The Stan Van Gundy Show
"First, I'd like to thank David Stern for allowing Stan [Van Gundy] to be here today."
-- John Buccigross, ESPN sportscaster
"In coaching, you're trying to create a style of play and a culture. Every time you make an exception, you're breaking that down."
-- Stan Van Gundy, former head coach of the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat
“In Miami, all the TV analysts -- I won’t say any names -- killed us because we didn’t have a midrange game. I felt like saying, ‘Thank God.’”
-- Van Gundy
“The goal is to win, and we’re not playing video games here.”
-- Van Gundy
“There’s no number out there that’ll solve all the problems.”
-- Van Gundy
"Just like there's a need for physical rest, there's a need for mental rest."
-- Van Gundy
In response to Van Gundy apologizing for talking too much:
“Is this the first time you’ve talked a lot?”
-- R.C. Buford, San Antonio Spurs president
On drafting Royce White:
"You were going to draft the same guy we did."
-- Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets general manager
"Yeah, but we would have dealt with it differently."
-- Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner
In response to Michael Lewis' naming him as one of the inspirations of "The Blind Side"
“Never got an invite to the Oscars.”
-- Paraag Marathe, San Francisco 49ers COO
On setting a path to success:
“Be a nuisance until they hire you.”
-- Morey, on his path to success
“Please don’t take that as a suggestion.”
On dealing with the front-office friction with the analytics movement:
“You own a team; it’s a lot easier.”
-- Morey to Cuban
On the "count the ringzzz" theory:
“The more z’s, the lower the IQ”
-- Tom Haberstroh, ESPN NBA writer
"In reality, bookmaking is easy. Some of the dumbest people I know are bookmakers."
-- Haralabos Voulgaris, professional gambler
"In sports, there's a lot of correlation between stats and performance. In politics, a lot of it is bulls---."
-- Nate Silver, statistician, sabermetrician, psephologist, and FiveThirtyEight.com author
Walked into the wrong place?
"If you're looking at statistics alone and saying 'we're drafting this guy,' good luck. I hope you're in my division."
-- Brian Burke, former Toronto Maple Leafs senior adviser
"When you're losing, the sports page only has value if you own a puppy or a parakeet."
"If I overpay a player, it's not because there's a revolver to my head, it's because I'm an idiot."
"The worst thing that ever happened in sports was sports radio, and the internet is sports radio on steroids with lower IQs.”
"Statistics are like a lamppost to a drunk: useful for support but not for illumination.”
"It [analytics] has become mainstream because it works."
“The way we had been talking about the game was inaccurate.”
"Are the league's best rebounders conceding shots to get in better rebounding positions? For some, yes."
-- Kirk Goldsberry, Harvard University visiting scholar
"Ten years from now, we're going to look back and laugh at this study, but we have to start somewhere.”
"It's hard to be a decision-maker and be removed.”
“The models weren't built on a dataset like him [Jeremy Lin]."
On choosing between Greg Oden and Kevin Durant as the 2007 first overall draft pick in retrospect:
"Almost everyone would have taken Oden."
"The No. 1 job for an NBA GM is not to win championships, but to keep their job.”
On if he were a sports owner:
“If I bought an NBA team, the first day I’d trade for LeBron [James]. Then, the second day I’d trade for Kobe [Bryant]. And the third day, I’d do one of those Harlem Shuffle [Shake] videos.”
-- John Skipper, ESPN president
Kicking a man when he’s down
On the Los Angeles Lakers being the only team without a representative at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference:
“From the Celtics' perspective, it’s not a bad thing the Lakers aren’t here.”
– Mike Zarren, Boston Celtics assistant general manager
“If we can keep the Lakers out, that’s fine with us.”
On Brian Burke recanting the difficulty of being a general manager and firing a coach:
"Believe me, it's always a lot harder on the guy getting fired."
-- Stan Van Gundy
Business of sports
"When a company has a good year, you don't throw a parade. When a sports team wins, the whole city celebrates.”
"Sports front-office jobs are still more who you know than what you know."
"If sports leagues don't want government involved, they should stop putting their hand out."
-- Andrew Zimbalist, Smith College professor
"If you're not at the table, you're on the menu."
-- Deepak Malhotra, Harvard Business School professor
"There are teams that 'go for it' under this new CBA that make you wonder if they've read it."
A safer future
"When you receive a concussion, if you get a concussion again, even if it's a tiny one -- it can have a severe impact."
-- John Brenkus, BASE Productions co-Founder
"Surgery is a very good tool, but you don't treat the underlying disease process."
-- Dr. Peter Wehling, M.D., Ph.D., orthopedic and spine surgeon
"We are doing whatever we can to capture data. We lock in medical staff to longer-term deals than players.”
Sloan Conference 2023
On how far people have delved into the potential of analytics:
"We are nowhere yet."
"There is a human element in sports that is not quantifiable. These players bleed for you, give you everything they have, and there's a bond there."
-- Bill Polian, ESPN NFL analyst
"When visualizing data, it's not about how much can I put in but how much can I take out."
-- Joe Ward, The New York Times sports graphics editor
“If you are not becoming a digital CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), you are becoming extinct.”
-- Tim McDermott, Philadelphia Eagles CMO
“Even if God came down and said this model is correct
there is still randomness, and you can be wrong.”
-- Phil Birnbaum, By The Numbers editor