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Dean Oliver on AI and machine learning in basketball

Rafe Anderson

Dean Oliver, TruMedia’s VP of Data Science, talked with Inside Science about the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in basketball analytics.

“Even complex board games follow rigid rules, while basketball is fluid, with teams constantly adjusting and readjusting to each other. "There is no dominant strategy," [Oliver] said. "The game is far more robust."

Nor are programs like Bhostgusters meant to replace coaches. What they do, instead, is help coaches check their intuition about a play. "This is not telling the coach what to do. This is assisting the coach in his day-to-day job," Lucey said. "There's a limit on what data can do, because data doesn't capture everything a coach sees and smells."

Indeed, a coach's job is far more than drawing up plays. "The element of coaching that doesn't get played up as much as it should is the ability of the coaches to work with players, to motivate them, to get them to play together," Oliver said.”

Full article: Inside Science