The NBA is set to announce that they will be installing STATS LLC SportVU cameras in all 29 arenas this season. The Celtics and half the other teams had them already, but now the league is making the technology available to all the teams (and of course this will provide each team with a more complete data set). What's the big deal? Read here:
Subscribing teams have used the data to get at some of basketball's deepest questions — how many players should crash the offensive glass; where missed shots actually fall after hitting the rim; the best strategies for defending various players in the pick-and-roll; how each player should approach transition defense in specific situations; and many, many others. The possibilities, big and small, are basically endless. Reports released by STATS include information on how fast players run, how often they dribble, how far they run during games, which players touch the ball at the elbow most often, and which players drive from the perimeter to the basket most often.
You know who's going to love all this data? Well, Brad Stevens for one. But chances are, he'll be leaning on his stats guy Drew Cannon, to figure out the best ways to utilize this powerful tool for the Celtics.
At Butler, Cannon fit right into a program that, under Stevens, leaned on advanced statistical metrics, using data to help find any and every edge. His in-depth research — on lineups, substitution patterns, and more — made him an invaluable resource (a "secret weapon," stated the headline of a Sports Illustrated article in March that first shed light about Cannon). "What Drew has a great ability to do is not only to analyze but communicate it," Stevens said. "He can break things down into the simplest terms. He’s got a sense for the basketball side of things and he’s a good communicator to me with it."
Cannon isn't the only stats guy in the Celtics front office, he's just the newest one and the one with the longest background with Stevens.
We might be bored at this moment in the offseason, but I'd be willing to bet that Cannon, Stevens, and the rest of the Celtics staff is hard at work using things like this to look for any edge they can get in the upcoming season. I may not understand all this stats stuff, but I'm pretty proud of my team for knowing it and using it well.