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Dean Oliver
Dean Oliver
Position: -
Born: 11/05/78
Height: 5-11 / 1.80
Weight:175 lbs. / 79.4 kg.
Earnings: $451,552 ($749,595*)
Sure, you may be thinking, but we all know what really killed the post-up, the stake through its old-school heart. NBA teams finally did the math: 3 > 2. Hoops analytics may have begun on the fringe, espoused by Caltech grads like Dean Oliver and tracked in spare bedrooms by hobbyists like Roland Beech, but by the mid-2010s, the revolution was complete. Three-pointers and free throws were the new Holy Grail. Midrange shots and post moves were anathema. By ’15, Grantland’s Zach Lowe was asking whether, in its zeal to make the game more exciting, “the league inadvertently killed the back-to-the-basket game.”
Much of what Brown will do to lift Monumental Basketball’s teams is still in the works, he says. The Wizards, for instance, have made strides with analytics including with the hiring of assistant coach Dean Oliver. But more can be done both for them and the other franchises. Brown said there are plans to build out a more robust analytics operation for the defending-champion Mystics. “Having data be part of the information that we consider when we are making these really important decisions and complex decisions, is I think a wise practice and something we fully embrace from Ted Leonsis and his partnership group all the way on down,” Brown said.
“Coach Brooks and I worked closely to pinpoint what areas we needed to improve and identify the best candidates, both internally and externally, to make the appropriate changes,” said Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard. “We’re very confident that we have a strong staff in place that is in line with the vision we have for our rebuilding our culture and focusing on the overall development of our players.”
As sports continue to embrace AI, though, will machines soon reign supreme? After all, the best chess and go players in the world are now computers. Would a future NBA game be reduced to a competition of algorithms? Unlikely, said Dean Oliver, vice president of data science at TruMedia, and considered one of the pioneers of basketball analytics. When it comes to strategy and tactics, you can’t solve basketball the way you can solve a game like go. Even complex board games follow rigid rules, while basketball is fluid, with teams constantly adjusting and readjusting to each other. “There is no dominant strategy,” he said. “The game is far more robust.”
But as the team learned to use the data, its winning percentages started to climb. They won 57 percent of their games in 2013, and 62 percent the following season. In 2015, the Warriors won 82 percent of their regular season games (compared with an eyebrow-raising 89 percent in the season just ended), before going on to stun competitors, fans and the league during the playoffs. “They took a strategic gamble that took a while to matriculate, and it is paying off,” says Dean Oliver, who literally wrote the book on basketball analytics. (His book is titled “Basketball on Paper: Rules and Tools for Performance Analysis.”)
7 years ago via CNET