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Kirk Goldsberry Hired by Spurs: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 29, 2016

SACRAMENTO, CA - FEBRUARY 27: A shot of the San Antonio Spurs logo during the game against the Sacramento Kings on February 27, 2015 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Kirk Goldsberry was a contributor for Grantland and FiveThirtyEight who is well-known for the shot charts he designs breaking down where players and teams shoot the ball most effectively.

According to RealGM.com, the San Antonio Spurs hired Goldsberry on Monday. ESPN writer and former Grantland writer Bill Barnwell reacted to the news:  

Bill Barnwell @billbarnwell

Since he outed the news on the BS Podcast: very excited and proud to see Grantland running buddy/good friend @kirkgoldsberry join the Spurs.

Goldsberry shared an example of one of his shot charts on Twitter when the Golden State Warriors and “pretty good shooter” Stephen Curry were set to pay a visit to Paul George and the Indiana Pacers:

Kirk Goldsberry @kirkgoldsberry

Paul George's last 15 games: 30.5 ppg & 4.0 made 3s Only 1 other guy has ever done that Guess who's coming to dinner https://t.co/65wDvQKqXs

Goldsberry’s ability to break down advanced analytics in easily digestible ways will likely help the Spurs players learn where they are most dangerous on the floor and bolster an offense that already ranks third in the league in offensive rating behind only the Warriors and Oklahoma City ThunderNBA.com provided a list of the top offenses in the league as of Monday:

Offensive Rating Leaders
TeamRecordOffensive Rating (points per 100 possessions)
Golden State Warriors53-5112.6
Oklahoma City Thunder41-18109.8
San Antonio Spurs50-9109.2
Cleveland Cavaliers41-17107
Toronto Raptors39-19106.6
NBA.com

The top five teams in the number of points scored per 100 possessions are also the top five teams in the league’s standings. The Spurs, along with everyone else, are playing catch-up with the Warriors, and the Goldsberry addition is a nontraditional way of helping them do just that.

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report called it “another inspired Spurs signing,” which underscored the fact San Antonio often goes against the traditional grain when looking for ways to win.

San Antonio hired Becky Hammon as an assistant coach before the 2014-15 campaign, which made her the first full-time and paid female assistant in the NBA. She played for the San Antonio Stars as a WNBA superstar and currently works with head coach Gregg Popovich on a number of aspects, including scouting and game-planning.

ESPN.com also said “Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford have long been at the forefront of the league's international influx,” and foreign-born players such as Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw are important pieces for the championship contender.

Goldsberry joins a Spurs team that is 50-9 on the season and only 3.5 games behind the Warriors in the Western Conference, even though the defending champions have the opportunity to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 wins in a regular season.