Brett Brown was introduced to basketball analytics this season as the Philadelphia 76ers become a franchise that bases major decisions on data and model-drive analysis.
"There's always the thing that they call unintended consequences," said Brown. "That's where my curiosity combined with, yeah, you know, there's a bit of defiance in me that I don't believe it. Prove it. And what about this? What about that?
"And if you can get through all those type of layers, I say, 'Wow.' And I feel like I've improved."
Lance Pearson was hired by the 76ers to work on advanced analytics and statistical scouting. Pearson, 53, has a Ph.D. in computational neuroscience from Boston University.
"I have a guy in my meetings that I've just fallen in love with," Browns said of Pearson. "I have a bunch of assistant coaches, and I've got a gentleman with about four degrees that is incredibly impressive when you say, 'What's your background?' And he rolls off all of this followed by his doctorate.
"In my meeting, I say . . . 'Who's the best in the league in this? What does this mean? We are number one in the league in pace. Is that a kick-ahead three-ball?' "
Brown has enjoyed incorporating the analytics into his assessment of the game.
"The analytics side has really captured my imagination and will factor into a lot with this upcoming draft," Brown said. "I'm going to see a different side than I probably will ever know when we start . . . assessing people."