May 14, 2012; Boston, MA USA; The Boston Celtics take on the Philadelphia 76ers in the first quarter of game two in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE
I'm not a huge stats guy, but not out of lack of respect for it. I'm just not that good at crunching numbers and I know my own limitations. What I do know, is that when used properly and when blended with traditional scouting and coaching, advanced statistics and analytics is absolutely the way of the future and in fact the present as well.
Now there's a new system called SportVU that sets up several cameras in an arena and tracks every single second of every game and categorizes it. Think Spy Gate on super-steroids (and legal). The Celtics are one of the early adopters of this program.
Think of a stat within the boundaries of a game. Seriously. Any stat. Doc Rivers tried. He asked the Celtics’ stat guy, Mike Zarren, what the Celtics’ offensive efficiency was when Rajon Rondo held the ball for more than five seconds on a possession. At the time, Zarren didn’t know. Now he knows. SportVU tracks every player movement, every pass, every shot, every touch -- everything. At this point, it tracks more information than teams know what to do with. Every executive interviewed for this article agreed they weren’t even using 10 percent of the information this system could provide. And they all agreed this is the future of advanced basketball analytics.
Ainge has always been a forward thinker about advanced stats and Zarren's whole job is to crunch numbers and use them to assist the coaching staff and the scouts as well as Danny himself. I don't understand half of this, but I'm pretty happy to know that someone in Boston does.
Paul Pierce averaged 4.5 assists this season, which is pretty good for a scoring wing. But that number doesn't tell the whole story. According to SportVU, Pierce's teammates shot a higher percentage after his passes than any other player in the NBA. This shows Pierce is passing at the right time -- he's giving his teammates mostly layups and open shots.