This heatmap colors each player by VORP (Value over Replacement Player), which converts the BPM rate into an estimate of each player’s overall contribution to the team, measured vs. what a theoretical ‘replacement player’ would provide, where the ‘replacement player’ is defined as a player onminimum salary or not a normal vmember of a team’s rotation. A VORP of -20 is used for players that did not play enough minutes.

Original visualization by Russell Goldenberg at The Pudding.

First, we draw a thin rectangle, repeat it by each row of data, bind its x position to “Draft_Year”, and bind the y position to “Draft_Pick”. Let’s first make the x scale wider by dragging the axis handle. Since we want the first draft picks to appear on top, we need to flip the y axis. To do this, we can drag the axis handle past the starting point.

Next, we encode the fill color using “VORP”. Since the VORP values include both positive and negative numbers, Data Illustrateur chooses a diverging color scale by default. We then set the background color to black, and change the x axis' orientation to top. Finally, we change the axis and legend colors to light gray, so that they stand out from the dark background.