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[ClutchFans] Kevin McHale's View on Sports Analytics

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Clutch, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. DCkid

    DCkid Contributing Member

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    Sorry to bring this up, but this is news to me. I just assumed McHale was 100% into the analytics stuff. This has been constantly brought up as a major reason Adelman was let go, yet it seems like McHale barely has a passing interest in analytics himself.
     
  2. GBRocket

    GBRocket Contributing Member

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    Me too - that's why I was surprised when I heard he wasn't super into it at SSAC.

    PS do you live in DC?
     
  3. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    Daryl hired KMac to balance himself and make the team look and smell more human.
     
  4. quikkag

    quikkag Contributing Member

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    It's fascinating to read people's perceptions.

    I love watching interviews with McHale. His initial response tends to come from his emotional reaction to the question or proposition, and because the guy has a great sense of humor and possesses confidence, that response is most often cheerful/mirthful/fun. Then, as he's responding, he's also working it over in his mind and he comes to the foundation and the more serious facet(s) of the topic and the various implications of them, and his discussion becomes more frank and substantive. Then he finishes/summarizes by wrapping the different aspects together. In basketball, like most of life, there are multiple facets to nearly everything, and I like that our coach is cognizant of this.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member

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    By people who were talking out of their backside. They leaped to the conclusion that just because Morey is a stats-guy and Adelman isn't, their parting had to do with Morey pushing his stats onto the coach. There was never any basis for it.
     
  6. redhotrox

    redhotrox Contributing Member

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    The stuff about “old school vs. new school” disconnect between Morey and RA was mostly made up to make the Rockets not look as bad. McHale actually sounds more old-fashioned than Adelman probably was and Morey hired him knowing that.

     
  7. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
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    One more myth about the Adelman's departure.
     
  8. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

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    Feigen stated in the past that the Rockets weren't looking for a clone of Morey who happened to be a coach. They were looking for someone who complemented Morey's stats approach and would be free to use those stats if he wanted. If they wanted another stats geek that was Morey's twin but in a coaching position, they would've gone after Lawrence Frank without looking at anybody else.
     
  9. Old Man Rock

    Old Man Rock Contributing Member

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    Wow I see it exactly opposite. Mchale has always come across as a genuine type guy. With him it's 80/20 rule. 80% of what he means is conveyed in the first 20% of what he says. After that he is either trying to be political correct or repeating himself. That appears to be even more true when he is caught off guard by a question and clearly that was the case in his response to Clutch. By the end of the response to Clutch he appeared to be flustered as if he sensed his truth was probably not the best answer and he didn't know how to fix it and just wanted to get away from Clutch.

    Think about it if he really loved Morey's analytics wouldn't that be the first thing out of his mouth. "No! She's wrong! I see alot of use in these stats. They play a valuable role in helping us strategize our game plan. Of course they are not the end all but they are a valuable tool." That's the answer from someone who believes in Moreys stats.

    Instead he says, "It's better if we shoot more free throws! DOH! You don't get to this level without knowing that! DOH!" Clearly that is the answer of a man who doesn't value much of what Morey does. Listen to him again. His responses are almost insulting. Does he really think that's all Morey's stats tell you, to shoot more free throws and more in the paint shots. Even I believe Morey brings more value than that with his stats. The bottom line is coaching such a challenging job. Your brain is spinning on what you think is a better way to win and then you get all this added data that you know some how need to incorporate into the gameplan and I can see how a less than brilliant mind would struggle with it.

    As for why they hired him. Well let us just say he is a great interviewer. He impressed Les and is intelligent and had the right answers. "Absolutely I would love to incorporate Daryl's stats." Les was impressed, Morey thought he would be much more open to Moreyball than Adelman and the union was formed. Unfortunately when push comes to shove Mchale is the coach and Morey isn't telling him how to coach. Not yet anyway.
     
    #29 Old Man Rock, Mar 6, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  10. DCkid

    DCkid Contributing Member

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    I really don't see how they complement each other if McHale doesn't appear to be using the numbers at all. I would say they seem closer to polar opposites than complimentary. What exactly is the advantage of that?
     
  11. BleedRocketsRed

    BleedRocketsRed Contributing Member

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    It is a good point, really don't know. All we can do is speculate.

    I think he just wanted a basketball guy.

    Front office uses statistics to evaluate players and build the team, then watch the team play basketball.

    Also Morey seems to draft quite a lot of PFs and McHale has helped developed two of the best in KG and Love.
     
  12. BleedRocketsRed

    BleedRocketsRed Contributing Member

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    How many coaches in the league actually use advanced stats to make decisions?

    Better question, how many successful coaches?
     
  13. DCkid

    DCkid Contributing Member

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    Insulting might be a bit harsh, but his answers were definitely flippant enough that it's fairly obvious he sees little value in analytics. After what I've now heard and read, I think I'd have trouble imagining another coaching candidate less open to using them.
     
  14. DCkid

    DCkid Contributing Member

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    I think this is a good answer, but based on some of JVG's comments Morey obviously provides a lot of information about the current players/team to the coach. I'm not saying he would expect a coach to use them, but it seems like he would at least want a coach who would spend some time looking at them in depth.

    Just having a hard time believing that the chairperson of the Sports analytics conference is excited that his coach doesn't give a damn about sports analytics. Even less believable is that Morey would specifically target a coach who is not open to advanced statistics.

    But you could be right, maybe McHale's attitude, perceived ability to develop big men, etc. trumped everything else.
     
    #34 DCkid, Mar 6, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  15. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
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    Rick Carlisle? Analytics are only widely used in basketball circles for less than a decade. If you are asking long term success, it is still too early to tell.
     
  16. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

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    To really answer this, you'd have to know who is in charge of what in the organization. If you remember the press conference where McHale was introduced, he jokingly (?) said it was good that he wouldn't have as much input into personnel decisions after which everyone started laughing. Les jumped in quickly and said that he would have a lot of input and it won't be just Morey making decisions.

    If you ask me, Daryl's stats come more into play in the acquisition of players. And if you believe what McHale said at the press conference about it being good he wouldn't have as much input, he's the basketball mind. He just wants to do what he thinks he does best - coach. I think this is how their roles are complementary. Morey has also said that McHale knows he doesn't have time to scout college players, so I'm guessing again, that's where Morey comes in.

    Had they hired Lawrence Frank, you'd probably end up with 2 stats nerds in the corner of the room booting up R with the lights out.
     
  17. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

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    Even beyond this, there are several teams that employ quants and stats teams. How they are used, or if they are used by coaches, who knows, but I'm willing to bet more teams are using more stats or looking to.

    Side note : Rudy Tomjanovich's son wrote software for the Lakers and both of them pitched their stats services to Mike Brown when he became the Lakers coach.
     
  18. GATER

    GATER Contributing Member

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    Hypothetically, let's say it's not "either/or". But with shades of gray.

    And for ease of discussion, let's ignore meaningful analytics such as Players A's tendency to go left when guarded by a shorter defender...or Coach B's running a high PnR to the weakside in 90% of end-game situations...or Player C being over 32 and struggling on back to back road games if he goes over 30 total minutes in Game 2.

    Then you are left primarily with player evaluation. And a good bit of what I see from the Rockets is far over-weighted to analytics as opposed the visual and the imaginative.

    It's analytics that touts a player who is terrible in transition, has no post up or 1:1 offensive skills and makes a science of guessing which way an offensive player will move to the basket in transition. It's analytics that touted Battier as valuable while those watching saw a marked decrease an effectiveness every year as a Rockets. While the "stats" trailed off less sharply.

    We can paint the decisions as gray-area as we want. When the rubber hits the road, it's the $Balls that have their hands on the steering wheel.
     

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