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How the Golden State Warriors used science and data to become a powerhouse




Guard Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors
Guard Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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The Golden State Warriors are one of the most dominant NBA teams in history with their star player, Steph Curry, regarded as one of the best shooters of all time.

But that wasn't always the case. In fact, when you look back to the 2006–07 season, the team held the record for the most consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance, and even as recently as five years ago, they were one of the worst teams in the NBA. But that all changed starting after the 2013/2014 season when they won 51 games. The next year, they won it all.

So what happened? Veteran sports writer Erik Malinowski believes part of it is due to the team's embrace of the Oakland A's analytics system.

His new book is called "Betaball: How Silicon Valley and Science Built One of the Greatest Basketball Teams in History." Here's Erik reading the opening section of his book, courtesy of Simon and Schuster. 

https://soundcloud.com/stephen-95/betaball

Malinowski joined Take Two host A Martinez, who asked when and why the Warriors began to embrace data:

At that time, the Warriors were a horribly dreadful franchise. They had missed the playoffs in 16 of the 17 preceding  seasons, but this new ownership group came in and they decided to rebuild it in the form of a Silicon Valley startup. And that comes from Joe Lacob. The main co-owner was a longtime Silicon Valley venture capitalist  and decided that this would be a pretty good case study ...

Malinowski explained what kind of answers you can get, in terms of basketball decisions, from looking at data: 

You can analyze how many dribbles a player is taking per possession in a game ... you can literally analyze how fast are they running on the court, so if you can do that you can do things like measure things like energy and fatigue 

Click on the blue arrow to hear the entire interview with Erik Malinowski about his book, Betaball.