BrewHoop talks advanced stats with Bucks Assistant GM Jeff Weltman

In case you missed it, BrewHoop's Alex Boeder recently posted a lengthy conversation with Bucks assistant GM Jeff Weltman, who you may (or more likely, may not) remember spent the 2007-08 season working in the Detroit Pistons' front office before following John Hammond to the Milwaukee Bucks the following summer. Their discussion centered on the use of advanced statistics -- how they're employed in the front office when making decisions and used by the coaching staff.

It's a good read, albeit a bittersweet one for Pistons fans. It's impossible to say for sure just how much Joe Dumars values advanced stats, but looking at Detroit's list of personnel moves ever since Hammond left town, it's safe to say he's either looking at the wrong numbers or (more likely) valuing his gut over empirical evidence.

In any case, Weltman had a lot of interesting things to say, and more than once I found myself gritting my teeth that Detroit let a mind like his leave for a division foe. But even if Detroit's front office fell behind the times, Weltman predicts every team will eventually catch up:

The league is no different than any other industry, in that it is subject to trends and phases and fads. And the initial reaction to any fad is to go the other way, is to resist change. But once it has infiltrated and become part of the establishment, it becomes less threatening and people get to understand it.

What tends to happens then is people start to go overboard on it, and then there is a pullback. And I think that is kind of the cycle we have seen with analytics. And I think the next cycle we are going to say that with is technology.

I think there are going to be tremendous advances technologically, even from where we are now, to what teams are going to able to do. And I am sure you are aware of all of these different programs and services that are becoming available. And I think as those things become more accessible and understandable to all of us laymen, that they will become more accepted and more popular. And then there will probably be a pullback on that. And then something else will come along. But I think we have seen that we have seen that same sort of curve with analytics.

One huge technological advancement made in the last several years is with video -- namely, Synergy Sports. The service essentially marries advanced statistics to old school scouting -- not only does it allow you to drill down situational stats, it also allows you to watch every possession that created the numbers. Nobody could parse video from the entire league in near real-time that easily 10 years ago, not even teams willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now, anyone can.)

In any case, kudos to the Bucks for making Weltman available to BrewHoop, and to Alex for asking such smart questions. Like I said, I'd make time to read the whole interview: Part I and Part II.

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