Player Search

What is this?

It's an interactive, five dimensional Google Motion chart filled with statistics to help you spot trends among the game's active players and across the league as a whole. Packaged fully customizable and animated for your pleasure.

The default setting displays offensive efficiency (ORtg) vs. usage (USG%) but you control what you want to see. You can choose to chart any of the following statistics:

- Three point percentage (3P%)
- Assists per 40 minutes (A40)
- Assists per game (APG)
- Age
- Defensive rating (DRtg)
- Field goal percentage (FG%)
- Free throw percentage (FT%)
- Games played (G)
- Height, in inches
- Minutes played in season (MP)
- Minutes per game (MPG)
- Offensive rating (ORtg)
- Points per 40 minutes (P40)
- John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating (PER)
- Points per game (PPG)
- Rebounds per 40 minutes (R40)
- Rebounds per game (RPG)
- Usage rate (USG%)

Watch Players Develop

There are two ways to watch players develop in the league: either set the horizontal axis to "Time" or "Age". I prefer to use Time when I want to focus on players from the same draft who were born in different years. To select your player(s) of interest, scroll through the bottom right panel and check them off. Then press play. For an example of this, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in PER.

Also, you can select "Age" for the horizontal axis if you'd like to compare players who played in different eras. For example, Shaquille O'Neal vs. Dwight Howard in RPG. Here you can tell that Dwight Howard grabs more rebounds per game than Shaquille O'Neal ever did at ages 22-24.

Check off as many players as want but keep in mind the labels can be a bit obtrusive with every additional player. You can also view this as a traditional line graph by clicking on the line chart tab at the top right of the plot. Dots are fun though.

Find the Outliers

Sometimes it's difficult to grasp the significance of a player's achievement without some contextual background. Hoopdata provides averages on all the tables in our stats pages to help fill the void but we can take it a step further with Google Motion. Plotting Ortg vs. USG% in 2010 without selecting any players shows us how wasteful Monta Ellis is once we compare him to his colleagues.

Here's another example. Go ahead and select R40 for the vertical axis and Height for the horizontal. Now you know that 6-6 Chuck Hayes rebounds better than 7-2 Roy Hibbert. Furthermore, 6-11 Donte Greene gets fewer boards than 6-0 Kyle Lowry. These comparisons take just a fraction of the time it would take to dig it up yourself.

Go Back in Time

Say you want to time travel to 2005 for whatever reason. Drag the year button at the bottom of the graph until you arrive at 2005. Jermaine O'Neal used a lot of possessions during that injury-shortened year in Indiana.

What Do the Colors Mean?

As I mentioned earlier, this chart contains five dimensions: vertical axis, horizontal axis, time, color gradient, and data point size. You can keep the colors all the same or you can make the colors meaningful. To do this click on the color field at the top right and select whichever option you prefer. I tend to use MPG or Age the most.

You can also change the size of the data points to correspond to different statistics but the tight variance in values usually doesn't lend itself to meaningful visualization. But the option's always there in case you need it.

Save It

Once you find something you like, grab a screenshot of it. On my laptop keyboard, I press PrtSc button, paste the image in a photo editor, and crop the image down to just the graph. Save it to your desktop or your favorite folder for hot NBA graphics. Post it on your site. Make a poster and hang it up in your room. Whatever you want.

Can't see it?

Sometimes the chart gets overloaded by the number of users and sends back a "Request timed out" message. Refreshing the page usually does the trick. If you still can't see it, make sure your browser allows Flash. Google Chrome users need to right click and view the page in incognito. I don't know why this works but it does.

NBA in Motion charts were created by Hoopdata analyst Tom Haberstroh. For more, check out his splash articles. Data comes from Basketball-Reference.com