Fred VanVleet leads NBA in miles run per game for second-straight year

Fred VanVleet leads NBA in miles run per game for second-straight year

Since the 2013-14 season, the NBA has used player-tracking technology to collect all kinds of interesting data (including a player’s distance traveled, average speed and number of touches). 

Second Spectrum is the NBA’s “official optical tracking provider” and they’ve installed a player-tracking system in the catwalk of every NBA arena. Using multiple cameras, state-of-the-art machine learning and computer-vision techniques, the software identifies and locates every player and the ball 25 times per second. If something happens on the court, the player-tracking system catches it. Then, the data is uploaded to NBA.com.

That’s how we know that last season, 170 players ran at least 100 miles throughout the course of the campaign, and 146 players ran at least 2.0 miles per game with Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet leading all players in average distance traveled with 2.9 miles per game.

Here are the current leaders for the 2021-22 season:

PLAYER MILES PER GAME
1. Fred VanVleet 2.9
2. Harrison Barnes 2.85
3. Tyrese Maxey 2.85
4. Miles Bridges 2.81
5. Scottie Barnes 2.78
6. Dejounte Murray 2.76
7. Gordon Hayward 2.72
8. OG Anunoby 2.69
9. Malcolm Brogdon 2.68
10. Cole Anthony 2.67
11. Domantas Sabonis 2.67
12. Zach LaVine 2.67
13. Lonzo Ball 2.65
14. Jaylen Brown 2.65
15. Bradley Beal 2.64

 

PLAYER TOTAL MILES
1. Tyrese Maxey 44.9
2. Fred VanVleet 43.2
3. Domantas Sabonis 42.6
4. Miles Bridges 42.2
5. C.J. McCollum 42.1
6. Dejounte Murray 41.5
7. Russell Westbrook 41.0
8. OG Anunoby 40.4
9. Lonzo Ball 40.2
10. Zach LaVine 40.10
11. Gordon Hayward 40.0
12 Cole Anthony 39.9
13. Harrison Barnes 39.8
14. Tyler Herro 39.8
15. Gary Trent Jr. 39.3

Here are some takeaways from this data:

- Last season, 93 NBA players — or more than 20% of the league — ran at least 130 miles (or the equivalent of five marathons) over the course of the campaign. That list includes Stephen Curry (163.30 miles), Damian Lillard (164.90), Zion Williamson (159.5), Bradley Beal (157.0), Luka Doncic (152.8), Chris Paul (144.0), Giannis Antetokounmpo (143.9), Kyrie Irving (133.0) and Paul George (132.5) among others.

- For the second-straight season, VanVleet is on pace to lead the NBA in average distance traveled. Last season, he averaged a league-high 2.76 miles per game; this year, he’s first among all players once again with 2.90 miles per game.

- New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett led all NBA players with 192.3 total miles run (or roughly seven-and-a-half marathons) during the condensed 2020-21 season. 

- During the 2018-19 season, Beal played all 82 games and averaged a league-leading 36.9 minutes per game, so he did a lot of running that year: 222.7 miles (or the equivalent of eight marathons), to be exact. That’s the single-season record for the most total miles since the NBA started tracking this data in 2013-14.

- Every year, CJ McCollum is one of the league leaders in total miles run and average distance traveled. McCollum led all players in total miles run in 2019-20 (192.1), 2017-18 (218.4), 2016-17 (208.4) and 2015-16 (207.4). The NBA has only tracked this for eight seasons, yet McCollum already has four first-place finishes. He also led the NBA in average distance traveled in 2019-20 (2.78) and 2017-18 (2.70).

- Which players have traveled the shortest distance this season? Among players who have played at least 50 minutes, the following have run the fewest total miles: Marcus Morris (3.80), Brandon Boston Jr. (4.10), Jared Butler (4.10), Jabari Parker (4.20), Ed Davis (4.30), Ignas Brazdeikis (4.30), Robin Lopez (4.30), Sam Merrill (4.60), Malachi Flynn (4.60) and Sandro Mamukelashvili (4.80).

- Of the top-10 players in average distance covered, three are from the Raptors: VanVleet (2.90), Scottie Barnes (2.78) and OG Anunoby (2.69). Now that Pascal Siakam is back in the lineup, he will likely join them too, as he averaged the fifth-most miles per game (2.67) last season before his injury.

- The Charlotte Hornets had three players crack the top-20 in total miles run: Miles Bridges (42.2), Gordon Hayward (40.0) and LaMelo Ball (39.0).

PLAYER FASTEST AVG. SPEED (MPH)
1. Svi Mykhailiuk 4.69
2. Doug McDermott 4.68
3. Gary Payton II 4.66
4. T.J. McConnell 4.66
5. Dalano Banton 4.61
6. Caleb Martin 4.57
7. Cody Martin 4.57
8. Jordan McLaughlin 4.57
9. Cory Joseph 4.56
10. Jaden McDaniels 4.56
11. Nick Richards 4.55
12. Tomas Satoransky 4.55
13. Jalen McDaniels 4.55
14. Dejounte Murray 4.55
15. Ish Smith 4.52

 

PLAYER SLOWEST AVG. SPEED (MPH)
1. James Harden 3.64
2. Eric Gordon 3.65
3. LeBron James 3.66
4. Chris Paul 3.67
5. Joel Embiid 3.69
6. Carmelo Anthony 3.75
7. Anthony Davis 3.76
8. Karl-Anthony Towns 3.76
9. Kevin Durant 3.81
10. Kyle Lowry 3.81
11. Jeff Green 3.82
12. Marcus Morris 3.83
13. Marcus Smart 3.83
14. Nikola Vucevic 3.84
15. Luka Doncic 3.84

Here are some takeaways from the average-speed data:

- It’s pretty wild that twins Caleb Martin and Cody Martin both play at the exact same average speed (4.57 miles per hour). Brothers Jaden McDaniels (4.56 MPH) and Jalen McDaniels (4.55 MPH) are also nearly identical in terms of their average miles per hour.

- James Harden always has one of the slowest average speeds in the league, according to this data. He finished as the slowest player in 2019-20 (3.53 MPH) and he was top-five slowest in 2013-14 (3.71 MPH), 2016-17 (3.72 MPH), 2017-18 (3.69 MPH) and 2018-19 (3.63 MPH).

- Last season, LeBron James had the slowest average speed among all players (3.58 MPH). This year, James is currently third-slowest (3.66 MPH).

- It's interesting that every player on the "slowest average speed" list is a veteran (and most are stars), whereas a number of younger players are featured among the fastest players (perhaps because they only know how to play at one speed).

- Among the top-15 fastest players, four play for the Hornets: Cody Martin (4.57), Nick Richards (4.55), Jalen McDaniels (4.53) and Ish Smith (4.52), which is likely a result of their pace and style of play.

- Two of the NBA's top-five fastest players are from the Raptors: Svi Mykhailiuk (4.69) and Dalano Banton (4.61).

- Three of the top-seven slowest players in the league are from the Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James (3.66), Carmelo Anthony (3.75) and Anthony Davis (3.76).

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