I was the Head Coach of the Toronto Raptors in the spring of 1998, due to the NBA lockout I spent 6 months developing a basketball analytical model for the Toronto Raptors team evaluations. This was driven out of the subjective nature of the team evaluation process for the Milwaukee Bucks where I was an assistant Coach from 1991-1997. I was totally fatigued by opinions given by NBA scouts that totally ignore the empirical data provided by the NBA & NCAA champions of the last 5-10 years. I accepted that to defeat the great coaches in the NBA I had to change. I learned I had to change my practice structure to win games against the best opponents, because winning teams were consistent in very specific area's of execution! My team went from 18 wins to 47, setting an NBA record for wins by an NBA franchise and coach in 18 months, at that time no team and coach had ever done it in the 54 year history of the NBA. Coaching the Toronto Raptors with an analytical approach against ten (10) Hall of Fame Coaches in the Eastern and Western Conference of the NBA. (Pat Riley, Miami Heat; Larry Brown, Philadelphia 76ers; George Karl, Milwaukee Bucks; Rick Pitino, Boston Celtics; Chuck Daley, Orlando Magic; and Lenny Wilkens, Atlanta Hawks; Don Nelson, Dallas Mavericks; Jerry Sloan, Utah Jazz; Phil Jackson, Los Angeles Lakers; Greg Popovich, San Antonio.)
- Last 4 years Coach Carter as Lead Mentor, has changed the core teaching values of the NBA-Assistant Coaching Program thru online learning. www.analytics4coaches.com
Multivariate Data Analysis
50% Rule (Every year half of all games are lost)
Objective Science vs. Subjective Opinion
Statistical Data Analysis involves (4) steps
Defining the problem–By definition 50% of all games are lost
Collecting the data–“TarzanTest”, Win the Blind Spots
Analyzing the data– Benchmark MultivariateDataAnalysis
Reporting the results – Objective or Subjective
Is the data that is based off a person’s feelings, so different people state different opinions because there is no empirical benchmark. ( Half the games are lost every season)
It is independent of the person, therefore it is based on the laws of the universe. Or in this case the empirical data of historical success in NCAA & NBA GAMES.
The data facts are true, and if objective, need to be balanced to allow the Coaches to make a decision with a common benchmark for changing the teams practice and player development. Multivariate Analysis is a branch of statistics involving the consideration of data on each of which are observed the values of a number of variables. Multivariate techniques are used across a whole range of statistic applications (medical and biological sciences) and of course in many industrial and commercial applications.
Two closely related techniques, principal component analysis and factor analysis, are used to reduce the dimensionality of multivariate data. In these techniques I are able to define correlations and interactions among the variables summarized in terms of a small number of underlying factors. These methods quickly identify key variables and groups of variables in the system under study. I am quickly able to standardize winning data versus negative substandard effort by players. This data I use to motivate myself to improve the individual player for the betterment of the team.
This process allows for the comparative analysis of a player vs. time and a team vs. time. It also defines quantitative benchmarks that allow objective reports with allowable variances (i.e. conditioning, energy, hustle and team budget). In my opinion the current sets of statistical data being used in my model reflect a close comparison to the direction I discovered in 1998. Two seasons later the team broke a 54 year NBA record for going from less than twenty wins (18) wins to (47) wins and the playoffs. The only difference is as the head coach believed in this process of objective science to change the way we practiced.
That’s was due to the years I spent with the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant coach. In Milwaukee we had high draft picks and drafted subjectively every year, regardless of the ‘Tarzan Test’ and background check data. After being in the 1980 L.A. Lakers Championship practices with Pat Riley, playing for the Indiana Pacers (low budget), New York Knicks (injury) and coaching in Milwaukee, I developed a practice process to move a franchise from bad to good quickly. All we had to do was data mine the information on the NBA hard drive in Colorado with Mike Ellis. Then successfully measure actual data vs. the historical benchmarks. It was not that hard, it’s simple math a coach can do with a calculator if they want!
PHILOSOPHY AND COACHING THEORY
GOALS FOR OUR TEAM
A Sound Philosophy
1. KEEP THE OPPONENT UNDER 20 POINTS IN 1ST 10 MINUTES.
2. PRESSURE SHOOTERS, INTO POOR SHOTS, ESPECIALLY UNDER 15 SECONDS ON SHOT CLOCK!
3. WIN THE 1ST and 3RD QUARTER!
4. CREATE AFTER TIMEOUT EFG%, AND CHART
5. AVOID CONFUSION
The NCAA coach has the job of making mostly young men and women to play with the desire and determination to win, exemplifying the youthful exuberance they showed when they first started to play basketball. A coach is challenged philosophically and technically his entire career. We are aware that pressures constantly exert themselves on the coach.
These pressures include media, community, administrative, and self-imposed. The high school coach often has parental interference, the college coach over-involved alumni. The NCAA coach must establish an atmosphere of accomplishments almost immediately. Additionally, he is responsible for guiding youth in these critical, formative years, teaching his players the importance of emotional control in their reactions to winning and losing, accepting responsibility for defeat and providing leadership in all situations.
Technically, the challenge is often equally as great. It is not easy to always adhere to the precepts the coach has always believed in, but is not successful at the moment. Outside pressures often influence coaches to change if the team is not going well. A slow team is urged to speed up and a quick-moving team to slow down. Media influences also cause change. Players sometimes demand offensive or defensive changes. Too often, a coach will cave in to these types of pressures by changing his offense or defense to placate these dissident voices. When this happens, the coach compromises his technical beliefs and his team slowly but surely reflects his confusion. The fundamentals of winning teams in the NCAA have not changed.
Must change the culture of conditioning and communication!
Defend the basketball and reduce defensive FG% Top 20% of Conference teams.
Rebound those missed shots!
Top 20% of Conference playoff teams
Over Communicate in Transition
Flexibility To Adjust: An important factor in the philosophy of a coach is his attitude toward winning and losing. If a coach blames defeat on anything and everything but himself, his players will be inclined to excuse their bad individual performances by pointing the finger of defeat at someone else. A coach must remember he is a teacher and therefore must prepare his team for every possible developing situation. Players cannot be expected to play well if they have not been taught what to expect. We expect success to be met with stability and adversity with this same stability. A player’s mind should be receptive toward correction after a loss, or after a win. The leadership qualities of a coach are never more tested than after a defeat.
Failure to Change Practice Plan: The coach must hold to his philosophical and technical principles benchmarked off of Conference games won. There will be many instances of evaluation by the Athletic Director when these principles must stand the test of the top 20% of Conference games. For a coach to be successfully in the basketball profession, he must be able to endure good and bad with effective change to his practice plans to counter a negative result from the Conference benchmark. Coaches fail because they are practicing like 30 years ago, and refuse to accept that the team and Coach that are behind has to do something drastically different to catch the best teams. Rarely does the Turtle catch the Rabbit in NCAA Basketball.