The 2015 NBA playoffs are in full swing and by now you’ve heard every piece of standard NBA analysis that the internet has to offer. We thought it might be interesting to do something different. We wanted to dive into the geographical backgrounds of the key playoff players and see if we could find any interesting trends. To do this, we mapped the hometown of every NBA starter in the 2015 playoffs, starting with the east:


(Click to zoom)

Our first impressions of the east were: Damn there is a lot of red in the eastern conference logos. After we got over that graphic design shock we noticed the glaring vacuum that is the middle west. Apparently nobody plays basketball in Utah or South Dakota. (But to be fair, not many people live in Utah and South Dakota.) The next step was to take a look at the western starters.


Alright now it’s hard not to just look at colors. Apparently the west is the conference of blue. Geographically though, the western conference mimics the map of the Final Four participant hometowns that inspired this post. The legend is true: Lots of basketball is being played in Indiana apparently.

And finally, it’s only natural to combine the two into a map clusterfuck of NBA logos:


It’s a lot to take in but there are some interesting trends between these three maps:

  • 4 out of the 5 Grizzlies starters grew up within 200 miles of one another.
  • The northeast is heavily underrepresented considering it’s population, with only 6 players in the playoffs.
  • There’s a 1300 mile expanse in the west that has no NBA playoff starters.
  • The only player who is playing in his hometown is Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls.
  • California destroys every other state in player production:


California: 16
Indiana: 5
Texas: 5
Illinois: 4
Louisiana: 4
North Carolina: 3
Washington: 2
New York: 2
Florida: 2
Pennsylvania: 2
Oregon: 1
Oklahoma: 1
Arkansas: 1
Mississippi: 1
Alabama: 1
Georgia: 1
South Carolina: 1
Tennessee: 1
Kentucky: 1
Missouri: 1
West Virginia: 1
Iowa: 1
Michigan: 1
Ohio: 1
Massachusetts: 1
New Jersey: 1

We’d be remiss in not mentioning the number of international players present in the playoffs. And while the arrows to their hometowns aren’t accurate (like at all), it’s obvious that they’re influence on the playoffs is not a small one.

Now go forth and impress your friends with your useless knowledge of playoff player hometowns.

Matt is a senior editor at Yell at him about his maps on Twitter: @mattsurely.

Map courtesy of reddit user dybuell.