October 5, 2018 / 3:57 AM / 12 days ago

Mavs turn to former pro gambler's deep analytics

A former professional gambler who spent years refining his research and analytics for his work has been hired as the Dallas Mavericks’ director of quantitative research and development, according to an ESPN report.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 21, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (1) poses for a photo during the Dallas Mavericks media day at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Voulgaris built a reputation for his expertise on — and criticisms of — coaches’ strategies and referees’ individual tendencies. He drew a faithful following on Twitter for his NBA data and opinions.

A profile of Voulgaris from the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference says, “Bob is well known in the sports betting world for his immense proprietary compilation of NBA data containing ‘publicly available’ information such as individual player defensive positioning, match-up probabilities, and average time of possession.”

The ESPN report, which cited league sources, said Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wanted Voulgaris to bring a new big-picture analysis to court strategy.

Voulgaris’ hiring forges another connection between the NBA and the gambling industry. Earlier this year, the league made MGM Resorts an official gaming partner at a time when gambling is increasingly being legalized.

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