Ever wonder if the men who run our professional basketball teams are as clueless as the men who were running our professional baseball teams (as depicted by Michael Lewis in his 2003 book Moneyball)? There is no definitive answer to that question, yet, but we do now know that at least one NBA GM does not yet know how to Google.
Yesterday, Henry Abbott published a piece on TrueHoop that suggested that, like those clueless baseball GMs of old (Daryl Morey and Sam Hinkie of the Houston Rockets have requested we not make this a "smart versus not" thing, but), the men in charge in the NBA are operating their teams by "playing hunches."
One of Abbott's sources, an NBA executive, shared an anecdote from his time working for a team that needed a shotblocker on its roster. In a meeting, the scouts mentioned a "long and athletic player" who "looked like a guy who could block some shots" but who, the exec realized after running through some stats, was "in the bottom half of the league in terms of blocked shots per minute." The scouts' response: "We've been doing this for forty years." Sound familiar?
And then there's this:
I got a phone call from another with this story:
I was asked to get involved in a negotiation with a certain player. I did a little homework on the guy, and then went back into the GM's office, and asked how we should handle the guy's injury history, specifically a torn ACL that had kept him out of the league for a year-and-a-half.
"He tore his ACL?" asked the GM, sounding surprised. "Where'd you learn that?"
I told him I had just googled the guy.
This was in the last couple of years.
He said "ok, you're going to have to show me how to use this google thing."
Another current NBA general manager is not comfortable using any device with a keyboard.
There's another, in some ways worse, story about a savvy NBA coach who pretends to hate new-fangled devices like the internet specifically to curry favor with NBA powerbrokers.
So who's the GM who can't quite wrap his mind around "this Google thing"? I went through the current list to attempt to whittle it down by age, but that doesn't exactly narrow it down. A few years ago I might have gone with Elgin Baylor—but today's field has almost countless candidates for the "crusty old man who may think a computer is an evil robot here to steal his money and then explode" role.
Not to make this into a "young versus old" thing. That would be awful of me.
Is today's NBA like "Moneyball"? [TrueHoop]
H/T That NBA.