HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Soon, we’ll be able to add the Philadelphia 76ers to the long list of NBA teams that use analytics to help them make decisions.
New Sixers general manager Tony DiLeo said Monday that the team will be looking to bring in a numbers guy to supplement a revamped scouting department, as John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports…
While he will continue to work alongside Thorn, who will assume a consultant role with the team at the end of the 2012-13 season, DiLeo has already begun to implement changes designed to make the Sixers, who open training camp next week, stronger.
DiLeo said he will begin immediately bolstering the scouting department, emphasizing that the team will have a stronger reach in Europe and abroad. He will also head up the team’s search for an executive with an “analytical” approach to building rosters and evaluating player value. It was reported by some that the Sixers might go this route in hiring for DiLeo’s position.
“I’m a big believer in that so we’re going to try to bring someone in who is an expert in statistics and analytics just to give us a competitive edge over these other organizations that don’t do it or are not at that level,” DiLeo said. “We feel that if we can supplement our basketball minds with the analytical part of it, that will give us more of an advantage and it will give me more information so that I can make better decisions.”
The irony here is that, before DiLeo was promoted, one of the candidates for the Sixers’ GM job was Mike Zarren, assistant GM of the Celtics and one of the leading analytical minds in the league. Zarren pulled himself out of contention for the job a few weeks ago.
At this point, you’re clearly behind the curve in this league if you don’t use analytics. It’s great the the Sixers are moving forward, and also great that they’re beefing up their scouting staff, because you can’t make decisions based solely on numbers. Still, depending on whom they hire, it might take them a while to catch up to some other teams in regard to using analytics to their advantage.