Danny Ainge discusses the merits of sports analytics: 'It's not like a new invention.'

On-base percentage has been around for a while.
After the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference took center stage in Boston this past weekend, USA Today's Sam Amick talked with Celtics GM Danny Ainge about the "Moneyball" philosophy in the NBA.  While Ainge clearly values statistical analysis as a useful tool (head coach Brad Stevens and AGM Mike Zarren are both big numbers guys), he doesn't seem to think it's a major breakthrough in recent times:

"It's not like a new invention. It's like a new world of people who are now involved in the game that weren't before — smart people. And so I like our group of people (with the Celtics). I love talking to them. I'm trying to teach them about basketball, and they're trying to teach me about analytics. And I think it's important, so I think it's all good." 
"I don't see it as that much different from when I was coaching (the Phoenix Suns from 1996 to 2000). When I coached, I looked at numbers. I looked at lineup numbers. I looked at certain things. The numbers are more sophisticated, more accessible, and we have more people doing it. But in some ways, there are a lot of the same things but just different ways to get there and with fancier words and so forth. It's sort of like a buzzword of 'on-base percentage.' That became a big deal (during the Moneyball craze), but that was emphasized when I played baseball back in high school." 
"You win with great players, obviously. That's the one way everybody knows how to win. But I think everybody is looking for an edge. Everybody is looking for little tweaks in the system."

 I agree in principle with Ainge's point, but his quotes also remind me of my mother who still turns the TV on channel 5 to watch the news because she hasn't figured out that it's much better on 805 in HD.

Follow Mark Vandeusen on twitter @LucidSportsFan