John Hollinger helped put advanced statistics in the mainstream and make them a point of interest for both average and serious hoops fans.
He started Alleyoop.com in 1995, where he created and developed the formula for PER—player efficiency rating. It measures each player's per-minute performance so that we can compare each player with one number regardless of how many minutes they play.
For example, Nicolas Batum averaged 14.3 points per game, while Chris Copeland only scored 8.7. But Batum shot just 42 percent and played 38 minutes, compared to Copeland, who shot nearly 48 percent and only got 15 minutes per night.
Though Batum had bigger numbers, he only registered a 15.76 PER, compared to Copeland's 16.89.
It was Copeland who was the more productive and efficient player per minute.
Hollinger spent time writing for The Oregonian and Sports Illustrated before he was hired by ESPN in 2005. There, he unleashed some new formulas for calculating playoff odds and power rankings.
After eight years at ESPN, where his formulas and popular "PER Diem" columns generated buzz across the basketball community, Hollinger was hired by the Memphis Grizzlies as the new vice president of basketball operations.
He gave hope to the basketball junkies trying to make a career out of numbers in hoops. Hollinger is proof that you don't need a playing background anymore to draw the attention of NBA front offices.