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PatsSoxKnicks
04-15-2011, 03:50 PM
http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/14257/wall-street-journal-geeks-are-winners

The article is a bit old but it raises a good question: Why don't more teams employ statistical analysts?

From the article:


According to interviews with every team, The Wall Street Journal found that half the league's teams this season have at least one of these statisticians who helps make in-game, draft-day and trade-deadline decisions. Many of these teams are among the NBA's best. The list accounts for all six division leaders, including the Orlando Magic and Dallas Mavericks, who have a data analyst traveling with the team. These 15 teams that have invested heavily in statistics have combined to win 59.3% of their games this season. The 15 teams without such analysts have won 40.7% of their games, and only three -- the Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz and Atlanta Hawks -- are on pace to make the postseason.


The article was published way back on March 12th, so as I said, it is an old article. However, the Suns and Jazz didn't make the playoffs and were replaced by Memphis (who does employ analysts).

And the division leaders at that time (Chicago, Miami, Boston, SA, LA and OKC) haven't changed (all remained pretty constant throughout the season).

Now some part of this might be coincidence but thats a large difference in win % for the teams that have analysts and for the teams that don't.

Technology/analytics is a tool that can only help and I don't understand why so many are pushing back against this new wave.

To the mods: I realize this is a topic more appropriate for the NBA Stats forum but I want to get the opinions of everyone and not just the guys who go to the stats forum who are going to be in favor of this anyways.

abe_froman
04-15-2011, 04:00 PM
depends on how they're used/how much you put into them.look at my sig which sums it up pretty nice.basketball cant be judged on stats alone(even though you and many others here try to push that).so it can be misleading and downright wrong,its not a perfected science(to many put in the belief that it is as perfected as baseball stats are) and so until such time that it can be,be careful how much weight you put into them.

daleja424
04-15-2011, 04:11 PM
Its great. Always helps to get as much info as you can and then sort out what is important and useful.

SteveNash
04-15-2011, 04:22 PM
Correlation does not imply causation.

PatsSoxKnicks
04-15-2011, 04:40 PM
depends on how they're used/how much you put into them.look at my sig which sums it up pretty nice.basketball cant be judged on stats alone(even though you and many others here try to push that).so it can be misleading and downright wrong,its not a perfected science(to many put in the belief that it is as perfected as baseball stats are) and so until such time that it can be,be careful how much weight you put into them.

I'm not saying abandon traditional scouting methods etc. but I'm saying it can only help.

As far as myself, yes I do use stats pretty heavily but I don't only use stats. For example, one of my opinions of why Rose or any other PG should never be MVP is because they don't affect the defensive end the same way that a big man does or even a wing. They can't. When I watch basketball, one of the things I see is that PG defense is pretty poor across the league. Thats not an opinion formed from just looking at stats but from watching basketball. Now I do believe that some of these awards that are handed out should be more stat based because they're individual awards instead of team ones.

Anyways, I don't want anyone to hijack this thread because of my above paragraph so anyone who's going to argue my point, I'm just going to ignore you.

But getting on topic again, I will say that basketball stats have come a long way. And I'm sure that what gets used throughout the league is even more advanced then what us fans have available to us.


Correlation does not imply causation.

So your opinion is that stat analysts don't help teams? :confused:

abe_froman
04-15-2011, 04:54 PM
I'm not saying abandon traditional scouting methods etc. but I'm saying it can only help.

As far as myself, yes I do use stats pretty heavily but I don't only use stats. For example, one of my opinions of why Rose or any other PG should never be MVP is because they don't affect the defensive end the same way that a big man does or even a wing. They can't. When I watch basketball, one of the things I see is that PG defense is pretty poor across the league. Thats not an opinion formed from just looking at stats but from watching basketball. Now I do believe that some of these awards that are handed out should be more stat based because they're individual awards instead of team ones.

Anyways, I don't want anyone to hijack this thread because of my above paragraph so anyone who's going to argue my point, I'm just going to ignore you.

But getting on topic again, I will say that basketball stats have come a long way. And I'm sure that what gets used throughout the league is even more advanced then what us fans have available to us.



So your opinion is that stat analysts don't help teams? :confused:
not that they dont,but rather its unclear if they indeed help.i have been debating that very point in my head all year.until there is some conclusive link i'm taking a wait and see approach(a backing off of how i use to be).

too many projections gotten wrong,too many rankings,ect. of how good a player is according to a stat that is just preposterous to make a case for being true.

i'm starting to believe thats its really only good for being a record of what happened ,rather than a causation effect.and in that case how could it help.probability laws dont effect this sport to the same degree as other since its less isolated

AllBall
04-15-2011, 04:56 PM
Hmm, thats news to me. I thought all teams had a stats department.

flea
04-15-2011, 05:01 PM
Stats very clearly help, but they don't replace a superstar player. It's tough for someone to explain why less information is better or gives a competitive advantage. The question in the NBA isn't whether they help, but rather how much stats help. I don't have any hard evidence, but it's my opinion that they can help a lot but won't win you a championship. After all, the NBA is still rigged.

PatsSoxKnicks
04-15-2011, 05:09 PM
not that they dont,but rather its unclear if they indeed help.i have been debating that very point in my head all year.until there is some conclusive link i'm taking a wait and see approach(a backing off of how i use to be).

To get any sort of conclusive evidence, Wall Street or any of these publications would have to do a multi year study. I think the APBR community has had a presence in the NBA long enough that one of those studies would yield conclusive results. (Obviously there'd have to be adjustments made for superstar players like Lebron etc., since stat guys and traditionalists can agree on players like him)



too many projections gotten wrong,too many rankings,ect. of how good a player is according to a stat that is just preposterous to make a case for being true.

Projections are always difficult but I think if the stat community continues to work at it, eventually they should start coming up with more accurate projections (though I'm not sure which projections you're talking about specifically). It's also a very realistic possibility that some of the best projections are hidden to fans because the guys coming up with them are working for NBA teams.

Obviously the eye test is still really important but I think a good majority of the time, many of the stats agree with what we see with our eyes.

The biggest problem for stats is obviously defense, which is hard to capture. And that is half the game.



i'm starting to believe thats its really only good for being a record of what happened ,rather than a causation effect.and in that case how could it help

Is there a reason you're starting to believe that? To be honest, the only people who might know whether its helping is the NBA teams themselves. And the fact that the number of NBA teams that use these analysts seems to be growing rather then shrinking can only be a good sign that its helping.

PatsSoxKnicks
04-15-2011, 05:18 PM
Hmm, thats news to me. I thought all teams had a stats department.

Nope, at the MIT Sports Sloan conference, there were estimates that had about 2/3 of the teams that had stat analysts with varying degree of use. This article says about half. I believe NBA stuffer has a list of the teams who employ analytics guys.

PatsSoxKnicks
04-15-2011, 05:24 PM
Stats very clearly help, but they don't replace a superstar player. It's tough for someone to explain why less information is better or gives a competitive advantage. The question in the NBA isn't whether they help, but rather how much stats help. I don't have any hard evidence, but it's my opinion that they can help a lot but won't win you a championship. After all, the NBA is still rigged.

I would agree with this. However, there are people who believe stats don't help and hurt the NBA. Their thought process is impossible for me to understand but those people do exist. And I find there are quite a few of those people in the NBA forum.

As for winning a championship, yes the superstar players are usually the primary reasons. And with those guys, everyone is generally in agreement about who they are. But the surrounding cast is obviously where stats can help a lot. Or even team philosophies such as going to the hoop and taking more 3's vs. mid range jumpers.

SteveNash
04-15-2011, 05:59 PM
So your opinion is that stat analysts don't help teams? :confused:

Well I couldn't find the list of teams but of the ones listed, the only one you could really consider bad in the past before advanced stats was Dallas, and their turnaround had everything to do with Cuban. Which is probably leads to the real disparity. Teams that hire these guys are more willing to spend money in the first place.

lakers4sho
04-15-2011, 10:41 PM
IDK maybe other teams are stingy? Explains why a lot of them remain as bottom dwellers.

AllBall
04-16-2011, 12:10 AM
Nope, at the MIT Sports Sloan conference, there were estimates that had about 2/3 of the teams that had stat analysts with varying degree of use. This article says about half. I believe NBA stuffer has a list of the teams who employ analytics guys.

Hmm, guess we're one of those teams who employs one.

http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/john_schuhmann/01/22/spoelstra-qa/index.html