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MagicRat
11-04-2010, 09:52 AM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703506904575592363492225220.html?m od=WSJ_LifeStyle_Sports_RightTopCarousel_1

<!-- ID: SB10001424052748703506904575592363492225220 --> <!-- TYPE: The Count --> <!-- DISPLAY-NAME: The Count --> <!-- PUBLICATION: The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition --> <!-- DATE: 2010-11-04 00:01 --> <!-- COPYRIGHT: Dow Jones & Company, Inc. --> <!-- ORIGINAL-ID: --> <!-- article start --> <!-- CODE=DJII-SUBJECT SYMBOL=gspo CODE=DJII-REGION SYMBOL=usa CODE=DJII-SUBJECT SYMBOL=ncat CODE=DJII-SUBJECT SYMBOL=nfact CODE=DJII-SUBJECT SYMBOL=nfce CODE=DJII-SUBJECT SYMBOL=nrgn CODE=DJII-REGION SYMBOL=namz CODE=SUBJECT SYMBOL=OSPO CODE=STATISTIC SYMBOL=FREE --> Do NBA Coaches Actually Make an Impact?

Here's the good news for the NBA's three first-time head coaches this season: There's very little chance you're going to make your players worse.

Here's the bad news: Chances are slim that you'll make them any better.

In a league where coaching turnover is rampant—almost eight changes per season over the past two decades—a study co-written by Southern Utah University economics professor Dave Berri suggests that fewer than a quarter of NBA coaches between 1977 and 2008 had any significant effect on their players' performance.

Mr. Berri looked at 62 coaches in the three-decade span, only including those who worked long enough to have 15 everyday players come to their team after their arrival, as well as 15 everyday players leave (this was to make sure each coach had a sizable roster of players to analyze). Mr. Berri used his wins-produced metric—which shows how many wins a player is worth by seeing how his statistics correlate to winning—to measure the players' performances and see whether they significantly improved or declined. If they did, then the coach passed the so-called effectiveness test.

Phil Jackson, who has won a record 11 titles, is worth 17.1 wins to his teams per year according to this metric—the most in the sample. But Hall of Famer Pat Riley had no significant effect at all; neither did well-known coaches such as Jeff Van Gundy and Jerry Sloan. Then there's Matt Guokas, who compiled a .430 winning percentage in seven years as head coach. He's the only person in this sample to make his players significantly worse.
<cite class="tagline">—David Biderman</cite>

The Ones Who Matter
A recent study shows the majority of experienced NBA coaches in the past few decades had no significant effect on their players' performance. Here are some of the well-known exceptions. *
<table width="100%"><tbody><tr class="odd"><td align="left" valign="top"> MOST EFFECTIVE COACHES </td><td align="center" valign="top"> HOW MANY 'WINS' THEY CONTRIBUTE A SEASON </td></tr> <tr class="even"><td align="left" valign="top"> Phil Jackson
</td><td align="center" valign="top">17.1</td></tr> <tr class="odd"><td align="left" valign="top"> Gregg Popovich
</td><td align="center" valign="top">15.9</td></tr> <tr class="even"><td align="left" valign="top"> Cotton Fitzsimmons
</td><td align="center" valign="top">15.8</td></tr> <tr class="odd"><td align="left" valign="top"> Jim O'Brien
</td><td align="center" valign="top">12</td></tr> <tr class="even"><td align="left" valign="top"> Gene Shue
</td><td align="center" valign="top">11.5</td></tr> <tr class="odd"><td align="left" valign="top"> Don Nelson
</td><td align="center" valign="top">11.2</td></tr> <tr class="even"><td align="left" valign="top"> Flip Saunders
</td><td align="center" valign="top">10.7</td></tr></tbody></table>

smj887
11-04-2010, 10:14 AM
Personally, I question how they calculated that data. Does Phil Jackson add 17 wins a year to his team? Or is it just good timing that he went and coached a young Michael Jordan through the peak of his career, and then Kobe Bryant? There's really no way to account for roster changes like that. Then again, what if Phil developed those two into what they became, and without Phil they would have been perennial All-Stars but never champions?

Conversely, I think it's short sighted to suggest that they can't impact a game very much. They definitely don't have the degree of influence that an NFL head coach would have, but things like rotations and preparation have to be accounted for. Certainly if a coach came in and played his deep bench 48 minutes, he'd be responsible for a massive reduction in wins. The thing is, most coaches come into a situation where the roster isn't totally overhauled, so the things they can do to add wins to the total become much more diminished because they're using a very similar recipe to what the last guy did in terms of playing time and (likely) practice.

I think a good coach can probably squeeze out ten more wins from a team, with all things being held equal. But a bad coach can definitely hurt his team a lot more than a good coach can help, especially if said bad coach plays his potentially All-Star center less than 30 minutes and insists on using bad veterans over younger, more athletic players.

cinotimz
11-04-2010, 11:02 AM
Hmmmm. So based on this, with JOB we won 32 games last year, but with Riley, Sloan, or JVG we only wouldve won 20?

Sorry. Aint buying it.

Brad8888
11-04-2010, 12:02 PM
The author apparently mis-sourced this study. He should have said it was co-written by Dave Barry, humor columnist for the Miami Herald.

BRushWithDeath
11-04-2010, 12:10 PM
As long as they are in charge of who plays and when they play, they have a profound impact.

aaronb
11-04-2010, 12:12 PM
NBA coaches don't really matter. An elite guy like Phil Jackson might add a couple of wins. However most guys are just babysitters. The players determine the outcomes.

beast23
11-04-2010, 12:23 PM
Well jee-wizz.... I was wondering what our problem was.

All we had to do then was to bring in someone like Isaiah Thomas to coach last season and we could have had one of the top 3-4 picks for certain.

Bummer.

;)

beast23
11-04-2010, 12:32 PM
I don't believe coaches are capable of directly contributing to the number of wins per season that is attributed to these coaches... at least not during any one season.

I do believe that the greatest contribution that can be made by a coach is in a total culture change of a team's personnel. For example, prior to Larry Brown coming to the Pacers, we were not a very successful defensive team.

Brown changed that. He took the team's emerging star and over time transformed him from a player that did not expend much energy at all on defense to a pretty good defensive player. If you get buy-in from your star player, then it is a given that you will eventually get buy-in from the other players as well. From that point on, that particular team put just as much emphasis on defense as it did on offense. Had that never happened, then the Pacers probably would not have ultimately gone to the finals, even though they were with a different coach by then.

Dr. Awesome
11-04-2010, 12:33 PM
NBA coaches don't really matter. An elite guy like Phil Jackson might add a couple of wins. However most guys are just babysitters. The players determine the outcomes.

...who decides who plays and who doesn't?

Peck
11-04-2010, 12:38 PM
Jim O'Brien
12
Gene Shue
11.5
Don Nelson
11.2
Flip Saunders
10.7


My God what a rogues gallery of coaching.

Honestly if you just showed me a list of the above coach's without the context of the article I would have thought you were showing me a list of the worst coach's to have any tenure in the league of all time.

pacer4ever
11-04-2010, 12:56 PM
...who decides who plays and who doesn't?

JOB should not that is the reason i hate him

Trophy
11-04-2010, 01:13 PM
One coach that impacts a team Scott Skiles.

He works his players hard and helps improve them. He also plays an all around system that suits all of the role players.

If Skiles was our coach, I think Darren would benefit the most.

aaronb
11-04-2010, 03:12 PM
...who decides who plays and who doesn't?

JOB directly, with likely some prodding from the Front Office. But it's not like JOB has Dr. J buried on this Pacers bench. The guys who should play are the guys playing 30+ minutes per night.

JOB/2009-2010 Pacers actually performed within a game of their pythag numbers from last year according to Basketball reference.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/IND/2010/splits/

Psycho T
11-04-2010, 04:17 PM
I think people forget what makes certain coaches " elite " is the ability to teach during practice and teach during games. Guys like Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan are those types of coaches. Coaches are significant to their teams consistency not only on a game to game basis but during a single game .. Anyone who thinks coaches dont matter is.. well.. crazy IMO.

Mackey_Rose
11-04-2010, 04:53 PM
JOB directly, with likely some prodding from the Front Office. But it's not like JOB has Dr. J buried on this Pacers bench. The guys who should play are the guys playing 30+ minutes per night.

JOB/2009-2010 Pacers actually performed within a game of their pythag numbers from last year according to Basketball reference.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/IND/2010/splits/

That has most definitely not been the case in year's past, and I would venture to say similar problems are already (are you alive AJ Price?) occurring this year.

Sookie
11-04-2010, 05:08 PM
It most certianly has an impact.

Who you choose to play, has a direct impact on whether you win or not.
In game adjustments have a direct impact on whether you win or not.
And sometimes offensive philosophy can hurt/help you..not to mention team defense.

Do players, essentially decide whether the team wins or loses. Essentially, but it's only those players that are on the court. And because of this, a coach greatly decrease or increase a chance of a win or loss.

Eleazar
11-04-2010, 06:27 PM
I don't think the impact of a coach can be mathematically calculated. It just isn't that simple. What makes a coach good or bad for a team has too many variables, and there is no way to say for sure that it is the coach.

Phil Jackson is a perfect example of how it is too complex. He walked into a situation with Jordan, Pippen, and Grant/Rodman, then went to a situation of Kobe and Shaq. Is he really that good or did he just walk into a situation where it would take one of the worst coaches to not be a championship contender?

Brad8888
11-04-2010, 08:00 PM
If coaches didn't have an impact in the NBA, they wouldn't be paid millions of dollars to be coaches.

BlueNGold
11-04-2010, 08:14 PM
An NBA study by a Southern Utah University economics professor? Are you kidding me?

I can assure you that NBA coaches have a huge impact. They can play Murphy close to 40 minutes a game and lose a lot of games doing it. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or an economics professor to see that.

In any event, I have no beef with how JOb is coaching this year except the AJ Price benching. JOb, however, is not a great coach...which this silly study implies. He is merely an average NBA coach.

Sorry, but NBA GM's know quite a bit more about who the best coaches are in the league...a lot more than some academic who should be focused on his day job(economics), assuming he knows anything about that.

Edit: Looking over Berri's background, blogs and web sites which are easy to find on the internet, he does seem fixated on the economics of sport and has PhD. In fact, he went to college for 10 straight years and has taught in academia ever since that time. I suppose that makes him right...;<)

BlueNGold
11-04-2010, 08:44 PM
Hmmmm. So based on this, with JOB we won 32 games last year, but with Riley, Sloan, or JVG we only wouldve won 20?

Sorry. Aint buying it.

This is precisely what his math is telling us. Imagine if the Pacers had a bad coach. We may have won less than 10 games.

BTW, the author tends to have a bone to pick with people who follow conventional wisdom based on his published web sites...and he uses statistics to prove his points. Stats lie folks. Here are some of his reviews:

“When I read the book, I was impressed by the amount of effort that went into compiling the reams of data that underlie the work... The fundamental case the authors make is that the statistical analysis shows that the conventional wisdom about sports is dead wrong -- that the data, as they put it, ‘offers many surprises.’” Joe Nocera, New York Times

“The Wage of Wins brilliantly and provocatively argues that our eyes betray us when we watch professional athletes. To see the truth about how good a point guard or quarterback is, we need the help of algorithms.” Malcolm Gladwell


http://www.wagesofwins.com/
Source: Mr. Berri's web site


The data...:rolleyes:

cordobes
11-04-2010, 08:48 PM
Mr. Berri looked at 62 coaches in the three-decade span, only including those who worked long enough to have 15 everyday players come to their team after their arrival, as well as 15 everyday players leave (this was to make sure each coach had a sizable roster of players to analyze). Mr. Berri used his wins-produced metric—which shows how many wins a player is worth by seeing how his statistics correlate to winning—to measure the players' performances and see whether they significantly improved or declined. If they did, then the coach passed the so-called effectiveness test.

Interesting, but I'd like to see the results of applying this methodology to a different metric. WPs is so friendly towards role-players who play within their limits that guys like Popovich and Jackson have a huge advantage - they always coach teams where role-players can be just role-players.

I agree this is something basically impossible to measure. Still fun to try.


Jim O'Brien
12
Gene Shue
11.5
Don Nelson
11.2
Flip Saunders
10.7


My God what a rogues gallery of coaching.

Honestly if you just showed me a list of the above coach's without the context of the article I would have thought you were showing me a list of the worst coach's to have any tenure in the league of all time.

From Shue I only remember the Bullets teams with Ruland. They would always play the Celtics well, always play hard-nosed basketball. I like the rest of them. Except maybe Flip Saunders, up to a point. Good coach for a bad team but he lacks composure under pressure. What did Shaq call SVG in Miami? It'd fit Saunders much better. I think that was part of the reason why he lost the confidence of his players in Detroit. Otherwise a very fine coach too.

Magic-man
11-04-2010, 08:52 PM
Coaches do effect the number of wins a team gets. Though how can you measure how many one coach adds to what another coach would add? you can't because every team and coach is different.

You are kidding your self if you think they do not have an effect on the numbers of wins... and NO its not all on the players.

Coaches are responsible for:
- Deciding who plays, when they play, who plays together, how many mins.
- In game decisions.
- In game strategies.
- Trainings.
- Getting the most out of a player.
- Keeping Egos at check.

and many more things.

BlueNGold
11-04-2010, 08:57 PM
Does this mean that JOb is the 4th best coach in the NBA over the course of 30 years?...out of presumably 62 of the best with some level of tenure. Does anyone truly believe this?

If so, why are the executives and their experts in the NBA...who have millions to spend determining who to coach their teams wrong about JOb, but this dude in Southern Utah correct? Who do you believe?

Brad8888
11-04-2010, 09:35 PM
Does this mean that JOb is the 4th best coach in the NBA over the course of 30 years?...out of presumably 62 of the best with some level of tenure. Does anyone truly believe this?

If so, why are the executives and their experts in the NBA...who have millions to spend determining who to coach their teams wrong about JOb, but this dude in Southern Utah correct? Who do you believe?

Hot streaks don't exist, either.

Jetman
11-04-2010, 10:28 PM
I think that a coaches ability to win or lose is much more influenced by the quality of his players than his coaching ability. Aside from Jackson, I remember Mike D'Antoni had an incredible record as coach of the suns. Many thought due to his euro philosophy and great ability. However, if he could've come to new york and won with a terrible roster, then he would be hailed as a genius. He is not stupid, but a great coach cant polish a turd. But you cant tell if he is a terrible coach or not because he aint winning with inferior talent.

So the philosophy and x and o's and teaching ability are important, but even more so is the team that the coach coaches.

Even with JOB, i saw part of the game last night. Philly was hitting a lot of tough shots. Indy was shooting a lot of wide open shots, and missing. That is not due to bad coaching. Even when Granger says that he is going to the rim more, and actually does it, then the next game turns into super-chucker, i dont think that was part of the coaching plan.