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[ESPN] Rockets' fall this season no reason to bash Morey's analytics focus

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Deuce, May 2, 2016.

  1. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

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    Rockets' fall this season no reason to bash Morey's analytics focus

    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/po...te-analytics-movements-foothold-strong-in-nba

    In early April, news that Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey would be evaluated at season's end along with interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff opened the door for opponents of analytics to be critical of the situation in Houston.

    Morey has been vocal in his belief that analytics help teams make smarter basketball decisions. With the Rockets struggling to make the playoffs this season and putting up little fight against a Warriors team dealing with Stephen Curry's injury situation, it's to be expected that vultures would strike. The Charles Barkleys of the world can continue arguing that Morey’s lack of a championship during his tenure is proof that analytics do not work in basketball. But those sentiments aren't worth worrying about anymore. (Note: I know Daryl and he has always been very generous to me, so I do have personal concern for him and his family.)

    It is not that the vultures won’t be out -- they will be out in force. But using analytics in NBA front offices and on the benches is essentially a settled matter. Those who are not comfortable with analytics or who dislike Morey personally will say the same uninformed things, but the truth is that analytics, as part of how basketball operations work in the NBA, are here to stay.

    While Morey was an early adopter of analytics, he is no longer the only GM incorporating advanced data into decision-making. Far from it.

    Consider the following:

    Ten years ago, four or five teams had either one full-time or one part-time consultant. Today, all 30 NBA teams have at least one full-time staffer whose primary responsibility is analytics, and most teams have an analytics staff that consist of at least three full-timers.

    Ten years ago, most analysts were either part-time consultants or had titles such as basketball operations analyst; now, teams have VPs and directors of analytics who manage a staff.

    The San Antonio Spurs, who have been a leader in the NBA in using analytics, recently added to their robust analytics staff by hiring Kirk Goldsberry at the VP level.

    Of the five teams given the best chance to win the championship this year by ESPN's Basketball Power Index, all have made significant investments into analytics and utilize them in front office and coaching decisions.

    Salaries for analytic personnel are growing significantly. While teams previously demanded analytics specialists work for peanuts, recent hirings have demonstrated that salaries have increased significantly.

    Ten years ago, players were mostly discussed in terms of points, rebounds and assists per game; now, efficiency numbers are used commonly in NBA offices and by fans.

    The most glaring data point that illustrates the impact of analytics on the NBA is 3-point attempts. Three-point shots were identified early by analysts as an underutilized tool because they were far more efficient than midrange 2-point shots. Since the 1999-2000 season, 3-point attempts have increased by 55 percent. Even after subtracting all of the Warriors' attempts this season, the NBA set a single-season record for 3-point attempts in 2015-16.

    The anti-analytics crowd will argue that you can’t make basketball decisions by data alone. That is a false argument. No proponent of analytics -- Morey included -- would suggest that using only data is any way to build a team. Coaches, scouts, and general managers have a wealth of vital information and expertise that is not reflected in the data.

    At its core, good analytics provide another piece of information, and most hyper-competitive front office personnel and coaches have learned that having more information than your opponent can provide a competitive advantage.

    The state of analytics in the NBA is strong, with no small credit belonging to Morey himself.
     
  2. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!
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    No one is saying don't use analytics, but that is only a small factor in what works - it is a tool, a seasoned eyeball is more important than trailing indicators on a spread sheet.

    DD
     
  3. OTMax

    OTMax Member

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    Morey and Leslie's philosophy suggest they do actually that: use analytics and then go out and abandon that when getting players. They have definitely taken it a step further than most organisations with the relentless defending of bombing away from 3 and shying away from the midrange game. This has lead to defenses easily taking away our inside lay-ups and dunks game and our 3pt shooting since there's zero threat from in between. Beasley and Harden step back notwithstanding.
     
  4. mtbrays

    mtbrays Contributing Member
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    The idea that "analytics" is on the decline is Barkley-hot-take-level criticism. This is a game, for goodness sake, and people win games by exploiting inefficiencies in their competition. The Rockets' "threes and layups" formula exploited an inefficiency in the NBA for years until the Warriors blew past that weakness with the best shooter in NBA history.

    If anything, Morey is smart enough to know that the Warriors' dominance necessitates a new style of play, which data will hopefully bear out. He'll shape the roster accordingly. LeBron was the player other GMs used to construct against; now it's Steph and Draymond.

    "Analytics" is just a synonym for managing a team with information instead of your gut. Do any fans really want to go back to the era of guys like Larry Brown arbitrarily sitting rookies for a year to make them "earn it" instead of relying on numbers that give your team the best chance to win? Or Byron Scott, who thinks the three-point line is a gimmick, coaching the Lakers this season? Old school vs. new school is a pretty open fissure in the NBA and the new school teams are those that win.

    If nothing else, the Rockets' approach gave us a chance last year. How many teams burdened with huge veteran contracts, shortsighted ownership and a lack of system can say that? That said, it blew up in our faces this year and I think that Morey needs somebody alongside him that understands personalities and how they offset data. Numbers are only part of the argument.
     
  5. Newlin

    Newlin Member

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    I have no problem with analytics or Moreyball. Just find some players that fit the system.
     
  6. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    There's no conclusive proof to that comment either.

    Plus, seasoned eyeballs and analytics typically come to the same conclusions.
     
  7. Harden's beard

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    analytics is for real... it's just that Morey is not the best at it contrary to mass opinion...GSW and SAS both heavily use analytics in recruiting and managing players..
     
  8. D-Mo

    D-Mo Member

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    Morey was the one who brought it to the mainstream though. Maybe after we get Heinke back we will be better again. Morey has done his job by "moneyballing" this sport, and hell it's not like we have been any worse because of it. Winning seasons for 10 straight years is much better than the astros or texans can say.
     
  9. hakeemthagreat

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    This is 100% on Daryl Morey. You have a offense called Moreyball where you jack up 3's till your arm falls off, but you don't run any plays to get players opens 3's to shoot? You want a read & react motion offense but put the ball in one guy's hand the whole game? As bad as Lawson was the Rockets changed absolutely NOTHING about their offense from last year. The same offense. Daryl Morey is not a coach, nor does have the credentials to be one. We need another basketball head working along side Morey to insure we'll have chemistry and good coaching
     
  10. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    A computer can put the stuff in the pot.

    But to make it boil - you need to be a CHEF, which you get by feel

    IMO

    DD
     
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  11. HillBoy

    HillBoy Contributing Member

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    Hmmm, a pom-pom article for Morey. Interesting. The issue isn't that Morey uses analytics in evaluating talent - it's what he does with them that is the problem. When used in the proper context (like San Antonio), they can be an invaluable tool in identifying talent. But unlike San Antonio, the Rockets under Morey do not operate within a sound basketball framework. San Antonio knows what type of basketball wins championships and what style of basketball players they'll need in order to win them. Morey uses analytics to accumulate players to be used as bargaining chips in a never ending process of flipping through players as he attempts to seduce (or land) one of the league's superstar players to Houston. To me, this is basically a continuation of what Carroll Dawson was doing with not much success before him.

    Now this has been my complaint from the beginning: Morey's Rockets have no plan for putting together a team capable of challenging for a title, no idea what type of coach they need and no idea how to find they type of players they'll need. And yet, as we sift through the wreckage of (yet) another disappointing Rockets' season, once again we are counting on the guy most responsible for this mess to somehow come up with a plan for fixing it. Suffice to say, I am not optimistic that Morey will be able to pull it off.
     
  12. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    Exactly, the Rockets plan of acquiring 1-3 super-star level players and surrounding them with undervalued role-players on affordable/flexible contracts is a complete mess - can not ever work.
     
  13. OTMax

    OTMax Member

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    Interesting theory about Morey using analytics to get players for their value and flexibility as a chip to be traded rather than a player who fits with the team. I agree with your statement that Morey is clueless about what type of coach they need, how to win etc.
     
  14. Liberon

    Liberon Rookie

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    After taking off the homer goggles you notice basic pro plays that other teams and do that the Rockets just cannot. Simply a sorry ass team, that's all there is to it.
     
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  15. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    The org can never have enough seasoned eyeballs

    [​IMG]

    Problem is: even seasoned eyeballs can come with regrets.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. oogie boogie

    oogie boogie Member

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    tinman: Analytics! More like ytics from the Anal! Amirite? Har har har har
     
  17. cheke64

    cheke64 Member

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    I always believed that one day Plankton was going to run a better restaurant than Mr.Crabs.
     
  18. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    It's like the Run and Shoot
    it works
    Just not in every situation
    needs some modification
    and
    of course you need coaching

    Rocket River
     
  19. DaDakota

    DaDakota If you want to know, just ask!
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    JVG - Adelman - McHale - Bickerstaff

    Not trending in the right direction.

    DD
     
  20. jump shooter

    jump shooter Contributing Member

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    There has to be a difference in analytics between the Spurs and the Rockets because they obviously came up with different numbers when evaluating Marcus Morris and Khawi Leonard in the 2011 draft LOL. :grin::grin::grin:
     

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