PDA

View Full Version : Tbird analysis: The theories of brain typing, new age stats, and the Pacers



thunderbird1245
07-29-2007, 08:20 PM
Hello everyone....Its good to be back writing again on PD after a few weeks of downtime. Earlier in the summer I said in one of the threads I started that I wanted to write on this topic a bit after I had explored it some and researched it. I also wanted to use it to expand on a bigger point Im going to make later on how the Pacers as a franchise operate.

The subject of brain typing when it comes to sports is somewhat controversial. Essentially, what it does is break down an individual's expressions and mannerisms, and tries to categorize them in such a way that predictions can be made about an individuals abilities and their likelihood to succeed. Not only that, but it can be used to theoretically determine how players might inter-relate chemistry wise, based upon how their own unique personalities may clash or mesh.

Johnathon Neidnagel is the leading practicioner of this emerging science as it relates to sports and sports psychology. He has a website (braintypes.com) with many quotes from many sports executives in several sports, like Former UCLA football coach and 49'ers executive Terry Donahue, TWolves GM Kevin McHale, former Orlando GM John Gabriel, and many other executives and players who believe in this man and his theories.

Extroverted vs Introverted, Sensitive vs iNtuitive, Thinking vs Feelings, Judging vs Percieving. These are the main types of personality traits that are claimed to exist, forming 16 different combinations. According to these theories, the number one "brain type" in NBA basketball is "ISTP."

Now, what got me interested in this topic to this degree was an interview I heard from Kevin Pritchard, GM of the Trailblazers, who didnt say so but who I believe is a believer of this theory. He labeled the top 2 draft picks Odon and Durant, using terms I as a basketball coach hadnt heard of: Odon was a "caretaker personality", Durant was a "predator personality". We will never know what role using this brain typing science played in helping the Blazers run their draft rook under Pritchard, but it appears in the least that is was figured in and studied.

Many of my notes I took for writing this I can no longer find, but from memory I can quote you a few things I found while researching this stuff, as it relates to the NBA and the Pacers:

-The number one believers in this brain typing psuedoscientific way of evaluation are the Boston Celtics and Danny Ainge, who was described as a "zealot" and "true believer" in one article I read.

-The Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Pheonix Suns are teams that have in some ways used this and continue to believe in it.

-While most franchises are at least dabbling in its use in some ways, one of the only franchises that is the most skeptical is our own Indiana Pacers. Apparently, both Ainge and McHale have encouraged Larry Bird to look at this, but he says he will trust his own instincts and "eyes" when it comes to evaluating talent, not some brain chart studying facial expressions.

I did find an old transcript of a show ESPN did on Outside the Lines 5 years ago about the topic. Most of you can google it and find it if you wish.

The science of this I am sure is continuing to evolve, and there are more and more believers since the book "Moneyball" came out that believe in a more new school way of looking at putting a team together. Not just in brain typing, but in the statistical look at data, using different ways to measure things on the field to be better able to put a team together. In baseball, such things like "range factor" (how much range an outfielder covers to catch fly balls measured by distance) are being used my the more savvy teams to give a statistical quantitive value to measure defense, which didnt exist before.

There are many different teams in the league that I believe are ahead of the curve in analyzing data and film in a more advanced way. More scientifically thinking teams like Dallas and Pheonix are known to spend lots of money in scouting, to determine different ways to play, analyze personnel of their own and their opponents, and to make their teams as EFFICIENTLY ran as possible, from an on court perspective. For what it's worth, it was the indepth analyzation of data that the Pacers didnt have that led Dallas to agree to trade Marquis Daniels to us for Austin Croshere.....Dallas believed that while having good numbers and being better that AC, that their team's overall performance worsened with Marquis Daniels in the game instead of who they replaced him with. Some scouts wouldve had that opinion with the naked eye, but the point is that the Mavs had hard data to back up that conclusion supposedly.

I suspect, but do not know, that the Pacers are decidely old school in terms of scouting and data management as well. I do not know how the hiring of Jim O'Brien as head coach changes that outlook, as Coach O'Brien is actually an interesting mix of old school ideas (all players will tape up their ankles even for walkaround practices, which players hate having as a rule), and new school philosophies (managing the clock, the extreme use of the three point shot, etc etc). It will be interesting to me if we hear of anything new coming from Conseco Fieldhouse on any related topics of this type of stuff.

I'd be interested to know about all of the opinions of the very smart membership of Pacers Digest about these 2 topics, brain typing and new age statistical analysis. What do we think the Pacers do in these 2 areas, and what do we think they SHOULD do? I personally think that the Pacers entire operation is built alot of times on old school, conservative thinking, and I worry that we are behind the curve scientifically and in outside the box thinking on several fronts, and run the risk of falling further behind as we go.

Id also love to know if any of our overseas friends or fans of other teams have any knowledge of what their local franchises believe in these 2 areas. I particularly would love to know the thoughts of what the Phil Jackson Lakers believe, and the philosophies of the Joe Dumars Pistons. I could find almost no information myself on anything on these 2 subjects on the Spurs, who are reputed to be the most secretive team in the league.

Finally, if anyone would like to breakdown our own current roster into the braintypes that are supposed to exist, I think that might be a really good discussion as well. Maybe the secrets to all of our questions on JO, Tinsley, Granger, Williams, and the rest are right in front of us.

October is coming soon, Pacer fans!

Tbird

SoupIsGood
07-29-2007, 08:28 PM
Didn't they try applying the MBTI to the Leaf/Manning thing, too?

I side w/ Bird, I think. Too much MBTI in your player evaluations would be bad, mainly because the MBTI itself isn't really based on any kind of hard science.

thunderbird1245
07-29-2007, 08:36 PM
Yes, the Manning vs Leaf debate is what made this man appear on the "national sports map". He was brought in by the Chargers GM at the time, Bobby Beathard, to help him make the selection between the 2 star college quarterbacks. Supposedly, the doctor informed Beathard that there were significant issues with Leaf's brain type and personality, and he tested out to be about the 8th or 9th best brain type for a successful NFL player (out of the 16 possible). Manning apparently had the number one by far best brain type. Despite this, the Chargers finally settled on Leaf, our Colts got Manning, and the rest is history.

SoupIsGood
07-29-2007, 08:38 PM
But Peyton was the #1 pick... it didn't really matter what SD thought.

The MBTI is scary realistic sometimes, but if you look at how it was created, there's no kind of empirical proof to back it up as a valid personality-rating system. I would be wary of anyone toting this system as anything more than a fun diversion--especially when he's not even testing the subjects personally, but studying facial expression. wtf.

Will Galen
07-29-2007, 10:08 PM
Manning apparently had the number one by far best brain type. Despite this, the Chargers finally settled on Leaf, our Colts got Manning, and the rest is history.


But Peyton was the #1 pick... it didn't really matter what SD thought.

History or bad memory? I agree with Soup, so your last comments really didn't make sense to me.

thunderbird1245
07-29-2007, 10:15 PM
History or bad memory? I agree with Soup, so your last comments really didn't make sense to me.

Yes you are both right, because after rereading it, they dont make that much sense to me either lol.

Manning was picked first overall Leaf was picked second, so that part of my statement was poorly worded. However, the Chargers way of thinking was accurately stated. They had the reports from the doctor on the 2 quarterbacks brain typing, were warned that Leaf was likely to fail due to his personality and brain typing score, and selected him anyway.

Sorry for the confusing way I typed that. I had looked up the draft order beforehand just to make sure Leaf was indeed picked after Manning, but I got what I was trying to say garbled.

Bball
07-29-2007, 10:20 PM
History or bad memory? I agree with Soup, so your last comments really didn't make sense to me.

The Chargers didn't have to make Leaf the #2 pick, they could've shocked everyone and picked someone else entirely.

-Bball

Los Angeles
07-29-2007, 10:24 PM
I want the test done to me. MBTI me baby!

EDIT: Found a test online - Looks like I'm "iNTj"

http://keirsey.com/personality/ntij.html

count55
07-29-2007, 10:49 PM
I tend to be a guy who likes to use a lot of different tools. My background is Financial Planning & Analysis, and I believe that you can learn a great detail from hard, statistical analysis. However, I also believe in the Disraeli/Twain saying "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

From this perspective, I'd be disappointed if the Pacers were rejecting a research tool out of hand. However, I'd be equally disappointed if they used this information as sacrosanct. When you're working in an area where the truth is not know, or more accurately, the truth has yet to be defined, I've always found it best to work from many different sources and triangulate your conclusions. It forces you to respect reality, rather than to try to force it to fit into your own narrowly-defined self-created box. It helps you avoid "The Intelligence Trap" (the belief that the intelligence of the people using such complex tools becomes a double-edged sword: the very strength that helps you advance your thought also allows you rationalize away inconvenient truths).

Now, I would hope the Pacers would use tools such as Brain Typing to augment their own judgment. I think it would be helpful, because I'm also not a big fan of first impressions. First impressions get a great deal of weight in our society for many reasons. In an organization that's going to rely on their "own instincts and "eyes" when it comes to evaluating talent, not some brain chart studying facial expressions", first impressions can be very dangerous.

Why? Because I believe first impressions are almost always wrong. Or, if not wrong, then we simply don't really understand what they really mean. Taking a good first impression as an example: Let's say I'm looking at a young analyst. Everything about him indicates that he's conscientious, fastidious, and has a great eye for detail. He's dedicated to understanding the intricacies of a situation and shows great intelligence and potential. Great candidate, right?

Let's say, I had him take the Personality Index or Meyers-Briggs, or any of the myriad other personality indicators/brain typing test. The test come back and throws up a red flag. This personality type has a great deal of problems dealing with change and actually completing projects. So, in the second interview, I can probe his past for these specific things. The candidate may prove the indicator right, or he may be able to demonstrate concrete examples of where he's "broken type". In either case, you've improved your chances of making the right decision by opening yourself to more usable information.

So, for those of you still awake, I think the Pacers should use such tools, but I don't think they should be given more weight than other, more traditional tools. (However, it would be really interesting to see what things like this would say about a number of key players over the years: Reggie, Rik, Jonathan Bender, Artest, Jackson, O'Neal, Harrington, Tinsley, etc.)

Hicks
07-29-2007, 11:03 PM
That's a good point; I like stats in the form of giving you another layer of your analysis. Something else to stack up against what else you're considering.

count55
07-29-2007, 11:06 PM
I want the test done to me. MBTI me baby!

EDIT: Found a test online - Looks like I'm "iNTj"

http://keirsey.com/personality/ntij.html

ENFP for me.

JayRedd
07-29-2007, 11:21 PM
I want the test done to me. MBTI me baby!

EDIT: Found a test online - Looks like I'm "iNTj"

http://keirsey.com/personality/ntij.html

Apparently, I'm an Idealist.

Infinite MAN_force
07-29-2007, 11:40 PM
I want the test done to me. MBTI me baby!

EDIT: Found a test online - Looks like I'm "iNTj"

http://keirsey.com/personality/ntij.html

I took this test in high school and also got INTJ. My teacher told me it was kind of rare, in fact I think I was the only one in the class who got it.

bulldog
07-29-2007, 11:46 PM
That's a good point; I like stats in the form of giving you another layer of your analysis. Something else to stack up against what else you're considering.

I know this sounds like I'm just being contradictory, but there's also such a thing as too much information.

GMs can out-think themselves if there's too much information floating out there. With an infinite amount of information, you can talk yourself into an infinite amount of scenarios. Essentially, it allows you to make bad decisions because it gives you a way to justify them.

I think the best example of this is Dannie Ainge. He's a big stat guy, and apparently the biggest proponent in the NBA of the brain-typing stuff. And thus its no surprise to me that his moves have been so haphazard and incoherent, I'm sure he has so much information floating around that any particular set of moves can seem favorable in the right light.

Now, look at Isiah Thomas. That's a guy who seems to go on instinct alone, he takes guys he likes no matter what the analysts say. Now, his cap management has been atrocious, but his draft picks have been very solid, his gut instinct is pretty good at picking talent.

I guess I have two points:
1) You don't need these tools to be successful, the statistical methods have yet to eclipse the better basketball minds(though perhaps they someday will).
2) If you're going to use them, you need a GM that is skilled at adapting them to a bigger overall vision.

All that being said, I think some of these tools are very useful in the right hands, apparently the Jazz got their hands on Paul Milsap cause he was scoring off the charts on the draft prediction numbers.

tdubb03
07-30-2007, 12:09 AM
All that being said, I think some of these tools are very useful in the right hands, apparently the Jazz got their hands on Paul Milsap cause he was scoring off the charts on the draft prediction numbers.

The Jazz got Milsap, in the 2nd round, because he led the NCAA in rebounding 3 straight years.

Arcadian
07-30-2007, 12:19 AM
I think some of this research can be like millitary spending. Some of it I'm sure works but it is also really easy to con some of these GM's, who have no background in it, into spending money crap.

beast23
07-30-2007, 12:29 AM
Without training, the Myers-Briggs instrument can be totally mis-applied. For example, in my experience, I think that it is totally inappropriate to refer to the instrument as a predictor of "brain type".

It is used by many, many corporations as a measurement of "personality type", and is often used to assist in building project teams. As much as anything else, it is useful in recognizing various traits in others. If you are able to recognize the pattern of another person, the assumption is that you then will be able to communicate better with them, and that you are also likely to know their leadership qualities and their preferred work habits.

But under no circumstances would you ever, under any circumstances, want an entire team of one personality type. For example, let's take the allegedly most prevalent NBA type of ISTP. A team full of sensers would basically be a team full of guys that simply don't recognize anything until it pops up and hits them smack dab in the middle of the forehead. In other words, as a team, they would significantly suck defensively since without intuition they would not do very well in anticipating the moves of their opponents.

My type, INTJ, on the other hand, would be a very analytical team. They would be a group of perfectionists who pay close attention to the details, so they would probably be a fundamentally sound group. But they would overthink every single possession, probably resulting in many shot clock violations.

The bottom line is this.... every team needs a decent mix of personality types. The important thing is how well you can get those personality types to recognize each other and mesh.

But, and this is a very important but, the Myers-Briggs has nothing to do with the athletic skills and talents that a player possesses. It is only a predictor of the personality of the player, and how that player might fit into your scheme of doing things, and how he might mesh with the personalities of the players that are already on your team.

SoupIsGood
07-30-2007, 12:36 AM
Apparently, I'm an Idealist.

Idealists pretty much rock. (INFP)

Haggard
07-30-2007, 06:46 AM
Id also love to know if any of our overseas friends or fans of other teams have any knowledge of what their local franchises believe in these 2 areas.


Tbird

For what its worth with new age stats...

I know that this doesn't entirely fit into Tbirds post but it could be interesting to see how different sports monitor players efforts on the field.

In the Australian Football Leage (AFL) a few teams have from time to time placed a small monitoring device on a players jersey (mainly the centre players whos job it is to run the whole field), from this they can monitor (GPS probably) how far a player has ran in a game, this can be further broken down to how far they sprinted, jogged, walked and stood still. It isn't used that often but teams do see it as a good way to measure work ethic.

Also, the coaching staff uses a 'contested' and 'uncontested' possession statistic. A contested possession is when a player recieved the ball when he is open and a uncontested possession is when a player recieves the ball when it is loose or when its in a pack of players or when he has a player right on him contesting for the ball. This is used mainly to gauge how often a player is prepared to put his body on the line to get the ball.

I don't know how this type of statistics would benefit basketball at all but you may find it interesting to see how different sports do things.

bulldog
07-30-2007, 08:41 AM
In the Australian Football Leage (AFL) a few teams have from time to time placed a small monitoring device on a players jersey (mainly the centre players whos job it is to run the whole field), from this they can monitor (GPS probably) how far a player has ran in a game, this can be further broken down to how far they sprinted, jogged, walked and stood still. It isn't used that often but teams do see it as a good way to measure work ethic.


In soccer they always have stats on who ran how much during the game, although I don't think any sensors are involved. Don't know how they do it, actually.


The Jazz got Milsap, in the 2nd round, because he led the NCAA in rebounding 3 straight years.

And Adam Morison led in scoring, apparently that doesn't mean much, eh? Obviously, any statistical measure is gonna favor a guy who's been putting up good numbers for a long time, but they also factor in the competition against which they played and things like that.

ChicagoJ
07-30-2007, 12:05 PM
MBTI, one of my favorite non-basketball topics.

I'm an ENTP. That's "frankenstein" for those of you that haven't found this.

http://soli.inav.net/~catalyst/Humor/mbtihaha.htm <= Very funny, you need to read this if you've taken the test or know your score.

The MBTI was EXTEMELY useful in helping me pick the right career for myself when I was in business school.

However, to get meaningful results, you have to have enough real-world experience to answer the questions properly. When I was younger, I thought I was more of a TJ. I'm always borderline N/S. Once I figured out the TP it made a huge difference in my career satisfaction. Anyway, that's the problem with using it on undergrads/ college athletes - not enough real world/ real work experience to get the right results.


===========

Also, I agree with Beast23's observations. There is a right way and a wrong way to interpret the results from a temperment test.

CableKC
07-30-2007, 12:32 PM
I want the test done to me. MBTI me baby!

EDIT: Found a test online - Looks like I'm "iNTj"

http://keirsey.com/personality/ntij.html
How do you take this test?

Do you have to register or something?

JayRedd
07-30-2007, 12:46 PM
Idealists pretty much rock. (INFP)

Of course we do.

The first one just gave me the general "idealist" tag (you had to pay for more details, I think), but I tried another and got ENFP. Reading some of these descriptions about certain character traits is rather eerie. Some of the stuff just sounds like generalities that could apply to anyone (like astrology stuff), but then I'll read a sentence that is so spot on that it sounds like they're describing me exactly. Like this:

"In terms of the management of time, ENFPs find it particularly difficult to estimate accurately how long an activity will take. Because people's needs are more important than schedules, ENFPs are often late and characteristically full of apologies for their tardiness."


How do you take this test?

Do you have to register or something?

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

This one seemed easy enough. Not sure how accurate/valid it is, but seemed in line with the other link that was posted.

ChicagoJ
07-30-2007, 12:48 PM
How do you take this test?

Do you have to register or something?

There are simplified/ shortcut versions of it on the web, but I don't think you can find the official version for free (or even for something affordable.)

Naptown_Seth
07-31-2007, 03:03 AM
Apparently, I'm an Idealist.
You know I'm a dreamer
but my heart's of gold
I had to run away and hide
'cause I couldn't go home



I'm a INTP, which if anyone is familiar with them should come as no surprise given my postings on here, ie logic demands and enjoyment of stats. :)


IMO there is no such thing as a coach who doesn't use stats. Just because you are going by "gut instinct" doesn't mean that your gut isn't going to your brain's file system and saying "how often have we seen a guy that did X end up doing Y?" and coming back with an answer, which is then used to make a decision.

Just because you take your experiences and instead of writing them down you just let your brain merge it into your previous memories to create a new understanding doesn't mean you haven't tallied up events. In fact if you have a very detail oriented brain you might have totalled them up very closely to the correct amount.

BUT not everyone does, and often gut instinct is based on misremembering events or giving too much weight to particularly emotional events.


Stats aren't bad or as I suggest above they aren't even truly different than gut instinct. What makes them bad is poor record keeping (bad memory) or mis-analyzing, and that can include bad formulas, relying too much on one number or mis-application of good numbers/formulas.


When you say "Tinsley is a bad defender, he gets beat off the dribble all the time", that's a number. You don't know the exact amount, but you have seen instances that you qualified as in the "bad defense" category and added them to the list in your head, thus forming an opinion.

What I like about "traditional" statistics is it pulls these magic formulas and data collection a bit out of the subjective brains of each person and into the more objective common area where we all can see them. What's great about them is they force the "gut instinct" guy to define what he means by "bad defense" or "often", and this either points out flaws in the process OR strengthens his stance.

Unfortunately whenever it points out flaws the person gets ****ed off and brushes stats off as "twisted numbers" or lies via Twain. ;) People are rarely warm to the idea of finding out they might have misjudged or over/under valued something.

Me, I love stats specifically because they do force me to rethink my views and better define them. I've thought a guy scored a lot, defended a lot, got to the free throw line a lot, only to check and find out it wasn't true.



Using one stat is foolish, but so is using one part of your gut instinct. Say you've "never seen a guy named Reggie that didn't shine in the spotlight", thinking of Reggie Jackson and Reggie Miller, maybe even guys like Reggie Theus, etc. That still doesn't make it a good way to pick your star player, just going with the guy named Reggie on a gut feeling.

The stat guy would point out all the other Reggies that never did a darn thing. And the gut guy would hate him for it and still sign Reggie Evans to a huge contract.


PS - you might also not be surprised that I'm big into reading Steven Pinker's stuff, working on "How the Mind Works" and then going to hit "The Blank Slate". Good stuff, really fascinating and written in a very light and breezy tone. :D

JayRedd
08-12-2007, 03:10 PM
Thought this was interesting.

Also, it's nice to know that me and KG have more in common than just being uber-athletic 7 footers headed for the Hall of Fame.

http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2007/08/12/they_back_this_comeback?mode=PF


Putting their heads together
Throughout the Celtics' predraft process, Jon "The Brain Doctor" Niednagel was omnipresent, unmistakable in his track suits, usually trailing slightly behind Danny Ainge. While the trade for Kevin Garnett did not hinge on the brain type of the 10-time All-Star, it probably crossed the mind of Ainge. For the record, Niednagel categorizes Garnett as ENFP (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving), a classification nicknamed "the Motivator" and in sports generally linked to gymnasts. In his book, "Your Key to Sports Success," Niednagel describes those with an ENFP brain type as "highly energetic, enthusiastic, charming, imaginative, improvisational; sees possibilities; spontaneous; easily bored with repetition; enjoys solving people's problems; catalyst, marketer." What does this all mean on the court for a brain type that also includes Yao Ming, David Robinson, Marcus Camby, Jerry Stackhouse, Chris Webber, and Chuck Person? "In hoops, they love to move, jump, shoot, and block shots," wrote Niednagel. "They perform with active grace and are well represented in the NBA." When describing how ENFPs respond to pressure, Niednagel adds, "ENFPs tend to become too hyper, playing out of control. Loving to jump, they'll bound into the air to make a move without first surveying the floor. This can lead to untimely turnovers. Relying upon Feelings as their prime decision-making function, they may make unwise choices, acting too hastily." Paul Pierce falls into the ISFP category (Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving), which is characterized as displaying artistic, athletic, and graceful tendencies and being sensitive, impulsive, sympathetic, and freedom-loving. For those looking for clues about how Pierce and Garnett might coexist, consider that Tim Duncan was an ISFP and he won two championships beside ENFP Robinson.