Mike Zarren Rumors
“We’ve got a lot of opportunities to do something significant this summer,” said Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren. “There’s going to be a lot of good free agents. We could move up in the draft. We’ve got assets of every kind that other teams like. It’s too early to really know what’s going to happen — the lottery hasn’t even happened yet — but we’ll be very, very active in all phases of front office work this summer.”
“There’s a lot of teams that are going to be active this summer, so that makes for a more liquid trade market for us,” said Zarren. Asked if said organizations will be more active than we usually see, Zarren nodded. “I think so,” he said. “I think there’s just a lot of teams in the middle in the NBA right now, and they all sort of feel like they need to do something. That will create more opportunities for us, because we’ve got as many assets as any other team, if not more.”
So, Zarren went back to the drawing board and sent NBA commissioner Adam Silver revised versions. Zarren presented the specifics of those proposals today at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conferences. Both plans follow the same idea: Teams rotate through groups of picks, randomly getting a pick within each group. One features teams rotating through six-pick groups over five years. The other features teams rotating through three-pick groups over 10 years. The-five year plan would mean more randomness but less of a commitment. The 10-year plan would mean less randomness – though enough to ensure elite prospects can’t guarantee their draft destination – but more of a commitment.
The Detroit Pistons plan to conduct a comprehensive search to replace Joe Dumars in the front office, a job that is coveted around the league. Several names are on the Pistons’ radar, a person familiar with details told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. The latest names to surface are: Cleveland Cavaliers acting general manager David Griffin, Boston Celtics assistant GM and team counsel Mike Zarren and NBA senior vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe.
But four years ago, the Celtics were the first team to have them installed for testing and development after Mike Zarren, the team’s assistant general manager and legal counsel, helped arrange a partnership with Stats that essentially made them guinea pigs. SportVU had its share of kinks, but it still represented the boldest step yet in the analytics movement that had swept through basketball in recent years. “Zarren, he came to me and he said, ‘These are all the things we can do,’ ” said Rivers, who now coaches the Los Angeles Clippers. “I said, ‘But I don’t know what any of that means. You’re telling me that Rondo moves 10 miles per hour? I don’t know what the [expletive] that does.’ ”
Rondo has savant-like math skills and a well-documented interest in advanced statistics. But he has his doubts about SportVU. “I don’t think it means anything,” Rondo said. “It doesn’t determine how hard you play. It can’t measure your heart. It can maybe measure your endurance. But when the game is on the line, all that goes out the window.” Rivers, on the other hand, considers himself a proponent. “There’s a really good use for it,” Rivers said. “There’s a use for us, each team, depending on how they play and how they defend. You can find out stuff.”
Michael Zarren, the Celtics assistant general manager and team counsel, whose alternative draft system is being considered by the NBA, has caught the attention of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Cuban, however, disagrees with one aspect of the proposal, which gives every team a predetermined spot atop the draft every 30 years. “I would tweak (the draft),” he said. “I know Mike Zarren came up with the wheel, and I didn’t like the idea because if you’re in the wrong spot in your life cycle and all of a sudden when you don’t need the draft pick you get the draft pick, and then when you need it you’re 30 years away, that’s tough. Yeah, you can plan for it, but the law of unintended consequences could mean that teams just don’t ever have a shot for a long time.”