BOSTON (CBS) – In a recent TNT game covering the Rockets, studio analyst Charles Barkley ripped Houston general manager Daryl Morey and called him “one of those idiots who believes in analytics.”
After sharing some of his fondest memories of Sir Charles, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge talked about the importance of stats with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich for his weekly interview.READ MORE: Eviction Moratorium Ends: Where Renters Can Find Help In Massachusetts
“We put a lot into analytics. We have a great analytics staff and I’m very excited about things that we’re working on,” Ainge told T&R. “We feel like we’re out ahead of the NBA in analytics, but I don’t think anything has been perfected. There’s no magic formulas.”
Ainge is an old school basketball guy like Charles, so he was brought up to view the game with what your eyes are telling you. That’s still true for him, but he realizes you can’t just ignore analytics.
“You can’t just use analytics, but analytics can be of value,” Ainge said.
Being an old school guy like Ainge, it’s no surprise to hear he likes the NBA playoff format the way it is. Recently, commissioner and idea man Adam Silver proposed a new system that would award the six division winners a spot in the playoffs, and the next 10 teams would be based on record and record alone — conference notwithstanding.
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Ainge would need to hear more to form a definitive opinion, but at this point in time he thinks it should be kept the same.
“I would have to think more about it. I understand it logically. I do like the rivalries in the conferences. I think there’s different schedules being played: Eastern Conference teams play Eastern Conference teams more than they play Western Conference teams. I would have to evaluate that. Right now there is an imbalance [between conferences]. I think everybody can see that. I also think that those things are cyclical.
“I mean, if you’re not one of the top eight teams in your conference, regardless of what’s going on in another conference, do you really deserve to be a playoff team? You may deserve it more than a team that’s making it in the East, and I guess that’s the point, but you’re still ninth or tenth in your conference. So I don’t know, I like it the way it is. But I would be open to discussing those kinds of changes also.”
Recently, a distraught fan of the New York Knicks sent owner James Dolan an email that was not very nice. He did not like the decision making and direction of the franchise, so he reached out to Dolan and Dolan actually responded.READ MORE: Woman's Claims In Lawsuit Her 14-Year-Old Daughter Was Sexually Violated During Logan Airport Searches
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Dolan accused the emailer of being a possible alcoholic and even told him to root for the Nets. Ainge said he’s never been tempted to email a fan back.
“I love the fact that fans are that passionate. I really do. I know we always say that, but I think criticism is part of our job; players, coaches, general managers, owners — everybody. We’re all susceptible to that. We have passionate fans that want to win and have expectations,” said Ainge. “They pay a high price for seats and tickets to watch us play. I think that they have the right to voice their opinions, be it in email or whatever else it might be.”
The NBA trade deadline is just over a week away, so Rich asked Ainge what he hopes to accomplish over that time.
“I don’t know. We’re opportunistic. There’s a lot of different things that can happen. I don’t anticipate, because right now we don’t have anything imminent. But you never know what happens at the trade deadline. But we’re ready, we have a lot of bullets in our arsenal right now. We have a lot of assets that we can move for lots of different things and go in a lot of different directions at this point,” Ainge told T&R.
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“But there’s not teams looking to make those kinds of major changes, is my perspective right now heading into this trade deadline. So I’m not sure what may happen.”
Ainge also talked about the hope of finding the next Dirk Nowitzki on his upcoming European scouting trip — all that and much more.
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Hear every game of the 2014-15 Boston Celtics season on 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship station of the Boston Celtics. Pregame coverage with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell begins 30 minutes prior to every game! Occasionally a scheduling conflict will arise, in which case the Celtics can be heard on our sister station 100.7 WZLX.