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Roland Beech, VP of basketball strategy and founder of 82games.com, was the NBA's first bench "stats coach" when Dallas won the 2011 title, and Cuban's faith in tech company Catapult, which gauges player workload to keep vets like Dirk Nowitzki healthy, is so strong he invested several million dollars in it just last year.
Moneyball is alive and well in Oakland, but since that seminal book was published in '03, the league has upped its investment in sabermetrics, closing the gap on Billy Beane. In 2009, GM Stan Bowman became one of the first NHL execs to hire an outside analytics firm -- half a decade before 2014's "Summer of Analytics" hit the ice.
But don't overlook a stable front office -- GM Brian Cashman since 1998, manager Joe Girardi since 2008 and director of quantitative analysis Michael Fishman since 2005 -- and a reliance on metrics.
Girardi consults with Fishman on tendencies before each series, and Cashman talks constantly with a 15-deep analytics staff, saying he used "hit velos" (ball speed off the bat) to justify last year's deal for third baseman Chase Headley.
"He has a vision," says Sixers forward Robert Covington.
"We're going to turn this around." While not as drastic as the Sixers' scorched-earth model, Houston has made metrics the foundation of its revival.
To be fair, the Lakers are waking up, if late, to the movement.After 84 years without a Series win, the Sox were salvaged in '02 by John Henry, an owner whose fortune grew from data-driven investments.Henry whiffed on hiring Billy Beane but landed like-minded sabermetricians Bill James and Tom Tippett and made wunderkind Theo Epstein GM.During their run of five titles in 16 years, the Spurs paved the way for several analytical tenets now gospel in the NBA, the foremost being that the corner 3 is the game's most efficient shot.They've taken more and made more than any other team in the past decade.