Business

Which NBA Team Is The Most Data-Driven?

As popularized by Michael Lewis’ Moneyball, professional sports teams have been revising their strategies in recent years to include quantitative analyses. These teams hire statisticians, economists, and data scientists to optimize team performance. While basketball has been slower to adopt an analytical framework than Baseball, we see that many NBA teams are filling their roster with analytics employees to develop an edge.

Revelio Labs

3/9/21

As popularized by Michael Lewis’ Moneyball, professional sports teams have been revising their strategies in recent years to include quantitative analyses. These teams hire statisticians, economists, and data scientists to optimize team performance. While basketball has been slower to adopt an analytical framework than Baseball, we see that many NBA teams are filling their roster with analytics employees to develop an edge.

Below we can see remarkable acceleration of analytics jobs in NBA teams over the last two years:

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Teams like the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors have been lauded as pioneers in bringing data science to the sport. Are they still the innovators today? In order to answer that, we take a look at which teams have invested the most in data and analytics:

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It’s also helpful to see which teams have been advertising to hire new employees in the space:

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Takeaways:

  • Analytics jobs have been rising dramatically in the NBA over the last 10 years, with an increased interest in the last two years.
  • The Thunder seems to be the team with the largest data and analytics department, potentially indicating big changes to their team structure in the coming seasons. The Cavaliers, Spurs and Magic are other notable teams near the top.
  • When teams hire analytics employees, they poach them from other teams more than any other employer (almost 10%), suggesting that the analysis involved is quite specialized.

If you have any ideas of other metrics to track or would like to hear more, please feel free to reach out.

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