This year has seen some significant technological innovations being incorporated in the National Basketball Association (NBA) games.

It’s also been a year of tech-related announcements that point to a near-future in which basketball would shine not just from the players’ dribbling and passing and dunking skills but also the technology that they use and are surrounded by.

For instance, in an age of data-gathering, a significant decision was made back in January by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. As per an agreement between the two bodies, there would be limits regarding how much data collected from wearable devices on players that teams could access and use.

The players could wear the devices voluntarily. And the data could be used only for improving tactical and strategic maneuvers on court.

Teams couldn’t use data while negotiating contracts and neither could they make the player’s data public for commercial purposes. Also, players couldn’t wear the devices during games.

The agreement which would last for seven years has come into effect since July 1. Making such smart moves early on shows how tech savvy the NBA really is.

The NBA Gatorade League (earlier called the NBA Development League) will now be using data to improve players' sports performance and recovery. To this end, sports scientists at the Gatorade Sports Institute would start partnering with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute next season. Their focus areas would include player nutrition and training programs to improve performance using cutting-edge technologies.

It’s not just the players who stand to benefit from new technologies in NBA.

It was in March that the NBA announced that they would start using multiple new technologies like virtual reality (VR) as well as data-driven analytics to not just recruit but also train referees.

Related to this, the NBA aims to use a game review system that would rely on data. This would apparently help them create objective measurement standards for the officials. It would also help track the officials’ errors and accuracy in every game.

While VR may still be in an early stage of its evolution, NBA seems to be willing to push the edges of the technology.

NBA Digital (NBA’s cross-platform digital content portfolio), for instance, partnered for the 2017 season with the company NextVR so that they could air a weekly regular season game in VR.

The idea was obviously conceived for those who couldn’t attend the games in person but who would like to watch the games from virtual courtside seats, altering their game viewpoint on demand, rather than just sit in front of the TV.

NextVR ended the season in style by making a highlight reel incorporating images from all the five games of the championship series. There were some great experiences to be had — like a stunning close-up view of LeBron James’ alley-oop of himself in a game.

To take their game further, NextVR even offers the highlight reel free of cost in the Oculus store for Gear VR users. It’s said that the company may try to bring the technology to even more platforms and hardware come next year.