Bilbao Basket, BCAM and INNOLAB put an end to the first phase of the prototyping of a proprietary scouting tool

The three agents complete the first phase of the technological project started last April, with the development of the prototype of a scouting tool based on Advanced Statistics, which will allow the basketball club to filter and compare players

BCAM (Basque Center for Applied Mathematics), a leading international research agent in the field of Applied Mathematics; together with Bilbao Basket and the open innovation platform INNOLAB Bilbao, have worked over the last few months on the development of a technological prototyping project, in order to analyse the opportunities and impact of Big Data technology and Applied Statistics as a value proposition for the club. In turn, the municipal company of the Bilbao City Council, Bilbao Ekintza, has participated in the configuration of the project.

“Currently, one of the main challenges in the sports field is the search for players capable of complementing the team, while achieving the maximum number of victories. All of this, depending on their marks and technical-tactical, physiological or anatomical aspects that allow them to stand out and that, without a doubt, are key when it comes to detecting talent to incorporate into the squad”. As Isabel Iturbe, President of the Bilbao Basket Sports Club, and Rafa Pueyo, Sports Director of the same club,
have pointed out.

Nowadays, there are databases available on the market with technical-tactical content of the athletes and detailed analytics, including the record of each player’s playing zones in scoring, pick ‘n roll, offensive/defensive skills, etc. However, they lack options for quick filtering and comparison of a specific player with the rest. In this context, the main challenge in the selection of new signings through the different statistics is the large number of variables that the Technical Management of the club has to analyse to identify a basketball player of interest.

To do this, BCAM, “with the appropriate mathematical techniques, we have developed a tool that allows us to relate the different players based on their professional performance over the years or to predict with a certain margin of error their success in the following season. This is done by analysing data of players from 85 world leagues over the last 10 seasons and developing an interactive tool that allows the filtering of players based on the requirements of the team’s technical management.” According to Dae-Jin Lee, project leader and Data Science Coordinator of BCAM‘s Knowledge Transfer Unit (KTU). The KTU aims to develop mathematical solutions to scientific challenges based on real-life applications and collaborate with industry to drive fundamental research and knowledge transfer to the business community.

The dynamic tool allows filtering both by numerical variables; points, shooting percentage or height, as well as by categorical variables; league, position, nationality, etc. It also makes it possible to sort the players by a specific variable and offers, among other aspects, up to 5 comparative graphs and a Top 10 of players similar to the selected one, being able to choose those aspects in which similarities are desired.

“The results of the project, which is part of INNOLAB Bilbao’s technology prototyping programme, have been very positively assessed by the whole team and we are currently analysing its possible implementation in production. In addition, possible lines of research for future analysis have been established, such as obtaining information on factors that have not been measured recently or the development of a detailed ranking of different leagues for greater accuracy in future predictions and comparisons”. Iraia Monteagudo, Director of INNOLAB Bilbao.

About BCAM

The Basque Center for Applied Mathematics – BCAM is an international research centre in the field of Applied Mathematics founded in 2008 by the Basque Government, the UVP/EHU and Ikerbasque. It is also supported by the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and Innobasque. One of its main objectives is to put mathematics at the service of society through the transfer of knowledge, extending the results of its research to sectors such as biosciences, health, energy or advanced manufacturing, and working jointly with local and international institutions and companies.

It currently has a staff of more than 100 researchers of 25 nationalities working in diverse areas, from data science or computational mathematics to mathematical modelling. BCAM has been accredited twice in a row as a “Severo Ochoa” centre of excellence by the Spanish State Research Agency, a distinction awarded to the best research institutions in the world in their field. 

 More information on BCAM website