Player health is the next great frontier for analytics.
Yes, it’s great to use numbers to determine how to better use players when they’re on the court. It’s even more important to get them on the court in the first place.
I suspect many teams around the league do things like this, but here’s an example of how the Milwaukee Bucks use technology to increase durability.
The team’s medical staff has partnered with an outside consultant to develop a software program that tracks individual biological data for each player — which muscles are strong, which are weak, and what those findings mean for related muscles and joints. They’ve used the information to craft individual offseason workout plans for every player on the roster — a first for the team, according to John Hammond and David Morway, the team’s GM and assistant GM, respectively.
The team also hopes to start using small wearable devices from the company Catapult that track player movement and biometric data during practices, Hammond says.
The futures of Hammond and Morway are uncertain after the recent sale of the team to finance executives Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, and the new owners have at least held initial discussions about possible replacements, per sources around the league. But the growing consensus is that the current front office will have another year to make this lottery pick and hope the nucleus it’s put in place begins to perform.
If Hammond and Morway have uncertain futures, so does coach Larry Drew.
On one hand, I would argue all three deserve a little more time to see their plans through. On the other hand, Edens and Lasry didn’t pick any of them. The new owners aren’t in any way obligated to continue the course previous ownership charted.
But it sounds as if Hammond and Morway are being proactive about using all the tools at their disposal – including analytics – to turn around the league-worst Bucks. That’s a point in their favor.
If they can develop lottery analytics to get Milwaukee the No. 1 pick tonight, then the owners should definitely keep them.