The Timberwolves get it. They understand the value of sports analytics. In fact, they are part of the trend toward finding and employing better data to build and develop a better team. So they allow themselves to be caught on camera for it. Six small cameras, actually. They are positioned in designated parts of the Target Center rafters to record information on players -- 25 images per second. The information feeds into a computer database and is accessed in the upper-level press box. Welcome to SportVU, a research-gathering, camera-based system founded and operated by STATS in Northbrook, Ill. The Timberwolves are one of 15 NBA teams to have it and just completed their second season with it. "I can see within the next three to five years every team in the league using this system," said Matt Bollero, an assistant in the Wolves' basketball operations department who oversees the team's analytics research. Bollero, a former basketball player at DePauw University, helps sort the information and prepare it for the Wolves' coaching staff. In some cases, R.J. Adelman, son of Wolves coach Rick Adelman and the team's director of player personnel/game preparation, will go over specific data with the coaches to provide immediate help for a player. R.J. became familiar with SportVU when he and his father were with the Houston Rockets before coming to the Wolves. Bollero was instrumental in recommending SportVU to the Wolves two years ago after attending the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, an annual event Rockets general manager Daryl Morey helped start in 2007. This year's conference was attended by 29 of the NBA's 30 teams, with the Los Angeles Lakers being the only no-show.
Sports' new math: Timberwolves embrace use of analytics as a tool to evaluate players
St. Paul Pioneer Press | Apr 21