A new trend is emerging in the game of basketball, that or I am just late noticing it. Box scores are no longer the end all-be-all for assessing performance. Enter the new era of advanced statistics or basketball metrics that are becoming increasingly popular with coaching staff’s across the country. During games shown on TV you will start to notice analysts utilizing shot-charts that resemble heat sensors on a basketball court.
Let’s be honest though, there is a reason why the majority of us are looking to coach basketball instead of advising portfolio diversification. None of this ignores the fact that Moneyball is beginning to make its presence felt in basketball and that it may be incumbent of us, as young coach coaches to be able to understand the value of advanced statistics. From personal opinion I am not a fan of changing my philosophy/style of play as a coach based on the numbers I find on other opponents. I still stand as a firm believer of focusing on doing what we do well and forcing the opponent to make adjustments (this mindset tends to change based on every loss). That being said, I look at the new wave of advanced statistics as an opportunity to identify ways to improve as a team (i.e. pace of play, possession efficiency, or offensive rebounding effectiveness) and through individual development (i.e. shot charts, defensive positioning, habits on offense).
I had an opportunity to read an article that was written by Xan Tanner, a former student-assistant at Yale University who described his experience with advanced statistics in the men’s basketball program and how it has influenced his perception of basketball strategy. I recommend taking a look at this not for the adoption of his grand strategy, rather than to show an example how experiences as a young assistant can shape your decision-making in the future as a coach.
I asked a friend and coach of mine his thoughts on advanced statistics, he told me “I like to score a higher number than the other team.” He is also the same person that told me one of the biggest things an aspiring coach can learn to do is “have foresight.” If advanced statistics is conducive to scoring a higher number than the other team, then I hope I have the foresight to take advantage of it.