Scalabrine to make use of advanced stats during broadcasts, Heinsohn to scoff at majority of them

Advanced stats will be creeping their way into the Celtics broadcasts this season, and some commentators will make more use of them than others. Brian Scalabrine plans to fully embrace them, and according to the Boston Herald's Mark Murphy, is by far the most enthusiastic of the crew.

Points per 100 possessions on offense and defense, rebound percentage, and possessions per game are said to be the main stats the broadcast will draw from. Using advanced stats is great for serious basketball fans, but may not translate to casual viewers. That issue, as well as acknowledging the usefulness of the numbers was addressed by Scalabrine in Murphy's article.

“But now the stats I’m using, I’m going to use all year long. I’ll really get into points per possession. It’s the most relevant stat. It gives me a chance to illustrate just how effective Isaiah Thomas is on the pick-and-roll, for example. But that’s the extent of it,” he said. “Maybe as we move on we’ll use more (advanced statistics), but for the layman it also has to be clear enough to be understood.”

Tommy Heinsohn seems to have the opposite reaction to using advanced stats, but is not completely dismissing their usefulness. He seems to be more of the thought that while the information is useful, it is just not necessary to hit fans over the head with them.

“When they break the game down to that, they’re splitting hairs,” said the two-time Hall of Famer, who could conceivably be inducted a third time, based on his history as a broadcaster. “They can get so caught up in splitting hairs that they don’t get to the big things. The way they break it down to the nth degree, how much does the fan actually need that way?”

Heinsohn also mentions a stat he loves, which is shots attempted per game, one that is very indicative of pace of play. Mike Gorman, the Celtics broadcast team's common sensed center, seems to be firmly in the middle on the advanced stats debate, and acknowledges that it reflects the changes in the game. I think all of these opinions have merit, and it will be fun to have two very different approaches from the broadcast booth in our home and away games.

The stats are obviously useful as additional info to what is happening during games and throughout the season, but I don't want to live in a world where Tommy Heinsohn has to back up comparing Greg Stiemsma to Bill Russell with statistical proof. Scal, handle the numbers. Tommy, trust your gut.

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