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Re: Sonics

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  • Dean Oliver
    ... Given that I am working with the coaching staff, I do know a bit about what we re doing (not as much as if I were in Seattle all the time). I just don t
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 12, 2004
      --- In APBR_analysis@yahoogroups.com, "John Hollinger"
      <alleyoop2@y...> wrote:
      > So the Sonics suddenly are invincible, this group is laden with
      > Sonics fans, and yet ... tumbleweeds.
      > Come on, folks. Since you guys watch these guys every day, I want to
      > hear some theories as to how a team everyone thought would be 33-49
      > is suddenly 17-3 with two wins over the Spurs.
      > Anyone?

      Given that I am working with the coaching staff, I do know a bit about
      what we're doing (not as much as if I were in Seattle all the time).
      I just don't want to say much. Definitely some of what we're doing
      comes from 82games and Basketball on Paper. The coaches and
      management see things from the BoP perspective on a regular basis
      because I send them that stuff all the time. The team has talked a
      lot in the press about the concept of everyone doing their role, which
      is played up in Chp 20 of the book. One of my favorite stats (that
      some people hated) was my game-by-game win-loss record because it
      shows ability to do role. It's very useful on this kind of team --
      the kind of team that wins _as a team_, not with a superstar. Most of
      our guys are doing their roles and we've crafted the roles so that we
      can win. I've done a few reports also to provide insight on what it
      takes to improve our defense and to make individual players more
      likely to succeed in their careers and with us. Those have gone well
      (almost as predicted!).

      Obviously, none of this would be doing anything if the coaching staff
      weren't willing to listen and, further, knew how to communicate with
      the players. Nate, Dwane, Bob, Dean, and Jack have been much more
      receptive than I thought, using my stuff from Day 1 of training camp.
      And they've been more savvy than I expected. Having talked
      philosophy with these guys for hours, I have seen how smart they are.
      They know basketball. They are not as "hard headed" as fans often
      like to label them. At least not our coaches. They know some of the
      stats if not as stats but as the philosophy/strategy that comes out of
      the stats. When they're surprised at a result I suggest, I can
      explain it and they grasp it quickly.

      Even more obviously, it's early. We're 17-4 and a LOOOONNNNGG way
      from being done with the season. We have a lot of improvements to
      make already. In the long run, communication can break down and
      bodies can break down. I've got a couple projects to do to try to
      ensure that we don't fall far.

      It's fun. We'll have rough spots. We are a group of human beings who
      can't be programmed despite what numbers sometimes suggest. That's
      part of what makes it so much fun.


      Dean Oliver
      Consultant to the Seattle Supersonics
      Author, Basketball on Paper
      "Excellent writing. There are a lot of math guys who just rush from
      the numbers to the conclusion. . .they'll tell you that Shaq is a real
      good player but his team would win a couple more games a year if he
      could hit a free throw. Dean is more than that; he's really
      struggling to understand the actual problem, rather than the
      statistical after-image of it. I learn a lot by reading him." Bill
      James, author Baseball Abstract
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