The MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference wrapped up over the weekend.
It is exactly what it sounds like and that probably irritates you to some degree.
Yes, yes, you and Stan Van Gundy WATCH (yelling) the games. So do I and most of those who attend the conference. But isn't it obliging to have mountains of data to support your innate assertions?
Even better? As long as you're applying what can be some very complex data correctly, the information can be your steady ally in your friendly, and at times heated, sports debates.
For instance. I don't think the Tigers should provide Miguel Cabrera with a lengthy and expensive deal or extension to complete his career in Detroit. You could more easily convince me to pay him $45 million dollars for two seasons each, rather than 5 years and $150 million or more. Players, especially hitters, as a whole don't age as gracefully and athletically as they did in the PED era, and this brief Fangraphs report corroborates that.
This numbered column is from SI.com's Matt Dollinger offering his takeaways from the NBA seminars at the conference.
You didn't need your own analytics to figure this out, but the following are my notes on his notes.
Dollinger's four + five on Stan Van Gundy's comments - I think it was Temple's coach Fran Dunphy who uttered something like games and film indict, and stats convict. I believe that. But I also believe it works invertedly as well. Carefully dissected film can confirm or disprove potentially misleading statistics.
Six, SVG on Paul George's distance run this year - What use it? If he's exhausted now or in the grind of the playoffs, without any kind of complex metrics, we've pegged a really solid suspect for any lethargy or poor performances.
Nine, SVG on the plethora of knee injuries - Hmmmm, can any orthopedist out there tell me whether SVG is on the right path here. Explosive athletes shred their ligaments because their bodies are so potent...and this is my theory, yet the ligaments and the muscles surrounding them reach a less taut threshold, so they just go boom!
Ten, on the NBA draft wheel - I don't love it, but I'm open to hearing more of its intracacies. My concern is, regardless of the financial structure, what if the NBA champion has a top pick in the upcoming draft. Rich getting richer. Lebron doesn't even consider leaving Miami because here comes Wiggins, Randle, Embiid, etc...Sure, the League's poorest teams would've brought this system upon themselves by doing what the Sixers have designed this year, and the draft wheel could be their punishment. However, I do believe in the basic principle of giving the worst teams the best shot at future players.
Fifteen, George Karl on games being 40 minutes - Three reasons why I can't see it happening: You'd have to trim rosters, there'd be less commercial breaks, and all time records would be skewed. If the NBA shaved 8 minutes off its games next year, how do you think Kobe would feel as he's trying to chase down Kareem Abdul Jabbar?
Some resolutions though; trim the rosters and you increase the talent of the D League, instead of young players and players with untapped potential rotting on benches. Kick the commercials, and get more creative with in-game ads. Like...sorry, but on jerseys and such. It's coming so embrace it, especially for a quicker game with less commercials. And I don't have an answer for when it comes to going after individual and team counting statistics.
Eighteen, speeding up end of game foul fests - This doesn't perturb me as it does in the NCAA. But, if it does you, how about a double bonus in the NBA as college has at 10 fouls. Except do it at 6 or 7 in the NBA. Fouled teams gets shots AND possession, or if you want really radical, force the fouling team to go short handed for a 5 on 4.
Twenty five, on recovery - I need to do a better job at mine! More quality sleep and more muscle massages.
Twenty six - We didn't need ANY analytics or foresight to know that Joe Dumars fcuked another summer of moves.
2 worst NBA players in EPV (points added/subtracted based on decision making): Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings. Poor Pistons. #SSAC14— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) March 1, 2014
Twenty seven, Adam Silver & Malcom Gladwell - You should give Gladwell's books a read. They're quick to get through with clever prose. His ideas are really just common sense, presented in esoteric ways.
Thirty - Brackets and tournaments makes everything in life more appealing! This year would be exciting, especially if the League went bonkers and threw out the conferences before the playoffs. For this reason alone, Raptors 33-26 third in the East. Grizzlies 33-25 NINTH in the West. #killtheconferences.
Instead, what are your thoughts on 1 through 6 in each conference (we're still ridding ourselves of divisions) are in and 7 through 10 play a game on the home court of the higher seed to decide 7 and 8?! Made for TV.
Thirty nine, the next big stat is sleep - It worked for Chip Kelly's Eagles. Take better care of your body and watch it perform for you when those of others' is beginning to break down and fail. I REALLY have to sleep better!
Forty one, European play - It's always been common sense to have an entire division not just a team or two. But for a while I've pointed out that it's just not feasible for ANY league until some prehistoric Star Trek travel comes along. Once flight times abroad are chopped in half is when this becomes more practical.
Forty three, on the Kings new owner - Gladwell tells his story in his latest book David & Goliath.
A couple other random thoughts to consider. Forget the four point line. How about moving the three point line back? Or what about getting rid of it all together. That might run Rockets' GM Daryl Morey right out of the League.
My abolish the draft and put in place an impenetrable cap suggestions.
For the 100th time, decide on the age limit, or erase it and then if you're not 20 years old or whatever's decided, then Wiggins or Embiid CAN be drafted by the Sixers or Bucks, they are just mandated to one full year in the D League. Each team has an affiliate, a la minor league baseball, in a nearby town with fan friendly prices. Then the Green Bay Bucks feat. Wiggins vs. the Delaware 87ers (an actual team!) feat. Jabari parker is of course live on NBA.com for a nominal fee, and it's also broadcasted on NBATV, further adding equity to that product. There's little reason why the NBA should let its future stars incubate in the NCAA when it can be making money off of them showcasing them.