TechCrunch is reporting that the NBA recently held an invitation-only hackathon in New York. Around 200 developers took part in the event. Their challenge was to find new insights about the game of basketball from the league’s data. They had just eight hours and fifteen minutes to complete the task, and there was more than 5GB worth of stats to crunch.
The winning team included Alex Wainger, Zac Robertson, Ella Kuzmenko and William Robbins. They decided to analyze the prevalence of “hero ball,” the tendency of one player to try to dominate the game, which seems to happen more often during high-stakes games. They found that hero ball was, in fact, more common during the playoffs; during the postseason, teams had 15 percent more dribbling, 10 percent more standing around and 4 percent less passing—all of which led to 4 percent fewer points per game.