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Thread: ESPN: The Great Analytics Rankings

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Scraptor's Avatar
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    Default ESPN: The Great Analytics Rankings

    ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com unleashed our experts and an army of researchers to rate 122 teams on the strength of each franchise's analytics staff, its buy-in from execs and coaches, its investment in biometric data and how much its approach is predicated on analytics. After looking at the stats, reaching out to every team and dozens of informed sources and evaluating each front office, we ranked an overall top 10 and bottom 10 and placed each team in one of five tiers by sport.
    We're in the middle of the pack, apparently. While I think it's tough to make these rankings from the outside, there are some interesting nuggets in here. One of the few smart decisions I've seen out of the Kings FO was hiring Dean Oliver. Karl-D'Alessandro-Oliver all worked together in Denver.

    http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/stor...ytics-rankings

    A detailed 2013 Zach Lowe feature on Grantland pulled back the curtains on the Raptors' front office, revealing not only a strong analytics team making creative use of SportVU data but also tensions about how to put those insights into action.

    Shortly after that story, Toronto hired Masai Ujiri as GM, replacing Bryan Colangelo, who sources say had allowed a rift to develop in the organization. Outside sources who know Ujiri describe him as a creative thinker, talented scout and good manager, but not a champion of analytics. While with the Denver Nuggets, he worked with Dean Oliver but opted not to replace him after Oliver left the organization for a role at ESPN. With the Raptors, Ujiri retained consultants Alex Rucker and Keith Boyarsky, who built the SportVU interface Lowe detailed along with team staffer Eric Khoury.

    "It's a great part of the game to know," Ujiri told the National Post in 2013. "I think the NBA is trendy. I don't want to say it's the trend now. But that's the nature of us. I think analytics are a huge part. We have a good department that studies the game that way. I study the game that way."

    Ujiri's moves in Toronto have given mixed signals about the role of analytics. He quickly traded overpaid Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay for high value, but was also willing to trade then-underrated Kyle Lowry for a meager package to begin rebuilding. Only when the New York Knicks declined a proposed Lowry deal did it become apparent that the Raptors had built an unexpected winner.

    The structural issues in the organization have had the unfortunate effect of painting coach Dwane Casey as an archaic stat-hater, which is misleading. He worked closely with Oliver as an assistant coach in Seattle and Roland Beech as part of Rick Carlisle's staff in Dallas and gets high marks from both for being open to using analytics.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star KHD's Avatar
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    There is no way in hell I believe that Casey is "open to using analytics".

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    Quote KHD wrote: View Post
    There is no way in hell I believe that Casey is "open to using analytics".
    Why, the last two years we've been top 10 in 3s per game, also 7th and 4th FTA per game.

    Casey puts on a bit of a posture as an old school guy but I don't get the Byron Scott/Randy Whittman/Lional Hollins vibe from him

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Primer's Avatar
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    Quote Jrice9 wrote: View Post
    Why, the last two years we've been top 10 in 3s per game, also 7th and 4th FTA per game.

    Casey puts on a bit of a posture as an old school guy but I don't get the Byron Scott/Randy Whittman/Lional Hollins vibe from him
    I'm not sure favoring 3's means the coach is using analytics. It's not like no one took 3's before SportVU came along. If Casey was using analytics, he would see that long fade away 2's are the worst possible shot to take, and we should limit those attempts instead of leading the league in them. He'd also see that iso plays where only one guy touches the ball have a very low percentage of going in, yet that is the backbone of our late game offense. Basically, there is no rhyme or reason to what the hell Casey is doing, except that he prefers small ball and guards taking all the shots.

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    Raptors Republic Starter hotfuzz's Avatar
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