Larry, you keep using that word. I do not think that word means what you think it means.
Larry Brown was on the Angelo Cataldi show this morning – why don’t we just go our separate ways Larry, really – talking analytics and his toddler-level understanding of the concept. Let’s take this piece by piece:
“I know everybody has a plan. Angelo, I’m not into this analytics stuff. I think the pendulum is turning.”
Oh Larry, it’s not. Not at all.
“My high school coach taught me about analytics — you take a good shot, you try to get a rebound, you try to take care of the ball, you don’t throw the ball away, you don’t foul as much as other people. I looked at that all the time. I was doing analytics when I was a baby, but you can’t cut anybody inside.”
No Larry, that is not “analytics,” that’s the kind of common-sense stuff that analytics supports. Analytics also lets you know – in conjunction with the eye test – who is actually a good shooter and who isn’t, who fits on the court together and who doesn’t, and which lineups work best in certain situations. Brett Brown might not be the best at using that last one, but those are the types of things, on a team level, that can help you.
Larry continued to make less and less sense.
“If you did analytics on Allen [Iverson] — he went 13 for 40 in games and won the game for us. Now, an analytics guy would think you had a terrible game. To me, we had every offensive rebound, three or four guys had to guard him. And you couldn’t value George Lynch or Eric Snow, Tyrone Hill or Theo Ratliff — if you have to put those guys on analytics they wouldn’t even be in the league. But they had a huge heart and a huge effect on our game, and they played the way we needed them to play with Allen. For baseball, maybe football, that’s good. But everybody thinks I’m too old and don’t understand, so I’m just gonna do what I do.”
Okay Larry, so here’s the thing: Saying,”put those guys on analytics” is the equivalent of your grandmother telling you to put her childhood pictures on the email. Like, she vaguely gets the concept, but is genuinely clueless about what it is. And it seems like everyone but you and Billy King knows that Iverson dragged a bunch of nobodies to that NBA Finals. I know you love Eric Snow and Tyrone Hill and George Lynch, but maybe their “huge heart” wasn’t as much of a factor as you think. If someone was there to take some of those 40 shots, thus giving AI better quality shots, that would’ve helped much more.
Iverson putting up a 13 for 40 game wouldn’t necessarily tell you AI had a bad game. What it could tell you, using facts and data, is that the team you built around him isn’t cutting it. And by using analytics to pinpoint those deficiencies and find other, more valuable players to fill those roles, maybe you could have brought an actual championship to Philadelphia, instead of riding on the glory that you almost did once.
Larry, who sounds a lot like Ruben Amaro citing scouts using a box score as evidence that he believed in analytics, is right about one thing, though: he’s too old.