Kirk Goldsberry (PhD 2007), a visiting scholar at the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Michigan State University, has come up with an analytical tool he calls “CourtVision Analytics” that evaluates basketball performance via spatial and visual modalities and which the sports media loves, with good reason. “It’s been a thrilling day for CourtVision today. We made the front page of the New York Times (website) and had our interactive Finals preview posted, along with a full page feature in the print edition!!!”
The New York Times sports section, “Off the Dribble” (the New York Times N.B.A blog) was devoted to an article by Kirk titled “The Hottest Spots for Their Shots”: “This year’s N.B.A. finals feature two strikingly different offenses. Over all, the Oklahoma City Thunder rely on penetration-and-pitch plays that create 3-point and close-range shots. The Miami Heat, in contrast, rely on strategic player positioning to create effective spacing for isolation plays that enable midrange and close-range scoring chances for their superstars.” Kirk's article goes on to analyze the 3-point, midrange, and close range shooting of the two teams, using Kirk’s “CourtVision Analytics.”
An interactive N.B.A. Finals preview was posted in both the New York Times and USA Today. The interactive preview displays the shooting patterns for the players on the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder, revealing where they are most dangerous on the court by displaying points per attempt, number of attempts, and total points for each team and each individual player. Check it out!
Kirk sums up his research by stating, "My research focuses on the visual dimensions of scientific communication. I’m particularly interested in the links between visual form, graphic design, and spatial reasoning. This avenue of research is significantly influenced by the principles of cartography, visualization, cognitive psychology, vision science, spatial analysis, and human computer interaction. The tie that binds all of my research together is the unmatched ability of graphics to simplify and summarize complex spatial narratives. My courses aim to enable students to harness the power of graphic communication by understanding fundamental concepts as well as learning contemporary design techniques."