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.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.
Analytics will always tell you that's a bad idea -- even if he's Kobe Bryant.When Philly hired Sam Hinkie in May 2013, the team became a test case for the GM's plan: dump overvalued mediocrity, lose (a lot) with cheap role players and load up on picks.With five staffers devoted to picking apart the CBA, mining player health and minting theories on roster construction, Hinkie has topped his former boss, Rockets GM Daryl Morey, as the NBA's most ardent analytic master.While the thrifty Marlins might have broken convention by shelling out 5-million for Giancarlo Stanton, they're still reluctant to spend big on sabermetrics.After going through five managers and five losing seasons in five years, they are looking to hire, um, interns to get their analytics program off the ground.Now "Moreyball" -- an up-tempo system that eschews midrange shots in favor of fast breaks and 3s -- is the NBA standard.The Sixers may be on the come, but "the Rockets continue to increase investment in analytics," Morey says, "and we try to stay ahead of the competition." With all due respect to Mr.So far, Bryant has been worth minus-0.2 win shares since last season and is modeling suits courtside with a torn right rotator cuff.To be fair, the Lakers are waking up, if late, to the movement."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.