Hawks Behind In Statistical Revolution


The advanced statistical community has come on like gangbusters in recent years. The adoption of metrics beyond the standard per game limits and the basic counting stats that accompany them are being replaced in NBA front offices, to some degree, by advanced metrics that any fan can have access to in places such as some of the sites linked on the left of our own site (which doesn't include the fantastic Hoopdata.com).

The reason so many teams are casting a non-threatened eye towards some of this data? Well, according to The Wall Street Journal (by way of Pro Basketball Talk) it's because, well, it's working.

Shockingly, having that information available is helping the stat-savvy teams win a whole bunch of basketball games. From David Biderman of the Wall Street Journal:

According to interviews with every team, The Wall Street Journal found that half the league's teams this season have at least one of these statisticians who helps make in-game, draft-day and trade-deadline decisions. Many of these teams are among the NBA's best. The list accounts for all six division leaders, including the Orlando Magic and Dallas Mavericks, who have a data analyst traveling with the team. These 15 teams that have invested heavily in statistics have combined to win 59.3% of their games this season. The 15 teams without such analysts have won 40.7% of their games, and only three--the Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz and Atlanta Hawks--are on pace to make the postseason.

 

As it states, the Hawks are one of half the teams in the league that don't invest in statistics in the way that all (6) division leaders do. What isn't discussed is the rate of improvement that can be attributed to this type of shift in paradigm. Would go a long way to understanding whether there is a direct relationship or is it merely spurious?

At any rate, as the field begins to migrate to this mind-set, and the majority of them are winners, does it make we as Hawks fans a little more nervous about our ability to maintain the level of success or go beyond if other teams are making (in theory) wiser decisions based on something the team knows less about than they do?

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