I know that you and Keith joined the Raptors in the off-season. Did you have a say in the signing of Turkoglu or did you arrive to the team after that?
No, the signing took place before we joined the organization. We had no input on the signing. It was interesting, though, I think it was actually … yeah, the first question that general manager Bryan Colangelo asked us was basically, ‘I made this big decision for the franchise: a.) What do you think? Basically, do some analysis in terms of what impact that will have’ and then b.) was the Jay part, which is ‘how is he best used in our offense?’ or ‘how do you think he’ll fit and what are the roles where he appears to have the most value.’ We did a lot of work on Hedo in the off-season but it was all, kind of, after the fact. That was purely a timing thing.
I’m sure you can’t state, specifically, what you’ve done and the numbers you’ve crunched but have you seen some of the suggestions that you’ve given to Jay come to fruition in games? How does that work itself out, in terms of how Jay uses your input?
Yeah, there’s a lot of what I call ‘fog of war’ when it comes to that because we … it’s interesting, from reading [the APBRmetrics forum] and some of the other things at the Sloan Conference, my sense is that most of the quantitative analysts, most of their work is with, kind of, the personnel side and with the management side. I think we’re probably most like 70/30 with coach/management stuff so most of the stuff we do is for Jay and the coaches so in terms of that question, the answer is probably yes.
I’ll ask questions. We’ll look at things provided for them, give them answers, kind of have an ongoing dialogue about certain things. Yeah, I mean, sometimes I’ll talk to Jay and he’ll ask, ‘hey, can you suggest doing this? Does that work well?’ I think most of it is more just additional data points, in the sense of when coaches or managers make decisions, they consider a lot of things. I think that our job is to make sure that when they consider the quantitative production stuff, they consider it more correct than what they’re going to get at [Basketball-Reference] or whatever. Not that the stuff is wrong. I guess ESPN is a better example. Not that box score stats are wrong, they don’t reveal everything.
There’s no question, with the Hedo question, you asked about his role. I mean, yeah, we … possessions that he plays role as creator, not necessarily as ball-handler in terms of bringing the ball up the court but once you’ve gotten into the quarter-court, if he is … I don’t know how you want to characterize it in normal lingo. When he’s the guy running the offense, when it gets to him, he’s the one having to do the shot creation, those are our most valuable possessions. I mean, Jose is a great point guard, Jack is a very good point guard and they have definitely some strengths but Hedo, in the half-court, is a unique player in terms of what he does against defenses. We benefit a lot from that so if you watch Raptors games, I think you’ll see that a fairly significant percentage of our offensive plays when we’re running the half-court will go right through Hedo when he’s on the floor and that’s totally intentional. Now, did Jay do that because of stuff we told him or did he do that because he appreciates Hedo’s talents? I don’t know what the answer is. It’s probably a culmination of the two, I guess.