HoopsHype John Hollinger rumors


October 28, 2013 Updates

Hollinger joined the Grizzlies last December. A month later, the team raised eyebrows by trading away Gay, its leading scorer and most popular player. The criticism was loud in many NBA circles, but Memphis remained steady, entered the playoffs as a fifth-seed and upset the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder to reach the conference finals. Hollinger declined to specifically address Gay but said in general, “I think there’s a better understanding of what is a high-value player or a high-value shot versus just what looks good.” Gay told NBA.com last month: “Honestly, how I view it, a computer can’t tell talent. It just can’t. When it comes down to it, it’s all about winning, and however you get the win.” Washington Post

October 26, 2013 Updates

Similar to what foreign soccer leagues have been doing for several years, the NBA and STATS, the data firm that services every NBA team, will use the cameras to quantify and analyze every movement of every game throughout the entire season. Recording from the rafters, the six cameras will document everything, capturing speed, distance, player separation, sets, plays, passes — areas that have never before appeared in the standard box score. “It’s going to have a big impact,” said John Hollinger, vice president of basketball operations for the Memphis Grizzlies, “and the scary thing is, we don’t know how. It’s too early. I just hope I figure it out before everybody else does.” Washington Post

Every team will receive a base package of data and analysis, and some will pay for a deeper dive and more video integration. They’ll all figure out their own way to use the information, but teams will finally be able to “quantify what hasn’t been quantifiable,” said Brian Kopp, the senior vice president at STATS. For example, if a player is within 10 feet of 30 potential rebounds but only pulled down three, coaches will know he’s well behind league average, which is 15. “A lot of these statistics are very indicative of effort,” said Steve Hellmuth, the NBA’s executive vice president of operations and technology “and also indicative of whether players are doing what coaches are instructing them to do.” Washington Post

September 4, 2013 Updates
August 26, 2013 Updates
June 19, 2013 Updates
June 3, 2013 Updates

Hollins acknowledged that he confronted Hollinger after Hollinger walked onto the court and engaged forward Austin Daye during a practice, an incident first reported by Yahoo Sports. Hollins said the report was overblown. “John and I talked about it afterwards, and we laughed about it,” Hollins said. “I just reacted I didn’t know who it was. I didn’t care who it was. If it was President Obama, I probably would have reacted the same way. It wasn’t my motive to show management that I run things. It had nothing to with anything other than that I reacted to somebody jumping on the court.” Memphis Commercial Appeal

June 2, 2013 Updates

During the Grizzlies' playoff run, tensions turned to a confrontation when Hollins exploded during a practice session upon finding Hollinger had walked onto the practice court and engaged forward Austin Daye during a shooting drill, multiple sources told Yahoo! Sports. With the team watching – and with a motive to show his players that he was completely in charge on the floor, sources said – Hollins loudly questioned Hollinger about what he was doing, and why he believed it was appropriate for a management official to intrude on what's considered sacred territory for a coach and team, sources said. Yahoo! Sports

May 28, 2013 Updates
May 4, 2013 Updates
March 5, 2013 Updates

How does your approach to analytics as a team executive differ from your approach as a writer? John Hollinger: The biggest change is that I’m looking at everything through this more narrow lens of “how does this impact the Memphis Grizzlies?” That means I’m probably looking at certain players much more closely and all but ignoring some national stories that I’d be discussing nearly every day in my former gig (like one that rhymes with “Spakers,” for instance), and it means I’m paying a lot more attention to non-NBA stuff (college, Europe, etc.) because that’s the pipeline for incoming players. As a writer I had the luxury of waiting until those guys got to the league if I so chose. NBA.com

March 2, 2013 Updates

Hollinger said that he has had little opportunity to work with the players who are currently on the team, because he showed up in the middle of the season and was initially focused on player transactions. “It was a little hard to jump in and start making demands or whatever,” he said. “So I think our approach has probably been a little cautious. There hasn’t been a lot of opportunity to implement deep analytic concepts at this point.” New York Times

Hollinger described the technology as a potential game-changer in the analytics arms race. Still, such a crushing amount of data is useless without sophisticated analytic techniques, he said, which makes him wary of its immediate utility. “It’s such a revolution that it presents its own challenges,” he said. “The biggest issue is the tsunami of data that they are going to unleash. There’s a lot of great information in there, somewhere, but the ability to process it — that’s the challenge.” New York Times

February 17, 2013 Updates
February 12, 2013 Updates
February 7, 2013 Updates

So when the officials fail to call a moving screen on Atlanta, or a Grizzlies shooter has his toe on the 3-point line, or Zach Randolph makes a strong defensive stand when he could’ve easily checked out, it feels a little different. These plays inform larger truths about the team, just as they did from press row. But as time progresses, every success or failure will be an expression of how well he’s doing the job. “I’ve been pretty calm so far,” Hollinger said. “But inevitably as we get further into this, it will probably get harder.” For Hollinger, watching League Pass and video of NBA basketball used to be an exploration for ideas, themes and patterns. These days, he surveys that landscape through a single lens -- the future of the Memphis Grizzlies. “I’m looking at players a little differently,” Hollinger said. “Any time I’m seeing a player, I’m thinking about how he would fit on our team.” ESPN.com

February 2, 2013 Updates

There is work to be done, of course. The Grizzlies wouldn't have beaten many teams the way they played Friday. It will help when they learn one another's tendencies, or at least one another's names. But for one night, there was happiness. Thanks to the Prince who may find a home in the city of kings. Or, as assistant GM John Hollinger put it: "We're not idiots yet." Memphis Commercial Appeal

January 31, 2013 Updates

The Grizzlies issued a statement on the trade late Wednesday, and embarrassingly had "general manager Chris Wallace" throw out the obligatory organizational quotes on the deal. Only, Wallace had nothing to do with the trade. Nothing. He isn't making calls to teams. He isn't consulted by the new regime. He's waiting until they agree on the terms of his inevitable parting. So, Pera and new CEO Jason Levien take an unpopular trade and assign it to Wallace in the news release. Yahoo! Sports

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