Over the past few days, dozens of experts and personalities in the field of sports analytics spoke at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Some notable speakers include Daryl Morey, Scott Brooks, Brian Scalabrine, and Shane Battier. Here are the most memorable quotes I heard while I was there:
"Really the thing that makes this conference special is the buzz of the young people, the buzz of the new. It's the young people who are going to change the world and I really believe that." -Daryl Morey, Emperor of Analytics
"I believe it was extremely significant. Dare I say it changed the course of my career. In Houston, I learned ‘how the sausage is made.' It changed the way I played and looked at the game," -Shane Battier on the "Analytics in Action" panel.
"It's still not cool to be hip to the math. There's still a stigma to being one of the math guys in the locker room." -Shane Battier
"Analytics are like a bikini, they show you a lot, but they don't show you everything," -Bob Myers, GM of the Golden State Warriors on the "Future of the Front Office" panel.
"Rest isn't minutes played or shorter practices. Rest is sleep. It's not rest if your players are out until 4 AM at clubs. Stop playing video games until 2 and smoking, go to sleep!" -Jeff Van Gundy, Former NBA Coach on the "Analytics in Action" panel.
Bill James on how to fix baseball: Get rid of the balk rule. Equivalent of no fast breaks in the NBA. #SSAC16— Matt Dollinger (@matt_dollinger) March 11, 2016
"Free throw defense. Maybe the most worthless stat in the history of sports. It's how well a team shoots free throws." -Shane Battier.
"I see some teams getting criticized for winning and other teams praised for losing. Some of it is how the media is manipulated. I don't give a shit about where Joel Embiid is rehabbing, I want him to play." -Jeff Van Gundy.
"They thought if Scott Padgett was on the roster, I wouldn't play Novak. They cut Padgett and I still didn't play Novak. We tried to go small with Novak one game at Utah and he got bent over by Carlos Boozer. We saw a lot more of Chuck Hayes from there." -Jeff Van Gundy on fights with Daryl Morey.
"We need a lot more randomness in the NBA so people can compete and not know before the start they have no chance. There are very few teams who can win the championship in a given year." -Daryl Morey.
"Don't use age as an excuse. You got drafted, you're an nba player on an nba team" Scott Brooks on managing young nba talent #SSAC16— Sloan Sports Conf. (@SloanSportsConf) March 12, 2016
"When I was on the Rockets, Hakeem would tell me, ‘Play simple.' And I would tell him ‘I am, all I do is give you the ball!' He said, ‘Yes, and when I get the ball, I either score, get fouled, or you get an open three.' That is analytics and they have been around forever." -Scott Brooks sharing an anecdote about playing with Hakeem Olajuwon.
"Last year, we had what I call relative success. And I think starting with myself, we didn't even handle that relative success well," -Daryl Morey on "Future of the Front Office" panel.
"[Brian Scalabrine] is the self-described 'MIT of the NBA.'" -Daryl Morey
#SSAC16 "Thibs knows pick and roll, Mike [Zarren] knows everything, and I know nothing" - Scal— Connor Williamson (@conconwillia) March 12, 2016
Brian Scalabrine says MIke Zarren had Draymond Green ranked 3 on his big board in 2012. C's took Sullinger, Fab Melo at 21, 22. #ssac16— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) March 12, 2016
"We're just bad on defense. Defense takes the right players, system, and commitment. We haven't been happy with all three of those things. With the NBA playing faster, there is a bigger emphasis on transition defense and we haven't been up to par there...We've taken a huge tumble after being a top 10 defense last year." -Daryl Morey.