Skip to content

Memphis Grizzlies hire ESPN NBA stats guru Hollinger

Dec 13, 2012, 6:38 PM EDT

John Hollinger

Virtually every NBA team has their own advanced stats guy, or guys. How much sway those people have varies greatly — in Houston GM Daryl Morey is one, in other organizations the stats guy is basically talking to himself —but teams generally see there is some value in advanced metrics when looking at how lineup combinations work and other areas of the game.

Now the Grizzlies have hired one of the biggest names — John Hollinger of ESPN. The Commercial Appeal broke the story and ESPN and Hollinger confirmed it on their site.

“It’s incredibly difficult to leave ESPN, but the chance to work for an NBA team and the Grizzlies’ new ownership was an irresistible opportunity,” Hollinger said Thursday.

Hollinger was recruited to the Grizzlies by new controlling owner Robert Pera and CEO/managing partner Jason Levien, who have made upgrading Memphis’ analytics department one of their front-office priorities.

Hollinger is one of the best known stats guys to the general public, and with that has come a “love him or hate him” reaction that really speaks to how you feel about advanced stats in the game more than Hollinger the person. There were always plenty of people who told Hollinger to “watch the games” but those people didn’t read or just disagreed with him — few journalists watch more games live and taped than Hollinger.

He is best known for PER, a snapshot evaluation of a player that allows him to distill most offensive stats and a couple defensive ones (blocks, steals) into a single number. Thing is, that is not really all that useful to a GM — tell them a player and they can rattle off the basics of his game. PER is not that useful to a team.

But Hollinger’s analysis of players goes well beyond PER — I used to buy his Pro Basketball Forecast every year because it was way ahead of its time in taking a look at each player, his skills and how he fit with a team (or didn’t). Hollinger’s understanding of players trends, and work with lineups will be useful to a team. Also, he comes with a system of predicting college players ability to be effective on the NBA level, something every team could use.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: DeAndre Jordan’s relationship with Chris Paul was ‘demonstrably poor’

    Jul 3, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul AP

    A big reason Jordan left L.A. to sign with the Mavericks.

  2. Report: Patrick Beverley re-signs on four-year deal to remain with Rockets

    Jul 3, 2015, 7:37 PM EDT

    Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    Beverley’s defense provides a perfect complement to James Harden.

  3. Reports: Corey Brewer agrees to three-year deal to stay with Rockets

    Jul 3, 2015, 6:27 PM EDT

    Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Six Getty Images

    He is a good fit in the Rockets’ up-tempo system.

  4. Becky Hammon to coach Spurs in summer league

    Jul 3, 2015, 5:15 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two Getty Images

    She’s a San Antonio assistant coach

  5. Report: Gary Neal agrees to one-year, $2.1 million deal with Wizards

    Jul 3, 2015, 4:31 PM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves

    Key for the Wizards is this is a one-year deal, so they save their cap space for a Kevin Durant offer next summer.

  6. Report: D’Andre Jordan informs Knicks they are out of running

    Jul 3, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT

    DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler AP

    This was expected, now the Knicks move forward with Robin Lopez.

  7. Report: Wizards trying to trade Nene

    Jul 3, 2015, 1:35 PM EDT

    Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Washington could land David West

  8. Nets adding young talent in Thomas Robinson and Shane Larkin

    Jul 3, 2015, 10:31 AM EDT

    Thomas Robinson, Thaddeus Young AP

    Brooklyn making most of a self-inflicted bad situation

  9. Report: David West likely to sign with Spurs or Wizards

    Jul 3, 2015, 9:50 AM EDT

    David West, Patty Mills AP

    If LaMarcus Aldridge signs elsewhere, San Antonio makes a lot of sense

  10. PBT Extra: Free agent signings we didn’t love

    Jul 3, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Brandon Knight AP

    In this market even if these deals are misses, they are correctable ones.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. Aldridge (5568)
  2. D. Wade (4462)
  3. L. James (3363)
  4. G. Monroe (3336)
  5. W. Matthews (3265)
  1. D. Jordan (3184)
  2. K. Bryant (2981)
  3. J. Embiid (2970)
  4. T. Harris (2798)
  5. K. Love (2757)