by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings basketball operations division has been under fire during the entire transition to the new ownership group headed by Vivek Ranadive. When the initial front office staff was dismissed and turned over to a staff headed by former Kings star Vlade Divac, the concern was the executive group lacked experience.
As the Divac era progressed, the lack of experience criticism continued to grow with transactions like the one with Philadelphia that could cost the Kings valuable position in the upcoming draft lottery. There have also been rumors that the minority owners group have been pressuring Ranadive to increase the size of the basketball operations staff and reshape it into a more traditional NBA style structure.
The two new additions to the basketball operations staff show that someone in the ownership group is listening.
Kings add Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations
The Kings have hired Scott Perry as executive vice president of basketball operations. Perry has been in “the association” in various positions since 2000.
Perry has spent the previous five seasons as the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Orlando Magic. He served in the same capacity for the Detroit Pistons when they won the NBA Championship in 2004. Perry was assistant general manager in Seattle when the Supersonics drafted Kevin Durant.
Perry also has considerable experience at the collegiate level. He was the head basketball coach at Eastern Kentucky from 1997-2000. Perry spent time as an assistant coach at the University of Michigan, UC Berkeley and Detroit Mercy.
“I am thrilled that Scott will be joining our front office team,” said Divac. “His extensive experience in the league and management talents will help build our progress as we work to develop a winning franchise.”
Perry will report directly to Divac and will assist in all areas of the day-to-day basketball operations.
It’s a numbers game
The days of “going with your gut” to select talent from the draft for you NBA team are over. Yes, it worked for Hall of Fame coaches like Auerbach, Sharman and even Don Nelson. Those great coaches had to go by the “gut” and the most basic of stats because that was all that they had available to them.
Today it is a brand new world. Analytics have changed the way players are analyzed and the number of areas that are looked at have increased in exponential proportions. Is there still a place for the intangible, intuitive decisions? Yes, they can play a part in making the final decisions but the most important selections will be made based on hard, cold statistics.
To compete in this “brave new world”, the Kings have hired Luke Bornn – PhD and Harvard professor to Spearhead Team’s analytical efforts – as vice president of strategy and analytics.
Bornn will report directly to Vlade Divac – vice president and general manger of basketball operations. His job will be to provide the data to the operations staff to help make informed decisions about roster makeup, player evaluations and overall team strategies. The data will be gathered in multiple ways including wearable technology.
Bornn will not be the only hire for the analytics staff. The Kings will be adding additional personnel to the department over the next few weeks. Sacramento has two big immediate decisions to make about who to draft with their two lottery draft picks in the June NBA Draft.
Bornn most recently worked as head of analytics for A.S. Roma of the Italian Serie A Football League. Prior to that, he was a visiting scholar and professor at Harvard University in the Department of Statistics.