On the occasion of Tim Duncan's retirement earlier this week, I used SportVU motion tracking data to call attention to an unnoticed element of his game: his low and tight, line drive shot arc.
Using that same data, we can also delve into a more well known aspect of Duncan's shooting game: his bank shot. For the bank shots I am able to identify, the chart below shows where Duncan's bank shots hit the glass. For comparison purposes, I also have a chart for all NBA bank shots.
On an unrelated note, I noticed that there appears to be a bias to when a scorekeeper will classify a shot as a bank shot, and that bias is skewed towards made shots. I have found several examples where the motion tracking data clearly shows a missed bank shot, but the official shot description does not call it out. For that reason, I would be skeptical of any stat that shows a particular player is far more effective when shooting bank shots.
Once I have the methodology cleaned up, I hope to use the SportVU create a deeper dive into the bank shot and the underlying physics (similar to last summer's post on the effects of air drag on a basketball's trajectory).