Rick Adelman is advanced stats friendly — he was the coach in Houston with Daryl Morey as the GM for four seasons, if he was adverse to them he wouldn’t have lasted that long.
Now with the new Sports VU cameras providing even more data than Morey could pour at him, how is Adelman handling it in Minnesota? In small bites.
Speaking before his team took on the Lakers Sunday night, he talked about the biggest challenge for a lot of coaches dealing with this — how to get the information from stats across to the players in a meaningful way.
“Maybe I’m just old fashioned or whatever, but when they give us stats and everything like that I kind of know what’s coming,” Adelman said. “I’ve seen it, I’ve observed it, I may not know all the reasons, and they give you very good input, but I think it’s knowing what you run offensively, knowing what your tendencies are, those things all help…
“I think in the playoffs it gives you a bigger factor, because we play so many games in a week you know can have stats one game after another. So you pick and choose what you show players, you pick and choose how to reach them, and I think changes from week to week.”
The wealth of information is only as good as teams’ ability to break it down and convey it to a player in a way they can make use of it.
Teams have resorted to what is taught in “Creative Writing 101” — show it don’t say it. You can hand Shane Battier a page of stats and he can make sense of it and use it on the court, but for visual learners (which most people are) teams are working to splice video together to show what the stats are saying.
Adelman in the end said what most coaches and scouts say about the stats — they’re a nice tool, but just another tool.
“There’s so much out there now, we had a ton of it in Houston when we were there, I think all that stuff is a tool that you can use to be better to help your players be better, but that’s what it is,” Adelman said. “You still have to play the game out on the court.”