MIT Sloan Sports: Van Gundy Makes the Rest of Them Look Like Frozen Ice

Basketball Analytics Seminar:   I sat through MIT Sloan Sports tweets for seven hours, pretty much straight through. In a warehouse. Down by the boathouse. With Wi-Fi.  A tiny antenna off my Compaq.

Here in the State of Maine the first of March is supposed to be a finish line of sorts: the short days are getting longer now, the sun runs up and over Portland’s Eastern Prom by six in the morning, and you expect that bracing cold is done. But it never is. Even though we’ve had one of the kindest winters I can recall.  The squirrels out at the nursing home are fat. And the ground was bare-brown ’til last night.  A hundred and twenty years ago, the bay was frozen tight, all the way out to Peaks Island, you can see a trail of horse-drawn wagons, two black dotted-line on the daguerreotype white, in the photos at the Historical Society. That’s salt water, frozen for a mile. You figure that out; I can’t. It hasn’t since. That’s cold. And that’s tough people. The Times had an article this morning about people insisting that they have to have Google searches which complete — Google says – within 1/250 th of a second. Figure that out.

Whatever you figure out, we we got a foot. Of snow. This morning. Parking ban snow. I walked at six down through Deering Oaks, seven degrees in an odd east/northeast wind, down past where the Indians slaughtered whites , some of them my own blood, I’m told, 350 years ago. And where Lindy spoke on some soapbox to 25,000 people in ’27, once he’d got taxied here in a twelve-cylinder Packard – when October fog kept him from the Portland airfield – and had to land his plane on the beach down at Old Orchard.

All that’s gone now. My girls played field hockey, these last several decades, on a rutted landfill-field built on tidal marsh there. And my Jeep was still there in the lot this morning.

Yes, back to Sloan Sports. Gundy’s gonna get an invite to replace Pat Sajak. Or Jimmy Fallon. They loved him. Everyone else was a stiff. (Except Burke.)  You’ll hear some of it from another source. But here’s my quick thought. He reminded me of some guy out of the Bonnie & Clyde movie, I think there was a mechanic, with a broader, and flatter face than Van Gundy, but he carries that on-your-toes guilelessness.

But he also could’ve sat at that formica counter in the movie Diner. It’s hard to pick out who he would be. Not Paul Reiser. Not Kevin Bacon.  He actually looks exactly like that tall guy, now that I think of it, it’s spot-on, and if someone can come up with his name, I’d like to know it. I THINK he was the guy who was married to Ellen Barkin. I will leave it to all the distinguished readers out there to fill in this blank in the left side of my brain. But Gundy “favors” that guy, as they say in Durham En-Cee.

Whoever Van Gundy looks like: book him as your after-dinner speaker. If you don’t, I will.  I’m going to list some of his tweeter-quotes (remember: I did NOT go to the conference; I monitored it, as best I could, on twitter, so I am given you quotes from tweets.):

Here are the best:

1, When asked why he was not currently coaching, Van Gundy said: I have a teen age daughter, and if we moved she would KILL me. 

2. (As one of the attendees tweeted): We are 6 hours into the #SSAC. “I don’t even know what analytics means.” –Jeff Van Gundy

3. JVG: The guy who said you are better off with Avery Bradley on the floor than Rondo is a moron.

4. Van Gundy: “If I was telling a player something, I would either use a real number or make one up” 

5. After 24 minutes of starting Steve Novak, Jeff Van Gundy swore he would never do it again.

6. Jeff Van Gundy “Lying is an important part of coaching NBA players

Below is the representative set of tweets from the seminar:

==

Basketball Analytics panel with Jeff Van Gundy, @mcuban, @johnhollinger & Mike Zarren
Breaking: Dean Oliver replaced @mcuban on big screen here. He is the godfather, no doubt. Entertainment factor took a hit though.
Mark Cuban missing from panel. jackie MacMullan: “I’m sorry I’m not Mark Cuban, we’re all sorry we’re not Mark, for so many reasons”
Jackie MacMullan has a plush-toy bell curve model
The Dallas Mavs’ championship was a big win for analytics. The data drove winning lineup changes. — Jackie MacMullan
All this praise for analytics for starting Barea instead of Stevenson. I think that was MUCH less important than benching Peja!!
Easier to use advanced stats in NBA playoffs due to facing same team multiple times and more practice time
Jackie Mac is not letting Zarren get of here without discussing Rajon Rondo.
This Celtics guy does not want to talk about Rondo at all.  (Mike Zarren, Assistant GM of the Celtics)
Rondo is a lightning rod for discussion in this Basketball Analytics panel in terms of on/off numbers
“It’s not just about Rondo versus his replacement player, but about what will make the team better.”
Jeff Van Gundy on stats: “or the one guy could just use his eyes and see a team is better with Rondo on it. Dont have to be a genius.”
Van Gundy is apoplectic about suggestion that Celtics are better without Rondo on the floor. We’d agree..
JVG: The guy who said you are better off with Avery Bradley on the floor than Rondo is a moron.
Talking optical tracking (Sportview) data now. It’s the future of analytics,
Van Gundy: “If I was telling a player something, I would either use a real number or make one up”
If it wasn’t already, the secret of SportVU — the NBA’s 3D tracking technology — is out. Massive potential.
Joel Linzer, VP of EA: video games have led to the spread of knowledge of sports, even effects negotiating player contracts
Surprise MVP of the #SSAC Basketball Analytics panel has to be Jeff Van Gundy. Providing a hilarious stat-cautious viewpoint.
Jackie MacMullen: “I think there are a lot of Jeremy #Lins out there.” Van Gundy: “I disagree.
Jackie Mac, Jeff Van Gundy and John Hollinger rounding out probably the best panel of the day
Zarren: New camera systems can tell us how far each player runs in a game. Strength coaches can then train them for that distance.
Basketball Analytics easily the most entertaining panel of the day at the #SSAC
Hollinger: “Steve Novak was the real ‘system fit,’ not Lin.
Apparently celtics put a waiver claim in on Jermey Lin
@lucashapiro: After 24 minutes of starting Steve Novak, Jeff Van Gundy swore he would never do it again.
Dean Oliver says that the value of the analytics staff is more about informing the coaches about the other teams, not their own team
Jeff Van Gundy is taking over the basketball panel, just said “Michael Jordan was pretty good, that’s a revolutionary idea”
People want to knock Lebron but give him to me and we will figure out the last three minutes –
Note to #ssac next year replace baseball analytics with a double session of basketball analytics
We are 6 hours into the #SSAC. “I don’t even know what analytics means.” –Jeff Van Gundy
Jeff Van Gundy “Lying is an important part of coaching NBA players”
Jeff Van Gundy just asked “what is SQL?” When Zarren explained it, he just nodded…

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About brewonsouthu

Michigan and Big Ten fan, former lawyer, with interest in college sports and NCAA oversight and decisions, and sports generally.
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