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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 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 Superstar 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

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    Yeah that three point shot part was really crazy. So Demar is better off shooting threes than long two's. Doesn't mean I won't cringe every time he shoots a three.
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    Quote Employee wrote: View Post
    Yeah that three point shot part was really crazy. So Demar is better off shooting threes than long two's. Doesn't mean I won't cringe every time he shoots a three.
    I think the specific example was saying that a 3pt shot off a solid setup with 5 seconds left on the shot clock was likely better than anything else that would be generated in 5 seconds, starting at the 3pt line with the defense knowing you're going to have to shoot soon. I often wonder why guys don't take shots with under 10 seconds on the shot clock, instead of trying to force the play, especially when it so often results in a lower % shot (ie: contested fadeaway coming off a spin in the lane isn't a 'better' shot than a good look at a 3pt shot, just because it's closer to the basket). I thought it was a great, nonconventional way to think about the game objectively.

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    Quote CalgaryRapsFan wrote: View Post
    I think the specific example was saying that a 3pt shot off a solid setup with 5 seconds left on the shot clock was likely better than anything else that would be generated in 5 seconds, starting at the 3pt line with the defense knowing you're going to have to shoot soon. I often wonder why guys don't take shots with under 10 seconds on the shot clock, instead of trying to force the play, especially when it so often results in a lower % shot (ie: contested fadeaway coming off a spin in the lane isn't a 'better' shot than a good look at a 3pt shot, just because it's closer to the basket). I thought it was a great, nonconventional way to think about the game objectively.
    I just reread it. Maybe he wasn't speaking about DD specifically but he was saying that a 28% 3pt shoot is better than a 42% mid range shot. It made me get my calculator out.
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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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    Quote Employee wrote: View Post
    I just reread it. Maybe he wasn't speaking about DD specifically but he was saying that a 28% 3pt shoot is better than a 42% mid range shot. It made me get my calculator out.
    It was very thought-provoking. I think somebody earlier mentioned that it all comes down to points per possession.

    10 possessions, 1 shot each:

    3 pt shots (30%) = 10 x 0.3 x 3 = 9 points

    2 pt shots (40%) = 10 x 0.4 x 2 = 8 points


    Obviously there's much more to a game than simply choosing between 2 equally open shots, but it's interesting to think about. It's also no suprise, given the success the Raptors have had in games when their 3pt shots have been falling.

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    Quote CalgaryRapsFan wrote: View Post
    It was very thought-provoking. I think somebody earlier mentioned that it all comes down to points per possession.

    10 possessions, 1 shot each:

    3 pt shots (30%) = 10 x 0.3 x 3 = 9 points

    2 pt shots (40%) = 10 x 0.4 x 2 = 8 points


    Obviously there's much more to a game than simply choosing between 2 equally open shots, but it's interesting to think about. It's also no suprise, given the success the Raptors have had in games when their 3pt shots have been falling.
    Yeah it's crazy. When you do the math for 28% 3 pt shooting the value is the exact same as 42% mid range.
    Eh follow my TWITTER!

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    Quote Employee wrote: View Post
    Yeah it's crazy. When you do the math for 28% 3 pt shooting the value is the exact same as 42% mid range.
    I think that goes to show why ball movement is so important, to give guys as clean a look as possible, ideally a good 3pt shooter with an open 3pt shot - ie: Anthony Parker and his corner 3's during the Bosh playoff years. The Raps starting lineup, as good as they are individually, struggle with ball movement and aren't a very good 3pt shooting group.

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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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    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.

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