Pistons hire Charles Klask, the Magic’s “statistical guru”

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (hat tip: Mike Payne of Detroit Bad Boys):

The Orlando Magic are about to lose a key member of their basketball operations staff.

Charles Klask, the Magic’s scouting information manager, has accepted a job with the Detroit Pistons.

“Charles was our statistics guru,” Magic General Manager Otis Smith told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday.

“He really delved into the numbers for us and broke down the numbers for us — a lot of breaking down the teams from a statistical regard, helping Stan formulate his game plans from a statistical perspective. He was huge to our staff.”

This sounds like great news. The Pistons have appeared woefully behind when it comes to using statistics to inform their decisions.

But before we get carried away with excitement, I have to throw some water on the fire. Check out this February 2010 article by Robbins about the Magic using statistics. It’s all about how Stan Van Gundy used Klask to help Orlando on the court. Magic general manager Otis Smith’s name didn’t appear once. Who do you think is more likely to take advantage of Klask’s work, Lawrence Frank or Joe Dumars? I thought so.

Also from the Robbins article:

When the Magic hired Van Gundy in 2007, he made clear he wanted one person in the basketball operations department to coordinate all of the team’s scouting and video efforts, compile game plans and also study data and cull useful statistics.

Charles Klask, the team’s scouting information manager, occupies that role for the Magic.

Klask is a Michigan native, and he obviously had a variety of responsibilities in Orlando. Who says his focus will be statistical analysis in Detroit? Maybe he just wanted to come home.

I’ll end on a positive note. Here a couple excerpts from Dennis Mannion’s Q&A with Keith Langlois:

Having a passion for the sport was first and having a track record of using data to make decisions – that’s where the world has gone – so it’s a combination of finding someone with his passion and data. And Tom (Gores) clearly found that. It was easy to research his style of business because of the number of businesses that they’ve purchased.

If there are analytic tools that we’re using on the business side that might be valuable tools for the team side to use, we’ll do that.

Tags: Lawrence Frank