The NBA is headed for an analytic movement. General managers and coaches are starting build their teams using advanced stats, and you are now starting to see coaches sculpt lineups and practice certain things because of what the stats say. The Grizzlies hired John Hollinger of ESPN to help run their team, and he is known as one of the front runners with advanced stats.
Not everyone is on the analytics train, though. There are still coaches and front offices who are more concerned with talent-piling and systems (just look at the Pistons). According to The Sporting News, advanced stats have angered some coaches:
One veteran head coach, who asked for anonymity, said of this year’s coaches meetings: “There were guys who were just plain p***** off about it. Because what is happening is, I have to know what makes a guy tick, I have to know when one of my players can’t stand the other guy, I have to know when I can get on his a**.
“There are no numbers that are going to tell us that. When someone comes in and tells you that you ought to be listening to the numbers and letting that tell you how to coach, no one is going to be happy about that. But you have to be afraid they will just go and get somebody cheaper and tell him to follow the numbers.”
The NBA is clearly on board with this movement. They have now installed SportVU cameras in all 30 arenas, and they clearly want everyone to delve into these resources –from the fans to the front offices. The key in handling the stats is balance. Though it could be smart to tell a player that he shoots a higher percentage on catch and shoot situations than he does off the dribble. then you can benefit from running things like that. There is some merit in just throwing out your best guys and playing the sport as well.
Organizations that use analytics are pretty vocal about it, and the old school guys share their opinion as well. It will take some time for teams to fully come around, and clearly there are detractors.