Data, concepts and every tiny detail about basketball isn't something new, but it's something moving quickly across NBA front offices. The Los Angeles Lakers, however, have been one of the slowest to embrace the new information as a means to run their business. Kevin Pelton of ESPN ranked out all 30 NBA teams in their Great Analytics Rankings guides and the Lakers full under the "non-believer" category.
It doesn't help that the Lakers haven't sent representatives to the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conferences over the past few years. Sloan has become a booming center for new concepts, conclusions from data and more to take the stage in an environment of like-minded basketball personnel.
Joining the Lakers in the "non-believer" category are the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks, which isn't exactly the best company for the team to be keeping. Analytics certainly aren't an end-all be-all, but they provide a huge window of information that can help refine and define performance and process for teams.
Here's an excerpt on the section regarding the Lakers, via Pelton:
GM Mitch Kupchak told ESPN.com that SportVU data has "changed this whole business" and that he has brought aboard a group of four employees to interpret the data.
But the Lakers were slow to embrace SportVU data, not being willing to pay for the cameras before the NBA stepped up and installed them in every arena. And while Kupchak indicated most SportVU analysis is directed toward the coaching staff, with assistant coach Mark Madsen as a conduit, it's hard to find any evidence of Byron Scott putting those insights in play on the court.
It's good that the front office has a team plugging away at this data, but there's definitely little acknowledgment of this across any of the Lakers' platforms. Byron Scott has seldom, if ever, mentioned any hard analytics while there have been no other mouth pieces from upper management. The Lakers have referenced analytics in the past, but it's become a rarity over the last season.