Great story from Benjamin Hochman in the Denver Post on Dean Oliver’s influence on the Denver Nuggets as the team’s director of quantitative analysis. Oliver, whose role in the development of the APBRmetrics community cannot be overstated, works as usual not to give too much away. His story is better told by the others around him in Denver, led by enlightened VP of basketball operations Mark Warkentien.
“When I was growing up in L.A., the Rams’ coach, George Allen, hired the first special-teams coach, and he was ridiculed by old-school football coaches,” said Mark Warkentien, the Nuggets’ vice president of basketball operations. “Decades later, it became a huge part of the game. I think the quantitative analysis guys will go through a similar situation. I don’t think it will reach the level of a special-teams coach.
“But right now, it’s being scoffed at by old-school guys. We’ll look at it 20 years from now, it’ll be what you do — part of the deal.”
Oh, and also Carmelo Anthony:
“Oh, yeah, yeah, I know who you’re talking about. He’s George Karl‘s brains.”
It was funny when Oliver and I both worked for the Sonics to see how players interacted with him. I remember Robert Swift once asking what Oliver got on his SATs.
For more on Oliver’s path to the NBA, I would immodestly suggest this profile I wrote in 2005 as part of my “The Sonics Play Moneyball” series. Unfortunately, you’ll have to highlight the text to read it.