Analytics Movement

NBA analytics movement, a.k.a NBA Moneyball is a data-driven approach that uses statistical analysis of big data. Analytics has been relied on heavily for; evaluation and development of players, contract negotiations, in-game decision making, selecting draft picks, trades, infusing practices and player health management. The old school method, measuring talent by watching, a.k.a. the “eye-test” didn’t die. But now it has an unlikely ally despite the fact that a few people like Charles Barkley still think analytics is crap.

History of Moneyball
Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane built successful baseball teams year after year, rather than relying on the gut instincts of old-time scouts, as was standard practice for decades. Writer Micheal Lewis realized another investment game was being played out in baseball, notably by the A's. He gained inside access to A's general manager Billy Beane and got a look at how Beane's value players differently than other teams. Oakland A’s was a low-budget MLB franchise, they attempted to employ an analytics-savvy approach to maintain a high level of success despite limited financial conditions. In 2003, Lewis wrote a book called Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. Oakland evaluated offensive efficiency differently than others, stressing on-base percentage and power, de-emphasizing stolen bases and putting the ball in play. It has engendered an approach to acquiring talent based as much on statistical achievement as on traditional tools, an approach that has gripped some franchises and galled many traditionalists. For the time being, the NBA has embraced analytics, as every team now employ analytics staff who directly work with or reports to technical staff as well as front office executives to maximize player performance and identify new player potentials off of crunching numbers.

The Three-Point Revolution
We can say easily suggest that the three-point shots have altered the NBA fundamentally. It is being considered as a revolutionary, desirable strategy for any team in the last 10 years. Since the introduction in 1979, the efficiency of three-point shots was massively ignored. But, today each team has embraced that the average of three-points taken has risen to 27 in 2017.

NBA Three Point Shot Attempts by Years

Thanks to playing “Moreyball“, the Rockets leads the league in 3PT attempts per game at 42.6, which makes more than a half of their total points scored.

The value of three-point shooting is so high that more players have started to shoot threes. For example, Mehmet Okur, a center who was good at shooting threes, attempted roughly four 3P shots per game in the 2000’s. At his time, this was a huge thing. Now, there is a dozen of bigs who like to shot three.

How NBA Analytics Evolved

We have put together some of the articles covering the key milestones reached, chronologically:

February 13, 2009. “The no-stats all-star” written by Micheal Lewis.
March 24, 2009. “Don’t deny NBA stats geeks the truth” written by Bill Simmons.
May 19, 2012. “Player tracking transforming NBA analytics” written by Zach McCann
February 23, 2015. “Strength of each franchise’s analytics staff” written by Kevin Pelton
June 25, 2015. “The rise of data analysis Is changing the NBA” written by Terrance Ross
October 18, 2017. “Data analytics have made the NBA unrecognizable” written by Dan Kopf