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Thread: Raptors analytics... and an internal rift? [post #67]

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    Raptors Republic All-Star JimiCliff's Avatar
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    Default Raptors analytics... and an internal rift? [post #67]

    If you're into analytics, here's an amazing article by Grantland's Zack Lowe:

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/...cal-revolution

    For making this happen, Colangelo gets a mid-sized checkmark next to the multitude of huge Xs he's earned over the years.

    It's very interesting, though, that the Raptors have let this out. As the article states, teams are very secretive about the analytics that they develop. I wonder if this is Colangelo angling for some good press with the stat-heads, who tend to destroy him.

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    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    Default Raptors analytical approach - from Grantland

    Interesting article about the way analytics are changing the NBA, using the Raptors as the example.

    LINK: http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/...cal-revolution

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    Raptors Republic All-Star slaw's Avatar
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    Was about to post this as well. Very interesting. The "ghost player" stuff is unbelievable.

    Too much stuff in this article to comment on it all but a couple of things caught my eye. First, there is an obvious disconnect between the front office/analytics department and the coaching staff. This reminds of when I use our analytics to tell the managers in my department what they should be doing and the old guys go, 'well, that's all common sesne, it confirms what our experience tells us'. Except, it often doesn't and what they think they know is often objectively wrong. Which is why I started firing those people. You can't spend enormous resources on analyzing performance only to have your people on the ground be resistant to change. You find people who aren't.

    Second, Valanciunas needs to play more. Many of us have been screaming all year that the team is better with him out there despite his mistakes. Now we know that the front office feels the same way. It ties into another point in the article about how a guy like Lebron James just destroys the "ghost players" cause he is so gifted he can do things other players can't. I'm not saying JV is that good but he is very gifted athletically and, combined with his hustle, he can do things our other bigs can't.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star hateslosing's Avatar
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    Great read, definately a PR move by BC. If he loses his job, he at least wants everyone t know that he was behind what sounds like some cutting edge stuff. The only question I have is how long will it be until we start letting the players observe the data. The three-point shot thing is interesting, and makes sense. If I shoot 30% from three that's just over 3 pts per shot: I'd have to shoot over 50% from two to make the same in three shots. Makes a lot of sense.
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    Raptors Republic All-Star ebrian's Avatar
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    Quote JimiCliff wrote: View Post
    It's very interesting, though, that the Raptors have let this out. As the article states, teams are very secretive about the analytics that they develop. I wonder if this is Colangelo angling for some good press with the stat-heads, who tend to destroy him.
    Could be that they originally approached some top defensive teams who were reluctant to share their data because they didn't want other teams to see what they're doing. The Raptors probably were willing because:

    (a) Great PR move for Colangelo
    (b) It's not really working yet so we're not jeopardizing much by telling other people about it
    your pal,
    ebrian

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Very interesting read!

    Some key points that stood out for me:
    The ghosts in Toronto's ideal defense are almost always more aggressive helpers than real players, and that's true across the league, according to the analytics team and Toronto's coaching staff. Teams either haven't realized they should be sending even more help toward the middle and the strong side, and sending that help sooner, or they haven't fully convinced players to behave in this way.
    "You can shoot as many 3s as you'd like," Casey says, "but if you don't make them, that philosophy goes out the window. There's always going to be disagreements. Analytics might give you a number, but you can't live by that number."
    - Casey seems somewhat resistant to analytical findings.

    "Player development and coaching are scarce resources," Rucker says. "You only have so much practice time. At a very basic level, a guy going from 25 percent to 30 percent from 3-point range is far more meaningful than a guy improving from 35 percent to 40 percent from midrange."
    - An argument against drafting raw/athletic players and hoping they "develop".

    Valanciunas, of course, has been the chief focus of Toronto's player development staff this season, and that has been another source of tension between the analytics team and the coaching staff. Valanciunas, like most rookies, misses rotations, overhelps, and commits other sins of positioning on defense. Coaches hate that stuff, and they've often nailed Valanciunas to the bench in crunch time in favor of Aaron Gray — a fundamentally sound player who lacks NBA athleticism.

    The numbers in large part disagree with that tactic, at least as it relates to Valanciunas's defense. The Raptors' defense has been better with Valanciunas on the floor.9 More importantly, the visualization data shows that Valanciunas is active and athletic enough to make up for all his defensive mistakes
    - Evidence that Casey is a dumbass.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic All-Star JimiCliff's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post

    "You can shoot as many 3s as you'd like," Casey says, "but if you don't make them, that philosophy goes out the window. There's always going to be disagreements. Analytics might give you a number, but you can't live by that number."
    - Casey seems somewhat resistant to analytical findings.
    This part, to me, was the most damning evidence against Casey. His response literally doesn't make sense. Obviously, you aren't going to make zero percent of your threes; what's at issue is what gets you more points per possession on average.

    Although, given the fact that the team seems to be grooming Demar to shoot jumpers one foot inside the three point line, I can't say that I'm surprised by Casey's attitude.

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    Raptors Republic Starter KHD's Avatar
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    Basically, Stan van Gundy was right all along. The 3 point shot is the best shot in basketball, and as the analytics become increasingly common, three point shooting is going to increase in frequency, and rightfully so.

    Also, as Nilanka said, this basically shits all over Casey's policies about playing Valanciunas, among other things, subjects that we've all been decrying here for the entire season.

    I think in the next few years we might see some new, young coaches enter the league, with a strong background in this kind of analysis.

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    wow... interesting. I thought that DC mentioned several times over the season that there is too much help defense...

    this says otherwise in a sense.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Axel's Avatar
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    While I like the overall use of advanced analytics, I have to agree with Casey in the sense that you don't want the numbers developing his "star". Players still need to learn and sometimes the old fashion way works best. I would love to see more JV and less Gray, especially at this point in the season, but how can JV learn if there is no ramifications to his actions?

    Ideally, the Raps can use the ghost defence and project the ghost players on the court in practice to show the players how it's done. Heck, at this point I'd let the ghost team projections take the court in a real game, couldn't be worse
    F*ck Brooklyn

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    Quote Axel wrote: View Post
    While I like the overall use of advanced analytics, I have to agree with Casey in the sense that you don't want the numbers developing his "star". Players still need to learn and sometimes the old fashion way works best. I would love to see more JV and less Gray, especially at this point in the season, but how can JV learn if there is no ramifications to his actions?

    Ideally, the Raps can use the ghost defence and project the ghost players on the court in practice to show the players how it's done. Heck, at this point I'd let the ghost team projections take the court in a real game, couldn't be worse
    +1
    Some would like to point at this and call Casey a `dumbass`, but there`s a lot more to developing a 20 year old rookie to eventually be his best in the NBA, than blindly following ideal computer generated scenarios. I may be as old school as Casey, yet accept that there`s is value in the use of these types of analytics. Valuable data, but there`s much more to consider in the balancing a variety of goals.

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    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    Quote p00ka wrote: View Post
    +1
    Some would like to point at this and call Casey a `dumbass`, but there`s a lot more to developing a 20 year old rookie to eventually be his best in the NBA, than blindly following ideal computer generated scenarios. I may be as old school as Casey, yet accept that there`s is value in the use of these types of analytics. Valuable data, but there`s much more to consider in the balancing a variety of goals.
    I've stated before that I can appreciate a coach benching a rookie for not following orders on the court, but I disagree with the player being glued to the bench for the remainder of the game. I like the idea of making a rookie (or any other player really) earn his minutes and learn from his mistakes.

    However, I think any player worth developing should be given the opportunity within the same game (ie: same opponents, same gameplan, same opportunities to run plays on both ends of the court) to demonstrate his ability to properly execute the gameplan and to prove both his desire and ability to learn from mistakes (and from the coaching that comes in-game while benched for making the first mistake). This is where I see Casey's approach lacking, in that he has the quick hook, without providing the opportunity for redemption.

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    Quote CalgaryRapsFan wrote: View Post
    I've stated before that I can appreciate a coach benching a rookie for not following orders on the court, but I disagree with the player being glued to the bench for the remainder of the game. I like the idea of making a rookie (or any other player really) earn his minutes and learn from his mistakes.

    However, I think any player worth developing should be given the opportunity within the same game (ie: same opponents, same gameplan, same opportunities to run plays on both ends of the court) to demonstrate his ability to properly execute the gameplan and to prove both his desire and ability to learn from mistakes (and from the coaching that comes in-game while benched for making the first mistake). This is where I see Casey's approach lacking, in that he has the quick hook, without providing the opportunity for redemption.
    I respect that you have a different philosophical approach to developing a rookie learning from mistakes, but that`s very different than pointing to analytics saying that the D is better with JV to paint the coach as a dumbass.

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    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    Quote p00ka wrote: View Post
    I respect that you have a different philosophical approach to developing a rookie learning from mistakes, but that`s very different than pointing to analytics saying that the D is better with JV to paint the coach as a dumbass.
    I never said anything about the bolded part, I was just continuing the conversation from your post.

    Personally, I think coaching experience and analytics could be integrated to improve the overall management of a team, but I certainly wouldn't want coaches replaced by analytics.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Axel's Avatar
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    Quote CalgaryRapsFan wrote: View Post
    I've stated before that I can appreciate a coach benching a rookie for not following orders on the court, but I disagree with the player being glued to the bench for the remainder of the game. I like the idea of making a rookie (or any other player really) earn his minutes and learn from his mistakes.

    However, I think any player worth developing should be given the opportunity within the same game (ie: same opponents, same gameplan, same opportunities to run plays on both ends of the court) to demonstrate his ability to properly execute the gameplan and to prove both his desire and ability to learn from mistakes (and from the coaching that comes in-game while benched for making the first mistake). This is where I see Casey's approach lacking, in that he has the quick hook, without providing the opportunity for redemption.
    This is the fine balance of coaching. Do you make the kid ride the pine for his errors or do you let him learn on the fly? Finding the balance between the two is the whole art of developmental coaching. Too much of a hardass and you kill his confidence, but too much lee-way isn't any good either as it tends to create the primadona attitude that sabotaged many a NBA careers.

    For me, the pinacle of NBA coaching can be summed up in a simple sentence, "What would Pop do?". I think Popovich is the best coach in the NBA (and has been for a long time) because he gets the most out of both the superstars and the role players. I have to think that Pop would sit JV on the pine if he missed a rotation too. Now I know the context is different since the Spurs are actually a contending team, but the philosophy should be the same.
    F*ck Brooklyn

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    Raptors Republic All-Star JimiCliff's Avatar
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    Quote Axel wrote: View Post
    This is the fine balance of coaching. Do you make the kid ride the pine for his errors or do you let him learn on the fly? Finding the balance between the two is the whole art of developmental coaching. Too much of a hardass and you kill his confidence, but too much lee-way isn't any good either as it tends to create the primadona attitude that sabotaged many a NBA careers.

    For me, the pinacle of NBA coaching can be summed up in a simple sentence, "What would Pop do?". I think Popovich is the best coach in the NBA (and has been for a long time) because he gets the most out of both the superstars and the role players. I have to think that Pop would sit JV on the pine if he missed a rotation too. Now I know the context is different since the Spurs are actually a contending team, but the philosophy should be the same.
    + 1,000,000 on this statement...

    however...

    Pops is known for putting his young, inexperienced players in crunch-time and letting them play:

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/pos...gregg-popovich (well worth the read!)

    He may have a quick hook sometimes, but that isn't his only way.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote CalgaryRapsFan wrote: View Post
    I've stated before that I can appreciate a coach benching a rookie for not following orders on the court, but I disagree with the player being glued to the bench for the remainder of the game. I like the idea of making a rookie (or any other player really) earn his minutes and learn from his mistakes.

    However, I think any player worth developing should be given the opportunity within the same game (ie: same opponents, same gameplan, same opportunities to run plays on both ends of the court) to demonstrate his ability to properly execute the gameplan and to prove both his desire and ability to learn from mistakes (and from the coaching that comes in-game while benched for making the first mistake). This is where I see Casey's approach lacking, in that he has the quick hook, without providing the opportunity for redemption.
    It also raises the question of how/what we define as a "mistake". If Jonas has the athletic ability to correct his "mistakes" on the fly, and has a net positive impact on the floor, can his mistakes really be considered "mistakes"?

    It's like saying that when performing a layup from the left side, one should go up with one's left hand. But if the player goes up using his right hand instead (again from the left side)....and still scores....can it really be considered a mistake? Sure it's a mistake from a textbook POV, but the net result is the same (that is, a made bucket).

    Regardless, I would assume that winning games is the ultimate goal of any franchise. That's hard to do when one of your net positive players is sitting on the bench because he achieved his net positive status in a way the coach disapproves of....
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic Superstar iblastoff's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    It also raises the question of how/what we define as a "mistake". If Jonas has the athletic ability to correct his "mistakes" on the fly, and has a net positive impact on the floor, can his mistakes really be considered "mistakes"?

    It's like saying that when performing a layup from the left side, one should go up with one's left hand. But if the player goes up using his right hand instead (again from the left side)....and still scores....can it really be considered a mistake? Sure it's a mistake from a textbook POV, but the net result is the same (that is, a made bucket).

    Regardless, I would assume that winning games is the ultimate goal of any franchise. That's hard to do when one of your net positive players is sitting on the bench because he achieved his net positive status in a way the coach disapproves of....
    i would assume the right hand basket from the left side would be considered a 'mistake' because it has a lower chance of success? so even if the basket did go in, you don't want your player to continuously attempt it in the long run.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star JimiCliff's Avatar
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    Quote Axel wrote: View Post
    While I like the overall use of advanced analytics, I have to agree with Casey in the sense that you don't want the numbers developing his "star". Players still need to learn and sometimes the old fashion way works best. I would love to see more JV and less Gray, especially at this point in the season, but how can JV learn if there is no ramifications to his actions?

    Ideally, the Raps can use the ghost defence and project the ghost players on the court in practice to show the players how it's done. Heck, at this point I'd let the ghost team projections take the court in a real game, couldn't be worse
    He can learn by being given more court time. The idea that taking away a player's minutes when they blow an assignment doesn't hold water to me, unless it's clear that they're willfully contradicting what they've been told to do. But if they just aren't able to 'get it' yet but are making an effort, I say let them play through their mistakes. Especially in Jonas' case, because the numbers show that he can make up for his mistakes.
    Last edited by JimiCliff; Tue Mar 19th, 2013 at 03:04 PM.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote JimiCliff wrote: View Post
    He can learn by being given more court time. The idea that taking away a player's minutes when they blow an assignment doesn't hold water to me, unless it's clear that they're willfully contradicting what they been told to do. But if they just aren't able to 'get it' yet but are making an effort, I say let them play through their mistakes. Especially in Jonas' case, because the numbers show that he can make up for his mistakes.
    +1

    Jonas doesn't exactly seem like the type to be like, "Screw you coach. I only care about minutes".

    I'm sure he's absorbing everything Casey's telling him, regardless of how many minutes he plays.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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