It’s no secret that some of the 76ers' struggles had to do with their relying heavily on analytics.
Nor is it a secret the organization evaluated its front-office structure and personnel after the Sixers were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.
On Thursday, multiple sources said the Sixers and their vice president of strategy, Sergi Oliva, have parted ways. Oliva will remain in the NBA, though, accepting a coaching position with the Utah Jazz.
The Sixers fired coach Brett Brown on Aug. 24 after the team failed to live up to its own lofty expectations. He was replaced by Doc Rivers on Oct. 1.
You can’t blame Brown for the team’s reliance on analytics to make questionable draft picks, trades, and free-agent signings, which have set the franchise back.
Oliva was involved in the analytics-driven decisions. He had a lot to do with determining the Sixers' rotation and substitution patterns based on the analytics. He was an integral part of the coaching meetings and presented the coaches with an analytics sheet to consult during games.
Executive vice president of basketball operations Alex Rucker had been heavily involved behind the scenes in a lot of the decision-making, according to sources. The Sixers originally hired him as VP of analytics and strategy in October 2016 after seven years as the Toronto Raptors' senior analytics consultant.
In August, the expectation was that Rucker wouldn’t return next season. Now, the expectation is that he’ll return and focus on analytics. He’ll be more of an information-gatherer as opposed to a major decision-maker.
Assistant general manager Ned Cohen also had a hand in the decision-making based on analytics.
“As I’ve been taking a deep dive in where we failed, what went wrong, and how we can get better, I felt like we need to strengthen our organization from top to bottom,” general manager Elton Brand said Aug. 25, “and that starts with the front office.”
He was specific about balancing the Sixers' strengths, analytics, and basketball strategy.
“My goal, with whatever happens going forward,” Brand said, “is making sure we are in position to truly contend.”