After news emerged yesterday that most of the analytics team assembled by former general manager Sam Hinkie would be gone by August, there was some room for mild concern about the future of the program under Bryan Colangelo. It's safe to say the analytics department is still in good hands.
Lance "Doc" Pearson, formerly the coordinator of coaching analytics and special video projects, announced on Twitter he has now been promoted to a full-time position as director of applied analytics.
Just to clarify, since it has come up. I AM staying on with the Sixers. I am now Director of Applied Analytics & traveling with the team.— Lance 'Doc' Pearson (@CoachLanceP) July 27, 2016
I'm employed by the @Sixers & my work aims to further long-term interests of the ORGANIZATION, not just one past/current/future individual.— Lance 'Doc' Pearson (@CoachLanceP) July 27, 2016
Pearson, who has a Ph.D in computational neuroscience from Boston University, as well as a bachelor's degree in computer science, mathematics, and philosophy from the University of Kentucky, has become a personal favorite of Brett Brown.
From a 2014 article via the Trentonian:
"I have a guy in my meetings who I’ve just fallen in love with," Brown said at Monday’s practice, speaking glowingly about Pearson. "I’ve got a lot of assistants, and I’ve got a gentleman with about four degrees that is incredibly impressive when you say, ‘What is your background?’ and he rolls up all of this about a doctorate.
"And all’s he does in my meetings is (respond) when I say, ‘Is that true? Who’s the best in the league at this? What does this mean? We’re No. 1 in the league in pace. Is that (because of) a kick-ahead 3-ball? I don’t think so. You’ve got the wrong guy shooting.’ And (he’s got) this efficient shot chart. ‘Why is that so good? Why? Because you shoot 3s with guys who can’t. I don’t see that.’
If anything, Pearson's promotion shows that the front office is still committed to continuing some of the analytical work the previous regime so strongly employed. Based off of yesterday's open ended report from Zach Lowe, it's also quite possible that top Hinkie executives, Sachin Gupta and Ben Falk, were looking to leave the organization, as opposed to the Sixers looking to get rid of them.
Bryan Colangelo has said repeatedly he wanted to embrace the analytics program Philadelphia already had set up, and the promotion of Pearson is a good step towards proving that.