The guys over at Emory Sports Marketing Analytics have ranked the “smartest” teams in sports. The most recent ranking in their series has the San Antonio Spurs as the smartest team in the NBA.
Using just over ten years of data, Emory University business professors Drs. Michael Lewis and Manish Tripathi “estimate linear regression models that predict team performance as a function of team fixed effects and payrolls.”
In other words, who is making the best personnel decisions with the least spending.
Though the Spurs’ combined 2014-2015 payroll puts them over the salary cap—according to basketball-reference.com, they’re spending $67,678,014on player salaries this season, despite a league cap of $63,065,000—the 2014 NBA Champions certainly have the superior team performance to justify spending that ranks 13th-most in the league.
Here’s the Emory team’s 30-team ranking of smartest NBA franchises: