Color-coded map of every shot taken in the NBA from 2006 to 2011

Michigan State geography professor Kirk Goldsberry, at last week’s Sloan Conference, unveiled a map (below) of every shot taken in the NBA between 2006 and 2011. To create the map, Goldsberry divided half of an NBA court into 1,284 “cells” then plotted every shot taken during the 2006-11 time span.

Each square on the map represents one of Goldsberry’s cells. The size of the square indicates how many shots were taken from that spot. The color indicates how many points-per-attempt were scored from that cell. (For example, if players went 8-for-20 from a spot at the top of the arc, they would have scored 24 points on 20 shots, or 1.33 points-per-attempt.)


Map created by Kirk Goldsberry

The map shows that the most efficient shots are layups and corner threes.

You can read Goldsberry’s paper (PDF) here.


Read more:
What Geography Can Teach Us About Basketball,” by David Haglund at BrowBeat, Slate’s culture blog.

About Josh Tinley

Josh Tinley writes the Away From The Action column at Midwest Sports Fans, covering all aspects of sport aside from what actually happens on the field, court, or track. Josh grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from the University of Evansville and Vanderbilt Divinity School. He is the author of Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons From the World of Sports and the managing editor of LinC, a weekly curriculum for teens that explores the intersection of faith and culture. Josh lives outside Nashville with his wife, Ashlee, and children, Meyer (7), Resha Kate (5), and Malachi (3). He will not allow himself to die before the Evansville Purple Aces make another trip to the NCAA Tournament. Follow him on Twitter @joshtinley or send him an e-mail.


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