NBA

Gregg Popovich will be getting some help with analytics.

Spurs think outside the box again with hiring of former Grantland contributor

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The San Antonio Spurs have been dining at the NBA's top table for the past couple of decades, and, in order to remain there, the Texas franchise has often gone against the grain.

Outside the box

Amongst the first to embrace the potential of Euro players, more recently the Spurs have been credited with thinking outside the box in the hirings of Ettore Messina and Becky Hammon as assistant coaches.

It looks like Gregg Popovich and co. have done it again this week after former Grantland.com contributor Kirk Goldsberry revealed he will be taking on an analytics role with the Spurs.

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Speaking during an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Goldsberry confirmed he has been working with the 50-9 Spurs, and would continue to do so. He speaks about the topic around the 40-minute mark.

Goldsberry has made his name as someone who is able to break down complex shooting analytics into infographics and data that fans can easily digest. In adding him to the staff, it looks like San Antonio are hoping he will be able to do the same for their roster.

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During his time with Grantland, he developed a reputation as someone incredibly knowledgeable about the game, and he has showcased this both in his analytical work and his writing.

Trust the Spurs to take a man who has effectively made his living as a data journalist and bring him into the inner NBA circle.

Orlando Magic v San Antonio Spurs

Ahead of the curve

As alluded to earlier, San Antonio has built something of a reputation for making moves few others franchises would even have considered - and they've reaped the benefits of such apparent gambles.

Other teams - notably the Grizzlies and Kings - have hired in analytics experts from the media world in the past, but the Spurs are now putting themselves in a strong position as the drive towards analytics continues apace in the NBA.

Having helped lead the way in harnessing the talent of European players, and hired the first-ever full-time female assistant this is just another example of the Western Conference franchise doing their best to get ahead of the curve.

San Antonio Spurs Coach Becky Hammon

Gregg Popovich has previously claimed ignorance regarding the use of analytics in the NBA and, regardless of how honest the head coach was being, it looks like the Spurs are doing their best to surround him with some of the leading lights in the area.

While Goldsberry's impact will, ironically, be hard to analyse from a far it will please Spurs fans to see, once again, that their franchise aren't afraid to take an unexpected step to stay at the pinnacle of the sport.

Topics:
NBA
San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
Kawhi Leonard
Tim Duncan
Tony Parker

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