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The Boxscore Geeks Show - The Allan Houston Case Study with Art Rondeau

Art Rondeau stops by to discuss his time as Allan Houston's shooting coach at the start of the Dolan-era Knicks.



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Video Show

Show Notes

Art Rondeau is an IT professional and shooting coach using his own “Mental Zone Program” based on neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). You can follow Art on Twitter (@ArtRondeau) as well as his blog We discuss a case study Art, and I worked on together examining how much better Allan Houston played while on Art's program. Check it out if you haven't! Tune in for a great conversation. Also, we discuss these on the show, but I have two points I'd like to highlight.

Credit for small tweaks

In NBA history we have several examples of outside individuals being credited with small suggestions. Roland Beech suggested the Mavericks tweak their lineup in the 2011 Finals, which resulted in Rick Carlisle getting an Alpha Award from the Sloan Analytics Conference (wrongly, based on our analysis). Nick U'Ren of the Warriors got credit for suggesting the Warriors play small in the 2015 Finals. Tony Robbins is credited with helping the Mavericks win the 2011 Finals too for telling the Mavericks not to pack their bags for game 7 (and apparently giving the same advice to the Heat in 2006). Art notes that he had a few contributions to the Knicks success in 1999 and 2000. Sadly, there have been no awards for him (yet?) And as we note, sometimes these decisions backfire like they did with the Mavericks in 2007.

Players aren't Robots

A common theme that comes up is that players aren't robots. Analytic geeks like us can see the numbers and say: "just play the best players! What's the problem?" Of course, this leaves out issues that juggling player egos and convincing players to listen to a coach. If you listen to some of Art's coaching style, it's very clear that he works on knowing how people think and behave and how to get the most out of them. Of course, you could argue he's actually treating them like robots and programming them the right way. That said, maybe it's a lesson more NBA teams could learn.