Analytics movement taking hold in sports

Analytics movement taking hold in sports
March 10, 2014, 11:30 pm
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Sports and statistics go together like Doritos and Mountain Dew.

There are plenty of people who attended the the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference recently that would agree with that.

But these people aren't just your typical nerds. They're changing the way we watch and understand sports. They're changing the way professional teams put together rosters.

Now more than ever, analytics have entered the equation in sports. Every team is looking for an edge, and with the amount of data available - and people able to understand it - professional teams are turning to it.

Nate Silver is one of the leaders in the analytics movement and is the creator of his website fivethirtyeight.com, which will have a new home on ESPN.com.

"I think nothing breeds success like success," Silver said. "So when people see teams like the Red Sox and the A's take the analytical approach and field a better product, win championships, make more money, then that breeds a lot of invitations."

"I think a lot of it has to do with just the general computing power that we have these days versus 10, or 15, or 20 years ago," said Jessica Gelman, co-founder of the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. "There's so much data and then being able to distill it and now we have technology that can allow us to find those little nuggets of good information."

And the analytics movement has absolutely hit the Celtics organization in a big way. They have long been one of the leaders in expanding to the analytical field, and now with Brad Stevens as head coach, they spend even more time analyzing data.

"You're pouring over something to try to figure out how to make your team a little bit better," Stevens said. "Maybe you can give your team one little thing that gives it the ability to get over the hump."

Of course, analytics isn't everything - but it is a big something that can be the difference in a good team and a great team.