NBA Play by Play Data

What does play-by-play data include?

Traditional box score data shows per-game totals for players and for teams and reveals only a fraction of what happens in a game and that the information therein is often misleading, especially at defensive stats. At this point, Play-by-Play (PBP) data has been the main source of many advanced stats such as adjusted plus-minus.

Play-by-play provides a transcript of the game in a format of individual events. A typical play-by-play data should have the following information:
+ The time of the possession,
+ The player who initiated the possession (in the case of a steal or defensive rebound,
+ The opposing player who initiated the possession (in case of a missed shot or turnover) including the location on the floor the shot was taken from, and some other unique identifiers we use to classify the type of possession.

History of play-by-play data

The NBA has been tracking play-by-play data since the 1996-1997 season.

How to access NBA play-by-play data?
Historical play-by-play data including shot distance & shot location (x,y coordinates) are available in CSV format. Datasets include separate CSV files for each game, and a season file in which all games are combined.

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