I mentioned it the other day in the Grapevine, but this last weekend marked the third annual MIT Sloan Sport Analytics Conference, and I’ve been regretting more and more that I wasn’t able to attend. Luckily for me, more than a few of my blogleagues were able to make the trek, including some repping from the TrueHoop Network.
Among those that went was Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus, who had the following to offer in a post yesterday:
…the day’s highlight was the Basketball Analytics panel moderated by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and made up of a reluctant Morey, Cuban, Hollinger, Dean Oliver of the Denver Nuggets and Mike Zarren of the Boston Celtics. Because the teams who make extensive use of statistical analysis believe it to be a competitive advantage, none of the employees wanted to be especially forthcoming. Morey was particularly circumspect.
Fortunately, Cuban was there to liven things up. While he did not share the specifics of how the Mavericks use numbers, Cuban did offer additional insight into the Jason Kidd/Devin Harris deal in the midst of an impromptu debate on the trade. Cuban was willing to essentially admit that Harris has the brighter future while arguing that Kidd better fit Dallas’ timeline and implying the value of the trade lay in having Kidd for two years and then taking advantage of his expiring contract.
Cuban also sparred with Zarren over which of the teams had the better offer for Kevin Garnett and offered his usual critique of the NBA’s refereeing, arguing that three of the 13 people on the court had 80 percent of the impact. When Cuban, discussing teams’ reluctance to share any of their analytical work with competitors, said he definitely doesn’t give anything to his division rivals in Houston, Morey shot back, “Except referee ratings.”