Yanir A. Rubinstein from SB Nation’s Washington Wizards site Bullets Forever had a chance to interview Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Larry Harris during the 2019 NBA Finals and published an interview primarily about the process of franchise building.
Most of the interview covers something that we already know about the Warriors’ culture that I personally appreciate: the way pretty much all decisions on draft night are made collaboratively, which is a key component to how they’ve been so successful over the last five years (and, occasionally, why they’ve avoided pitfalls). There’s some tidbits about guys like Jordan Bell and Patrick McCaw that I think has been covered before (or assumed) as well.
However, Bullets Forever provided us this excerpt from the article about how the Warriors manage in-person scouting with analytics in the process of making draft selections.
BF: We’ve all seen “Moneyball” the movie. Obviously you can’t go out to all the colleges and all the European leagues out there. Do you have some sort of a filter that the analytics people provide for you to reduce the number of players you have to physically watch?
LH: Well, there are two parts to it. The analytics is something we certainly incorporate in our scouting. But I would say the analytics is just part of the process. We have staff in Europe and in some sense, we work for them and they work for us: they sift through players all over the world, to find the younger players they think we should see when we go over there.
And then internally, in the United States, we identify the players that we want our European staff to see when they come over here and see how the international players compare to those American players. And then we use analytics to cover all leagues and say `OK, what players are playing well, what analytics are jumping out to confirm what we’re seeing with our eyes.
There are probably very few players that among our entire staff of nine we have not seen live. But we may not have seen a player enough. We need to go back and see a player again if we see a jump analytically over a two-month period.
With the team possibly in a particularly precarious salary cap management situation entering the 2019-20 season, this upcoming draft pick will be particularly important to nail — we’ll get to see if their process paid off tomorrow.
Check out the full interview at Bullets Forever.