About Me • Twitter: @CarverJohnny • Experience: • Manager of Basketball Analytics -- Arkansas Mens’ Basketball • Basketball Operations Intern -- Indiana Pacers • Basketball Analytics Consultant – multiple NBA organizations • Basketball Player Development Intern – IMPACT Basketball in Las Vegas • Author of Ranketology: A New Way of Determining Basketball’s Greatest Player • Graduated from University of Arkansas’ Walton College of Business • Minor in Business Analytics • Incoming Law Student at the University of Miami (JD/L.L.M. Sports Law)
What this Aims to Accomplish • Explain how to speak the sports language • And relay important findings to those w/o an analytical background • Suggestions to defeating the stigma of analytics • Comes from a breakdown in communication • This disconnect is largely generational • I think the onus is largely on the analytics community • Communication skills are essential to mending the disconnect • If no one is listening to you, what you do won’t matter.
Be Humble • Many coaches and scouts in your sport have more experience • Sports Analytics are relatively new • Modern sports analytics are less than two decades old and are still evolving • Ex. Defensive metrics in basketball • Sometimes, numbers can’t measure everything • “Numbers can’t measure a player’s heart” • Numbers can give you the WHAT, but not always the WHY • Coaches are the best resource for the WHY. • Irregularities in statistics for a given matchup can be explained by the strategy of the game • Bottom Line: you are there to help them
How to Approach? • Let them know that you don’t have all the answers, nor do you think you do • One of the biggest hesitations from sports personnel outside of the analytics community is the fear of being replaced • You are there to help. Let them know that. • Ask them what they’re interested in learning about, and follow up with it • Take Notes • Ask more questions than you give theories or solutions • Ease into giving suggestions on strategy
Gain Experience • You don’t have to have played the sport that you work in, but it certainly helps • Become a collegiate team manager • If not possible, be around the sport • Pick the brain of sports/basketball minds • Watch film
Explain Your Findings • If you can’t explain something to a Kindergartener, you don’t understand it yourself • Don’t be so wordy • Not everyone understands analytical processes, nor do they care • Simplify your findings • Give more detail when asked • Make handouts simple • Players can only handle so much • Give the most important information and let them take it from there
I Don’t Know • “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer • Not every question or problem has an answer • Make sure everyone understands that • It’s better to state that you don’t know than to make suggestions based on insignificant evidence
Review • Be Humble • Numbers can give you the WHAT, but not always the WHY. Coaches are the best resource for the WHY • How You Approach Them • Let them know that you don’t have all the answers and that they’re essential to the process • Gain Experience in Your Sport • Get involved with a team • Watch Film • Find a Mentor • Learn How To Explain Things Simply • If you can’t explain something to a Kindergartener, you don’t understand it yourself • “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer