I think Andrew Lynch got everything pretty much right in this post at Hardwood Paroxysm about the release of *some* SportVu data by the NBA. So, I am going to out source this post to him:
It’s assuredly an exciting development, but one would be wise to temper expectations, especially in the early going. The data simply won’t be that robust come Friday, and though the sample size will grow faster than a magic beanstalk as the season progresses, even an entire season’s worth of games isn’t enough to draw hard conclusions.
And that’s the kicker with this technology — it isn’t about answers.
When the data set becomes more thorough, the information will undoubtedly be more useful. But it’s never going to be a magic bullet that will point you to some absolute truth about the NBA. Those who seek answers with SportVU are taking the wrong approach. A system of this nature and magnitude is about asking the right questions. It’s about finding the right perspectives and the right context.
It’s about taking a look at the fallacy of assists and saying that we can do better. It’s about combining ideas like expected points per possession with a tool that can effectively track every pass that happens on the court. From there, with enough data, the brightest minds in our community will calculate the expected value of each of those passes.
There's a good deal more there, definitely read it all.
For example, one of the new stats expected to debut tomorrow is "rebounds per rebound oppotunity," defined as something like the percent of rebounds a player pulls down of chances within 3.5 feet of them. That is certainly interesting to know, the question is whether it is more infomative than our current stats simply counting rebounds or estimating rebound percentages. After all, it takes skill to get into position to get to the ball, and guys that get to the ball and secure it are already tracked in the current stats.
It will take considerable analysis before any of the new numbers mean anything, if they ever do. And that's a good thing.