PDA

View Full Version : Berri: “Most NBA coaches have no impact on the performance of their players”



thescore53
05-20-2010, 10:51 PM
Bryan Colangelo, in his 15 years as an NBA general manager, has employed eight coaches. And the way David Berri sees it, all that firing and hiring has mostly been in vain.

“Most NBA coaches have no impact on the performance of their players,” said Berri.

David Berri isn't an NBA GM. He’s a PhD in economics who recently co-authored a book that takes a dim view of the NBA’s coaching carousel. Stumbling on Wins, a wide-ranging work that attempts to stamp some empirical truth on the sporting world’s murky mumbo-jumbo, contains key results of a 2009 academic study that attempted to determine the impact of NBA coaches. And while the study concluded that some coaches make a difference — Phil Jackson, the 10-ringed Zen master currently helm of the L.A. Lakers, is heralded by the numbers as a transformative genius — the overwhelming gist is that an NBA team is only as good as its players.

“If the Raptors got a new coach, what would he say to (Andrea) Bargnani? ‘We'd like you to get 15 rebounds a game?’ ” Berri said in a recent interview. “Bargnani would probably say, ‘Well, I'd like to get 15 rebounds a game, too. But that's not going to happen unless you make the game 300 minutes long.’ That's the thing about (NBA players): You can't dramatically alter their performance.”

NBA teams, of course, often attempt to sell an opposing view. A new coach equals new hope, no matter that the players haven't much changed. But a read through Stumbling on Wins, which includes the key conclusions of a study of 62 NBA coaches from 1977-78 to 2007-08, suggests fans should be weary of such pitches.

While Raptors coach Jay Triano wasn’t included in the study, some of his predecessors were analyzed. The likes of Sam Mitchell and Lenny Wilkens, said Berri, “had no impact at all” on the performance of their players. The study suggests, on the other hand, that a team hiring Jackson could expect 17 additional victories in his first year on the scene.

Other coaches who ranked highly in the study: San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich (good for nearly 16 additional wins in his first year with your team), Golden State’s Don Nelson (plus-11 victories in his first year), Flip Saunders and Jim O’Brien. Only one of the eight coaches who have worked under Colangelo made the grade. The study suggests that the theoretical arrival of the late Cotton Fitzsimmons, who worked under Colangelo in Phoenix, could improve a team by about 16 wins in year one.

“Players tend to get better when they come to Phil Jackson,” write Berri and Schmidt. And players, Berri added in an interview, don't get worse after they leave Jackson, which suggests their improvement can't merely explained by their presence on the same floor as, say, Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, or their role in Jackson's triangle offence. The study found, for instance, that players saw drop-offs in production after leaving the unorthodox system run by Nelson.

What do NBA GMs think of the work of Berri and his colleagues? Berri said he has spoken to a few NBA executives, and he has done a “little bit” of paid number crunching for NBA teams. But he said working for a franchise isn't his goal, nor is gaining the approval of front-office executives.

“I think people in the NBA read what I write. They just won't publicly react to it,” Berri said.

Colangelo, for his part, said he has read only parts of the first book-length project in which Berri was involved, 2006’s The Wages of Wins. The GM has yet to crack Stumbling on Wins. But told of the crux of the NBA coaching study therein, Colangelo took umbrage.

“There's too many human elements in our game to rely solely on numbers to determine, ‘Oh, one guy's a good coach and one guy's not a good coach,’ ” said Colangelo. “There are all kinds of ways you can cut up data and statistics.”

If one detects skepticism emanating from Colangelo's corner office to Berri’s ivory tower, maybe it's mutual. Berri spent part of an afternoon this week mocking what he perceived to be the absurdity of many an NBA reality, including the coach-run sideline huddle.

“I saw where Adrian Dantley (coaching the Denver Nuggets) kept saying, ‘We're giving up too many layups.’ And it's like the players were sitting there saying, ‘Yes, we know. We don't want them to get layups, either. Why don’t you tell us how to stop them?’ ” said Berri. “They keep putting the mic on (Boston coach Doc Rivers) and he keeps saying the same thing, ‘We've got to play like a team.’ I mean, I’m getting tired of that. I can't imagine what the players are thinking. . . . You've got to imagine (Celtics forward) Kevin Garnett, when Doc Rivers is talking, is, like, “Are you done yet? Can I go play? Yep. Play like a team. Got it.” That's coaching.”


maybe coach's dont really make a difference, and firings like vinny del nego and sam mitchel are truly a big wast of time

DerekRE_3
05-20-2010, 11:34 PM
Yeah that's true. There's no difference between Sam Vincent and Larry Brown for the Bobcats. Or maybe...Kenny Natt and Paul Westphal for the Kings. Oh wait....

Chronz
05-20-2010, 11:39 PM
I think he underestimates what it takes to win come playoff time, and the effect coaches can have on a teams defense.

SteveNash
05-20-2010, 11:43 PM
David Berri isn't an NBA GM. He’s a PhD in economics who recently co-authored a book that takes a dim view of the NBA’s coaching carousel. Stumbling on Wins, a wide-ranging work that attempts to stamp some empirical truth on the sporting world’s murky mumbo-jumbo, contains key results of a 2009 academic study that attempted to determine the impact of NBA coaches. And while the study concluded that some coaches make a difference — Phil Jackson, the 10-ringed Zen master currently helm of the L.A. Lakers, is heralded by the numbers as a transformative genius — the overwhelming gist is that an NBA team is only as good as its players.

So the kind of guy that says Kevin McHale is the best GM in the league.

Raph12
05-21-2010, 01:33 AM
I think he underestimates what it takes to win come playoff time, and the effect coaches can have on a teams defense.

Dead on, I'd add to it, but I'll wait for someone to dispute first.

Draco
05-21-2010, 01:36 AM
Dead on, I'd add to it, but I'll wait for someone to dispute first.

I dispute this claim... Ok, go ahead. :p

mrblisterdundee
05-21-2010, 02:06 AM
Firing Sam Mitchell was a terrible idea. Who fires a guy who was recently named Coach of the Year? Obviously, it's something else, like the entire Toronto team being soft.
Another example is Mike Dunleavy being fired. How exactly were the "Jailblazers" his fault? That team was destined for failure the moment O'Neal got traded. Was it really Avery Johnson's fault that Dirk can't lead a team to a championship? There are so many terrible decisions where somebody wants to simply displace blame.

robdizzle3
05-21-2010, 04:26 AM
Del Negro shouldnt have been fired, because he couldnt have done better than what was done with the Bulls. Coach's do impact games, especially come playoff time, like someone has mentioned. Dont really know what that guy is talking about.

DenButsu
05-21-2010, 04:36 AM
After watching the Nuggets nosedive when Dantley took over for Karl, I'd beg to differ.

robdizzle3
05-21-2010, 05:28 AM
After watching the Nuggets nosedive when Dantley took over for Karl, I'd beg to differ.

I was just about to name Karl as well. Some coach's just garner more respect from their players and they will play harder for them. Doesnt matter what sport you're in. Baseball, La Russa, Cox, and joe Torre. Football, Bellicheat, reid, Dungy and payton and if you dont play inspired or hard, there will be consequences. Coaching matters.

Iodine
05-21-2010, 11:40 AM
I think he underestimates what it takes to win come playoff time, and the effect coaches can have on a teams defense.

x500000000

Plus people underestimate how much effort they put in to keep the ego's in check, chemistry in order, etc.

CashMoneyCubby
05-21-2010, 11:49 AM
It seems ridiculous to even suggest that coaches don't make a difference. Seriously...

ballpd05
05-21-2010, 12:13 PM
I agree. Coaches make a big difference. Look at the Nuggets this year. Or the Phil Jackson effect in LA in the early 2000's and with the Bulls (Jordan was there in 85 didn't win til Phil shortly after phil came... Kobe +Shaq together since 1996 didn't win til phil came in 2000.)

But I don't care who your coach is, if you don't have the talent or the players who fit your scheme you aren't going to be successful. So if you don't have talent or your players don't match the philosophy it doesn't matter who you put there.

CashMoneyCubby
05-21-2010, 12:34 PM
Also, If coaches didn't make a difference...Why would organizations pay millions of dollars for them to stand on the sideline and be useless?

Beengully26
05-21-2010, 12:39 PM
Just another moron trying to sell a book , if that the case Economics major why do teams shell out major $$$ for them??? ...

td0tsfinest
05-21-2010, 01:23 PM
There is some truth to it. While there are plenty of coaches in the league that influence the way their player's performances like Popovich or Adelman, I don't think players take the words of a young or less known coach as they would from one of these guys.

Niro
05-21-2010, 01:27 PM
haha yes just look at golden state...it does make a different if you play 4 guards and 1 forward or 2 guards 2 forwards and 1 center...

footballer2369
05-21-2010, 01:51 PM
I agree with this quote translated literally...

I'd say most coaches are average and don't really spike the performance in either direction...

Guys like Pop, Larry Brown, Phil, Sloan, Riley, et al (even Rivers IMO) DO have a huge impact. These guys are a rarer breed. They are the least in essence that they are one in 10.

Guys like Sam Mitchell, Del Negro, Woodson, etc. have little or no distinctive style and identity and don't impact the game in either direction.

smith&wesson
05-21-2010, 02:02 PM
who ever this guy is, he lost all credibality when he said don nelson is a good coach, or even mentioning him in the same breath as jackson and popavich.

and he contradicts himself. he is basically saying coaches dont matter, oh but wait if you have "these" coaches (jackson, popavich) then it does matter alot. thats a big contradiction...

its probably the dumbest theory ive heard about basket ball. specially when he is suggesting don nelson is a good coach. he is one of the worst imo.

and its pretty easy for a guy two come out and say jackson and poppavich make a difference. no duh, they are the 2 best coaches in the league. my 8 year sister could have told us that. only she wouldnt argue that don nelson is on theyre level. lol she knows better.

NBAfan4life
05-21-2010, 02:09 PM
I think he underestimates what it takes to win come playoff time, and the effect coaches can have on a teams defense.

This

during the regular season it might not be as important, but it still is. Not everyone wants to be great like Kobe Lebron Wade KD Melo ect so these coaches have to inspire these mostly young millionaires to play hard and keep them focused. Most people cant do it.

smith&wesson
05-21-2010, 02:12 PM
I agree with this quote translated literally...

I'd say most coaches are average and don't really spike the performance in either direction...

Guys like Pop, Larry Brown, Phil, Sloan, Riley, et al (even Rivers IMO) DO have a huge impact. These guys are a rarer breed. They are the least in essence that they are one in 10.

Guys like Sam Mitchell, Del Negro, Woodson, etc. have little or no distinctive style and identity and don't impact the game in either direction.


no i disagree, your comparing old established coaches to new coaches ... thats like comparing established players to new players. give them time and perhaps some of the new coaches can establish a name for them selves.

its too easy to pick out the best old coaches and compare them to new ones.
its like comparing a great established player like kobe to a raw yonge unproven player like derozen. saying kobe is a great, but that kid derozan i dont know man he nisnt that good.

KnicksorBust
05-21-2010, 02:33 PM
“Most NBA coaches have no impact on the performance of their players.” I agree.

arkanian215
05-21-2010, 03:36 PM
Kiki

Wrigheyes4MVP
05-21-2010, 04:00 PM
Phil Jackson is currently polishing his 10 rings as he window shops for an 11th.