This new tech can help Stephen Curry shoot better 3-pointers
Using backboard sensors to track the precise location a shot hits the rim can improve accuracy by nearly 20%.
You may recall the moment. It was Feb. 27, 2016, and the Golden State Warriors were tied with the Oklahoma Thunder in overtime. With mere seconds left to go, Stephen Curry sauntered down the court and pulled up for a jaw-dropping 3-point attempt from 38-feet away – more than 10 feet beyond the 3-point line. What happened next? Take a look...
With that shot, Curry made his 12th 3-pointer of the night, tying the record for the most 3-pointers made in a single game.
While not everyone can match Curry's shooting prowess, a new technology out of Israel can now help players improve their chances to make that game-winning play. Called RSPCT, the company has invented a system of sensors attached to the backboard that tracks all sort of data related to the shot. Using high-resolution cameras, the RSPCT system can tell you exactly where the ball hit the rim and the basket.
The company’s CEO is entrepreneur Oren Moravchik (http://bit.ly/2B7n6Ah), an alum of both Tel Aviv University and the Technion Institute in Israel. He started the company along with his brother Lior. "We developed a system that tracks shooting in high resolution," said Lior, who serves as the company's COO. "Shooting improvement has several stages. The only way to evaluate the result of the shot is with respect to where the shot hit. We are the only ones who can tell you that."
As his brother Oren points out, the field goal percentage (i.e. the number of shots you make) is not the same as shooting accuracy. He gives the example of a player who shoots 10 for 10 with one technique and 8 for 10 with another. You would assume the coach would have the player use the first technique as it appears to guarantee more points. However, using the second technique provides more accuracy. "It'll give better results in the long run," Oren said.
Using information gleaned from the RSPCT system can also help teams play better defense. "The first question that every professional and fan asks about shooting is, 'What are the chances that a player makes the next shot?' It applies to whom do you foul, who takes the last shot, whom do you draft and how you improve your shooting?" Oren explained. "We find and fix errors that nobody else even notice existed."
Their patent-pending system – which can help any player, at any level – can digitize any basket in about a half hour. And data from every shot is stored in the cloud. The Israeli startup is in talks now with several NBA teams, as well as the league itself, to install the system at arenas and training facilities across the U.S. It could potentially be up and running by next season.
The fact that the technology comes out of Israel comes as no surprise to those who know the storied history of the sport in the Mediterranean country. A 1977 win against a mighty USSR team catapulted the Tel Aviv Maccabi team to a European Cup championship. Dubbed the "Miracle on Hardwood," it was recently turned into a documentary. The team has gone on to win a half dozen championships since then.
Another Israeli startup, called DayTwo, is analyzing the poop of basketball players to tailor diets for each player based on their gut bacteria. Another company called FreeD – which was acquired by Intel last year – enhances the instant replay process. Its founder, Oren Yogev, is an advisor to RSPCT.
Meanwhile, Curry and his Golden State Warriors are already employing another Israeli-made technology to improve their game. During the off-season, the Warriors installed a SmartCourt system in their training facility from PlaySight Interactive. Chen Shachar, a graduate of the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel, is the company's co-founder and CEO. "What the technology gives the Golden State Warriors and other NBA teams is the ability to record every practice, every move from different angles so they can break down the game, providing instant replay, so they can work on player development and maximize the team's performance," he said.
"We wanted to bring the most advanced technology to the mass market. So our technology is applicable from 10-year-olds to Steph Curry." Which is certainly welcome news to 3-point shooters everywhere.
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