Monday, March 3, 2014

Celtics Morning Joe: Is Brad Stevens just about the numbers?



For some people math is an art, they can see a graph of numbers, and that graph tells them a story of intrigue and passion. When I see numbers, I see nothing to that effect. I love looking at stats, but I honestly sometimes hate stats. I'm not into analytics with NBA basketball. This isn't baseball, and it's not college basketball. Is there a place for analytics in NBA basketball?

Many believe there is a place for it, and some believe Brad Stevens could be one of the pioneers carving out the map for future coaches to come. I think it's a useful tool without a doubt, and I think with the right balance of stats, along with an eye for talent, and just being a student of the game is a deadly trio.

Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe wrote an article about Stevens at the Hynes Convention Center. Speaking on asymposium on basketball analytics.


Stevens then explained that while the numbers aspect fascinated him, his favorite part of the book (Moneyball) focused on a player (Lenny Dykstra) whose biggest strength (toughness) couldn’t be tallied on the stat sheet.

“That may speak to some of the things you can measure,” Stevens said, “but there’s not much you can measure there other than, this guy has got some mental fortitude to get a hit when it matters.”

Stevens’s answer runs counter to the folklore that he’s a math whiz who used analytics to become the winningest coach in NCAA history through his first six seasons.

It was a timely fairy tale as the statistics revolution has swept through the game and observers have tried to rationalize how a 30-something coach could lead a small Indiana private school to NCAA title games in 2010 and 2011.

Stevens has helped fuel this myth by once saying that he’d create a statistics division at Butler if money were no object, and by making the first full-time, statistical-based hire in the college ranks when he brought aboard Drew Cannon, a numbers guru who had been writing advanced analytics articles.


Stevens tenure in Boston so far has been about learning the NBA games. Stevens believes in numbers, and about the basics of being a coach. Danny Ainge brought Stevens in knowing what kind of coach Stevens was. Brad had more control at Butler, with picking his players. Danny has the power there, but Ainge could be giving Stevens more power in that category soon.

The bottom line from Baxter's article is that Stevens is a numbers guy, but Brad also has another side that's more than numbers. Stevens understands that stat sheets don't show hustle, a want to win, and a desire to be a good teammate. Stats don't have emotions, or feelings, and that's something to keep in mind when your building a championship team.

1 comment:

  1. Stats are ok - I just don't like the way they are worshipped

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