Sabermetrics

After weeks of letting that blu-ray disc lie untouched in one corner of my shelf, I decided we'd give it a go. The movie was Moneyball. Boy, I should have watched that as soon as I bought it.

It's not the greatest movie, but I love the sabermetrics! Sabermetrics is the analysis of team and individual statistics, and used as a tool to help in making decisions, anything from player movement to in-game adjustments. That allows a low budget team to bring in affordable players that performs, making the team still a contender (think Spurs), if not at least competitive (think Nuggets). And as I finished watching it, the Memphis Grizzlies come to mind.

The Grizzlies majority owner Robert Pera swore to use analytics when his group acquired that franchise. When he said that, my respect for the guy rose. One of the things I loved about another NBA owner, Mark Cuban, is his willingness to use player metrics in making basketball decisions (which led to using it against the Heat in the 2011 Finals). If Pera can do that, the Grizzlies may quickly become my second favorite team. "May".

So Pera hired famed sabermetrician John Hollinger (of then ESPN's Hollinger player efficiency rating) as an integral part of the team's analytics department. The latest collective bargaining agreement also has an effect on the need of many teams to use analytics. The new CBA greatly penalises teams that overspend. For a small market team, wisely spending that budget is everything. We watched as Pera let go of their leading scorer Rudy Gay, and basically replaced him with defensive Tayshaun Prince and some flexibility for the summer.

Of course the Grizzlies just got beat... swept by the Spurs. Who knows if they missed Rudy's scoring? Noone will ever know. And noone said a team will win a championship when sabermetrics is used; only that it allows a team to maximize the acquiring of talent given a set of boundaries (like money). Imagine the Knicks or the Lakers using analytics in tandem with their money. isn't that scary?

Of course, it is still basketball and no amount of numbers can replace heart and determination, something the Grizzlies seem to lack in the last few games. What about numbers complimenting the heart?

The Grizzlies just started. Their player movements this summer will be highly dictated by sabermetrics. If it works out, watch out for the Grizzlies.

Note that the last few champions in the NBA were characterized by the greatness of the teams and players. LeBron, Wade, Dirk, Kobe, Garnett, Pierce, Duncan. They have been great players even before they got their rings. Who knows, maybe sabermetrics was able to put their teams over the top? Or maybe just sheer greatness.

By the way, Pera means "money" from where I come from.

8 comments:

  1. So your pick tonight is Moneyball? I go with Hibbert, personally.

    Got real lucky last night with Pondexter. Not that it helped me closing the gap to you as you picked him, too.

    For tomorrow I decided to cancel Bayless. Don´t know yet who to pick, maybe I´ll leave this one out.

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    1. Yep got lucky with QP. Hope I had picked him to in 1-N-Done

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  2. His post is really confusing lol. He does know Grizzles were swept right? And that this post isn't for today haha.

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    1. Read again after the Heat game ;)

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    2. That post was me trying to be funny, yes :)

      And, just for the record, I got it that the West is over. But I had Bayless picked for a possible game 5 and he still showed on my picks on the DTTF site. Game 6 was also still scheduled. That´s why I commented on that.

      Didn´t want to confuse anybody.

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  3. Funny I'm playing NBA2K13 in my career mode and I got drafted by the Grizzlies. I had forgotten that they had both Rudy Gay and Marreese Speights. I think that really cost them a shot at the title. Once they faced SA's defense (really the only team save for maybe LAL with the ability to match their size) they couldn't find a way to score and with Z-Bo neutralized it was over before it started. They did lose two tough overtime games, so it could have easily gone 6 but that's really the point...add Gay and Speights and I think they could have won the series.

    I'm all for Moneyball, but there are two teams this year that preemtively made big roster changes and both IMO suffered for it.

    It's tough to say with the injury to Westbrook is OKC would have still underperformed, but had they kept Harden that team would have been incredible. Though you could argue maybe Harden doesn't emerge as a sub.

    But the point being both teams could have played out the season and playoffs with what they had and dealt with the luxury tax problem in the off season. Martin cost twice as much this season as Harden and Gay was the scorer Prince will never be.

    Curious to see if Moneyball will build a championship team. It's so hard to keep great rosters together in the new CBA both Memphis and OKC might have lost a crucial year that they'll never get back. I'm much more of a play for now than a save for later person myself.

    Deep thoughts :)

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    1. Contenders not doing Moneyball.
      Versus.
      Contenders doing Moneyball.
      Versus.
      Contenders signing big names then doing Moneyball on rest of roster.

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