Sloan Conference, Day #1: Observations from the Almond Gallery

Hey, folks! This year, I'm covering the Sloan Sports Conference straight from Boston's Convention and Exhibition Center. If you're there, be on the lookout for the tall guy in a suit who hasn't slept in a decade. Over the duration of the conference, I'm going to try to post some quick reflections on the panels I attended. Fun stuff, right? Here are the panels covered in the post, thus far:

  • 9:00-10:00 -- "REVENGE OF THE NERDS!" On this particular panel (featuring a loaded roster of Morey, Cuban, Silver, Lewis, and Marathe), the big theme was the rise of statistics in sports and the challenges the high-rolling panelists faced during their rise. I discuss the overall oeuvre of the panel and the one place I wish they'd gone.
  • 10:20-11:20 -- "DATA VISUALIZATION" This panel involved -- surprise! -- a discussion on data visualization. Moderated by Rockets' Sam Hinkie and starring a variety of visualization experts, the panel took a broad view of philosophies behind their data visualization strategies through minutiae and examples. Strange format, but a fun panel to follow.
  • 11:40-2:50 -- "THE DIRGE OF THE SHAMROCK SHAKES" ... OK, no, this wasn't really a panel. It had panels in it, but that's beside the point. Due to the nature of the panels that were located in this timeframe, I won't actually be covering them in this post, but if you all are really good this year, Santa will tell you the story sometime later because it was a hell of a lot of fun.
  • 3:30-4:00 -- "THE DWIGHT EFFECT" This was a paper presentation with Kirk Goldsberry, discussing new ways to assess interior defense in the NBA. It was a great presentation. I've shared some of the biggest findings and the best practices Goldsberry used to strengthen his case in this recap.
  • 4:00-4:30 -- "THE VALUE OF FLEXIBILITY IN BASEBALL ROSTERS" Although this is a basketball blog, this was actually a REALLY neat paper with a tantalizing core idea. Here, I describe the rough summary of what their work implied as well as the NBA-related continuation of the idea I'd love to see in the near future.
  • 5:00-6:00 -- "XY PANEL: THE REVOLUTION IN VISUAL TRACKING ANALYTICS" Kirk Goldsberry joined a who's who of visual analytics gurus to discuss the technology in a broad sense and some of the challenges and triumphs it's faced thus far. This ended up being one of my favorite panels of the day -- in my reflections, I describe the limitations of communication and the fun discussion on why teams don't use these analytics.

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