Last Friday, Monumental Basketball, the shared services department of the Washington Mystics, Wizards, Capital City Go-Go and Wizards District Gaming, announced that Dr. Katherine Evans will be their Vice President of Research and Information Systems. According to a press release, she will be in charge of data science on basketball operations. She is the first woman to lead such a department for an NBA team.
Evans comes to Monumental Basketball from the Toronto Raptors where she was the Director of Strategic Research from 2019-21. That role included building data models on individual NBA players and draft prospects. Before joining the Raptors, Evans was a Data Scientist for Verily Life Sciences right after she graduated with a Ph.D. in Biostatistics at Harvard University.
She also had a sports analytics blog which is on hiatus due to her position with the Raptors, but there is a detailed post on Russell Westbrook’s first triple-double average season, most specifically his assisting when he played for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016-17 here.
The field of sports analytics is rapidly increasing and it goes beyond shooting and passing percentages and applying them to in-game situations and decisions. They are also intersecting with player health and much more.
It’s also a field that doesn’t have much female representation. Monumental Basketball has typically been an organization that’s forward-looking with data, technology, and diversity. I’m glad to see that Evans has joined the organization.
Welcome to D.C., Dr. Evans!