In the modern era of sports, data analytics has become a vital part of team operations. It is used to predict the outcomes of different play calls and scout opponents. It is also used to try and predict the outcome of each game. Front offices use it to expedite player development and better learn how they can be properly used on the team.
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A couple of days ago, the Sacramento Kings posted a job listing for a new basketball data scientist to help improve their team.
According to NBAStuffer.com, the Sacramento Kings, along with the New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder, currently have the second-largest analytics department in the NBA behind the Washington Wizards. As a team currently in an era of playoff desperation, this decision can do nothing but help Sacramento’s chances of turning their luck around.
This decision is a very progressive move for the Kings. The NBA is a constantly evolving league and if a team can’t stay near the front of the pack, they will surely get left behind. The league transitioned to teams relying on high-volume 3-point shooting over the last decade. With a great analytics department, a team will be able to find the next style of play ahead of their competition and allow their players and coaches to get a head start.
The Golden State Warriors have used a similar tactic over the last 13 years or so. They used analytics to discover how they can properly utilize the skill sets of each player on their team. Yes, they have had the luxury of retaining multiple future Hall of Famers for the last decade, but they had to discover the best way for those players to coexist and play at their full potential.
With the amount of manpower currently invested into the Kings’ analytics department, they will optimistically use the same mentality for their current roster.