favorite player runs on the field and how many total yards he covers during a game. Now, the NBA is now experimenting with outfitting its players with wearable technology.
The league has already been using SportVU, a system of cameras in each arena that track player movements on the court and measure how many miles each player runs during a game—but the NBA appears to be taking these advanced stats a step further.
According to Zach Lowe of Grantland, the NBA is planning eventually to outfit players with tiny devices under their jerseys, which will measure distance traveled, running speed, power generated when accelerating and force exerted when landing from a jump. Stats like those could tell a sports scientist or physician when a player is close to sustaining an injury—for example, if he is favoring a certain body part when he moves. The league is currently evaluating two products—from Catapult and STATSports, respectively—that will capture that fascinating data for teams and players.
Lowe mentions that the players union might have concerns about this potential technology, including the concern that access to the data could preclude teams from signing free agents whom they assess as injury prone. Regardless, it seems like wearable technology in the NBA is inevitable. It’s not whether but when it will be implemented.