By Ben AlamarESPN Stats & Info
Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey is often given credit for leading the analytics revolution in the NBA, and he has certainly played a major role in both utilizing analytics effectively and raising public awareness of NBA analytics. Quietly though, in terms of actual use of the tools of analytics by NBA teams, it may be hard to overstate the role that R.C. Buford, general manager of the San Antonio Spurs, has played.
The proliferation of analytics tools in basketball decisions has grown to the point where every NBA team has some sort of analytics function in the front office.
But not all analytics functions are equal.
The value of analytics is not all of the fancy math needed to turn the data into information, but rather the productive use of that new information in decision-making. And few have been more effective at doing that and teaching others how to do it than Buford.
One area in which NBA teams apply analytics is the draft. The draft is about projecting the future based on a variety of data sources -- and reducing the risk inherent in the process. As draft analytics have become more available over the past decade, models have become more complex and accurate, with the latest draft model from ESPN's Sports Analytics Team utilizing five different data sources to create more accurate...