#MITSloanExperts and #MITSMRChat: What’s Your Basketball IQ?

Join us for a follow up conversation to MIT Sloan Management Review’s Counterpoints podcast with Ben Shields and Ben Alamar

Ben Shields

Ben Shields

How do you define basketball intelligence? Is basketball IQ a byproduct of the coach’s system or is it specific to the players? And the biggest question:

Would NBA teams make fewer draft mistakes if they measured basketball IQ?

Join us on Twitter Thursday, December 6th at 12pm ET for a follow up conversation to MIT Sloan Management Review’s Counterpoints podcast featuring podcast host and MIT Sloan School of Management Senior Lecturer Ben Shields and podcast guest Ben Alamar. Ben Alamar is author of Sports Analytics: A Guide for Coaches, Managers, and Other Decision Makers and former director of sports analytics at ESPN.

Listen to the November 15th podcast episode where Ben Alamar will defend this hypothesis: NBA teams would make fewer draft mistakes if they measured basketball IQ.

Do you agree? Disagree? What questions do you have for them that they didn’t get to? Test your own basketball IQ during our conversation. We’ll be asking questions of the audience and want to hear from you. Jump on Twitter and follow along beginning at 12 pm on December 6th using #MITSloanExperts and #MITSMRchat.

About Counterpoints: Counterpoints is a new sports analytics podcast for sports professionals, data junkies, and fans alike. It’s a show for anyone who knows that numbers are about much more than the score. Hosts Ben Shields (MIT Sloan School of Management) and Paul Michelman (MIT Sloan Management Review) engage the world’s premier sports analytics experts in a lively, occasionally controversial, conversation about what’s really happening both on and off the field. Listen to a podcast preview here.

Mark Cuban and Nate Silver talk technology, analytics, sports and more

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver spoke last weekend at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, covering a wide range of topics. Watch a video excerpt from their conversation:

Read the full interview at FiveThirtyEight or more about the MIT Sloan’s 11th Annual Sports Analytics conference.

Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors, and the power of analytics at work — Ben Shields

MIT Sloan Lecturer Ben Shields

MIT Sloan Lecturer Ben Shields

From MIT Sloan Management Review

Whether or not their 2016 season ends with a second consecutive NBA championship, the Golden State Warriors are making Silicon Valley proud. They broke the record for regular season wins with 73. They are headlined by Stephen Curry, the dynamic and eminently likeable two-time MVP. They have established themselves among the league’s elite franchises.

Like the “unicorns” along Highway 101, the Warriors have done it all with a deep organizational commitment to data-driven decision making – both on the court and as a business. The three-pointers Steph and running mate Klay Thompson hoist seemingly without abandon are actually grounded in troves of evidence supporting the shot’s relative value. Meanwhile, the business side of the organization is leveraging fan data to more effectively drive ticket, sponsorship, and merchandise revenue.

The Warriors are not the only team pioneering the analytics revolution in sports. Organizations across an increasing number of sports and levels (professional, college, and high school) are capitalizing on data to gain a competitive edge. Indeed, few industries have implemented data-driven decision making as successfully as sports.

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MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference: Q&A with Co-Chair Daryl Morey

Daryl Morey, MIT Sloan MBA ‘00

As General Manager and Managing Director of Basketball Operations for the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey MBA ’00 has built a team that has gone a combined 227-167 (.576) over the last five seasons and has set a number of team records. In 2010, his innovative integration of statistical analytics into the evaluation of NBA talent, earned Morey selection to the SportsBusiness Journal Forty Under 40, which honors the most promising young executives in sports business under the age of 40. Prior to Houston, he served as SVP of Operations for the Boston Celtics.

Morey is also the co-chair of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, a sports forum he founded in 2007 with Jessica Gelman of the New England Patriots. The conference—dubbed the “Super Bowl of sports analytics” by one ESPN columnist—examines the application of data and statistics to improve team and league performance. The fifth annual conference wrapped up over the weekend with its biggest numbers yet: five stages, 39 panels, and close to 3,000 attendees.

The MIT Sloan Experts Blog caught up with Morey recently. An edited transcript follows. Read More »

It’s not so much the sport of baseball that captivates me; it’s the math

MIT Sloan Prof. Dimitris Bertsimas

I came to baseball later in life. As a kid growing up in Greece, I played soccer, which is very popular in Europe. I then got interested in American football, and basketball, and I also followed track and field. Even after living years in Boston – a rabid Red Sox town – I never gave baseball much of a thought.

Then, a while back, a friend gave me a copy of the book Money Ball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, because he knew I was interested in analytics. (You see, I have a passion for sports, but my greater passion is analytics.) The book, by Michael Lewis, is the story of how Billy Beane – a former player who later became general manager of the Oakland A’s – used an analytical, sabermetric approach to create a winning team. The A’s were the first team to heavily depend on quantitative methods, and at the time – we’re talking 2002 here – many considered Beane’s approach very radical, even foolish. But he made believers out of his skeptics. Even with the third smallest payroll in major league baseball, the A’s were able to use quantitative methods to gain an edge.

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