A White House Angle to a Bulls vs. Cavaliers Matchup

If you look at the standings, very few first-round matchups are easy to predict. Everything could change just about all over the NBA.

One of the best guesses, however, is that the Cavaliers will be the first seed in the East, facing the eighth-placed Chicago Bulls.

That matchup could be a little interesting in the White House.

We all know that Barack Obama will be rooting for an upset by his Bulls -- a team he loves so much he had them to the White House not after winning the championship (as is traditional) but after losing to the Nets.

But does he know that in his own Office of Management and Budget there is a senior economist in economic policy who has a second job advising the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Dan Rosenbaum spends his days working on issues like education and the alternative minimum tax. But he spends evenings and weekends helping Danny Ferry and the Cavaliers figure out how to beat teams like the Bulls -- by advising on player acquisition, coaching strategy, and more.

And he's good at it -- Rosenbaum is seen as one of the best in applying analytics to basketball.

Rosenbaum says there is an extra bit of irony to the fact that he and the President might not share a rooting interest in a hypothetical Bulls vs. Cavaliers series: Rosenbaum was originally a Bulls fan himself.

"My earlier passion for the Bulls was instrumental," he e-mails, "in getting me involved with the NBA."

Rosenbaum -- who is also a busy father -- was once really worried about handling his many responsibilities.

"I initially was skeptical about trying to do two high-intensity jobs, but have been pleasantly surprised at how mutually reinforcing the two jobs are. I am constantly taking lessons learned from one job and applying them to the other.

"In both jobs my role is to bring more analytics and empirical evidence into the decision-making process. In both jobs my official job title (if I even have one with the Cavs) holds no real power, so any influence I might have all comes from convincing busy folks that it is worth their time and effort to listen to me.

"In both jobs (and even in the last Administration) I have found that well-communicated analytics and empirical evidence can make a difference.

"As you probably can tell, I LOVE my two jobs."

It has to be especially fun when the Cavaliers win, as they would be heavily favored to do against that team from Chicago.