Ted Leonsis proclaims belief in basketball analytics on radio

UPDATE: Here's a link to the whole thing.  Thanks, Joe!

I had a chance to listen to part of Ted Leonsis' radio appearance on the Mike Wise Show on 106.7 The Fan while working today.  Let's just say I came away incredibly, incredibly impressed.

Leonsis took a few questions about the Wizards, and the very first thing he said was that he strongly believes in analytics in basketball.  He said he thinks basketball is a great sport for analytics because it has "bite-size statistics," referring specifically to per-possession stuff.  When asked to elaborate, Leonsis said he had a high school coach (he was a point guard) who really got through to him on the importance of every single possession and the simple idea of maximizing what you do when you have the ball.  

One thing I know is that the Wizards do not currently have an analytics department, though they do have some people who are open to it.  Tommy Sheppard, the assistant GM, reportedly attended the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference at MIT earlier last month (though I think he was only there on Saturday).  I do not believe Ernie Grunfeld shares that enthusiasm for analytics.  

Anyway, here are some other snippets from the radio appearance:

  • The most important thing for Leonsis is to take emotions out of the picture as much as possible when making a decision.  "We want to look at everything analytically rather than emotionally," he said.  He cited the example of Capitals GM George McPhee letting go of longtime goalie Olaf Kolzig, which was difficult, but still the right thing to do because his game had declined.
  • You might remember that the first of Leonsis' 10 points to building a successful team is to ask yourself if you ever see your team competing for a championship.  If yes, then devote time to it, but if not, don't be afraid to blow it up.  He expounded on that today, saying that he's willing to commit serious resources, but only if you believe your team as currently constructed can win it all.  If not, he said there's no shame in blowing it up.  "What's the worst that could happen?" he said, adding that, while fans may stop showing up to games, fans aren't showing up for the Wizards right now anyway.
  • Regarding building through the draft, Leonsis says he's studied successful teams in all sports, and found that most of them build their team primarily through the draft.  
  • Leonsis said that most NBA players peak statistically around age 25 or 26, saying that Andray Blatche is getting better primarily because he's getting closer to that age.  He also cited LeBron, implying that LeBron is close to his peak at this point.  Wise did the right thing and followed up with a question about Gilbert Arenas being 28, one which Leonsis mostly avoided except to say that there are some outliers like Michael Jordan.
I didn't listen to the whole thing, so if anyone did, fill in any blanks in the comments.  Either way, bring on the new era already!
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bullets Forever

You must be a member of Bullets Forever to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bullets Forever. You should read them.

Join Bullets Forever

You must be a member of Bullets Forever to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bullets Forever. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker