As basketball's advanced stats community gathers for the 10th annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday and Saturday in Boston, the battle over the value of statistical analysis to teams is long over.
Although not everyone is convinced, all 30 NBA teams have some kind of statistical presence in their management. When teams ranked near the bottom in ESPN's 2015 Great Analytics Rankings, they didn't point to it as a badge of honor, as they might have in another era.
The results of this shift, which has taken place almost entirely in the decade in which the Sloan Conference has existed, can be seen on the court. Led by Sloan Conference co-founder Daryl Morey's Houston Rockets, NBA teams are attempting a higher percentage of shots from beyond the arc than ever before, and ignoring lower-value 2-point shots away from the basket.
However, NBA offenses are not more efficient than ever. In fact, on a per possession basis, the league is scoring no better than it was when a handful of die-hards met for the first Sloan Conference in 2007, and it is scoring far less efficiently than it was at its peak this century in 2008-09.
Why hasn't statistical analysis been able to solve offense?