Before one begins anything, the question Why? must always be asked.
For example, in the American culture suing becomes almost a reflex when people feel undermined and it happens very frequently. However, before the prosecutor can successfully propose allegations against a defendant in court,the prosecutor MUST prove that there have been quantifiable damages made on him or her.
In the same manner, before I got my feet wet in doing research on sports statistics I have to ask myself, “Why is this (doing sports statistics) necessary to the entertainment industry and the game, assuming it is relevant?”
It didn’t take me long to think of Deandre Jordan.
As an avid Dallas mavericks fan, I strongly believe that his contract failure is demonstrative of recent “damages,” that have been made in the sports industry that stemming from lack of communication and perhaps not enough statistics to back up a final decision.
The official ESPN article linked is quite a dense read, but in a brief summary, basically Deandre Jordan, a player living in L.A., was being actively pursued by the Dallas Mavericks for quite some time to sign with the team. At the time, the Dallas Mavericks were searching for a franchise changing center.
Deandre Jordan was a free agent, which means he basically made his own decisions and chose teams as he saw fit, and was under no technical obligation.
Prior to the Deandre fiasco, Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner made this remark about the free agent system (taken from the linked article)
“It’s an imperfect system. There’s no question about it…the question is: Is there a better system? That’s something the league office and in discussions with the owners will always look to do things better.”
Deandre Jordan under this free agent system was the definition of the flaws in this system. Sure business deals don’t always fall through, and the time and money invested in closing that deal is all wasted. But beyond those costs incurred from what Mark Cuban (the Dallas Mavericks owner) spent on trying to sign Deandre Jordan on the roster for the 2016 season, (plus three more years); the Dallas Mavericks also lost many opportunities for potential prospects. Deandre was at fault when he became infatuated by the new found respect and treatment he received from our team, and
formally (casually?) verbally COMMITTED to sign with the Dallas Mavericks.
“I love that. I love that. I’m going to Dallas”-Deandre Jordan (famous last words)
Almost like a messed up tragic love story, Deandre Jordan led the Dallas Mavericks on, took advantage of all the benefits of being taken in as a part of the team, and then after sweet talking them, dropped them on their asses.
Adam Silver’s comments on the free agent process, provoked me to think, how could this situation have been avoided? Sure, there are all sorts of agents and consultant companies out there that players could choose to work with, but what about the free agent system?
I don’t and never will doubt Cuban’s business acumen, but I do want to ask, what if he had a different approach while approaching Jordan? Getting to know the players and their family , spending quality time with them, are very important aspects in trying to achieve the signed result Cuban was looking for, but would a more factual approach in addition to the “warm fuzzy feelings” that the Mavericks bestowed upon Deandre instill a stronger conviction in him to go through with his verbal commitment?
As mentioned in the article, Cuban and the involved players (Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzski) and did not fail to mention that Jordan was one of the best centers in the league (backed by statistics). They thought he would make a great addition to the Dallas Mavericks had he joined our team, instead of playing in the shadows of Blake Griffin on the Clippers. But what is enough? How could they have better advertised the potential of Deandre to him using statistics?