RealGM's NBA Team Licensing Featured In Mercury News
San Jose Mercury News/Sean Webby - 06/16 - 2:02 PM EST
Some basketball officials say RealGM represents a sports-management sea change on the order of the ``Moneyball'' philosophy that took root in baseball -- using hard data rather than traditional human expertise to accurately predict player potential.
``It's a unique tool. It allows you to brainstorm very, very quickly,'' said Tommy Sheppard, director of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards , who bought the program last year. ``Like chess, you have to stay three moves ahead in this league and keep yourself fiscally responsible. In this day and age, you have to look at every technological opportunity to make your team better, whether it's a Blackberry, or this.''
Basketball was behind the times. Even dreaming up simple trades required a mastery of the CBA and expensive in-house lawyers and accountants.
Why not leave much of the dirty work to a software program that would analyze all the permutations of NBA financial arcana -- salary caps, mid-level player exceptions, ``Larry Bird rights'' -- and in seconds give a general manager only the information that he needed: players who could be traded for other players.
The Pacers loved the idea that Ryan Hoak and Michael Benbow created and agreed to help develop the ``pro'' version of RealGM's Trade Checker program, with far more comprehensive capability to sort players and calculate deals.
RealGM officials are ramping up this summer to spread that sentiment to the rest of the NBA and maybe beyond.
Todd Essman, RealGM's chief operating officer and legal counsel, directs the marketing push to the rest of the league.
``I tend to liken RealGM to Turbo Tax,'' said Essman, 32. ``Widespread usage is inevitable when people gradually recognize that there is a better way of doing business over previous manual, pencil-and-paper methods.''
Now six teams are licensing RealGM -- the Pacers, the New Jersey Nets , the Bulls, the Houston Rockets , the Wizards and the San Antonio Spurs .
RealGM officials point out that all of their clients made the playoffs this year. The Spurs are in the NBA finals.
More teams are on the cusp, Essman said.
Beyond NBA usage, the site has become the hot spot for basketball connoisseurs, the types who spend all night debating online about Mark Cuban's personnel moves in Dallas or whether Boston will trade Paul Pierce. [READ]