The Articles and Videos
The feature articles give you an idea of the kinds of topics I will cover and the style with which I will cover them: I’ve used video and advanced stats to break down Milwaukee’s defensive schemes and what they tell us about defense in the modern NBA, dived into the dynamics of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and how they affect team decision making using clarifying charts in The Worldwide Leader and the Cap Jump and Cornered Market, and wrestled with how behavioral psychology impacts draft decisions.
During the playoffs, I created short video clips designed to take the complexity of the action on the court and simplify it, revealing aspects of the game you might have missed when you watched it live.
For example, in this clip I showed how LeBron read the Golden State defense to create a wide open corner three for JR Smith:
And in this clip I detailed how the Cavs’ blown switch left Avery Bradley wide open for a game-winning shot:
Insider articles and videos will follow this trend, but they will take even more forms and address more topics: from film breakdowns to thoughts on recent transactions, from scouting reports to answering subscriber questions, from short videos that highlight one or two plays to longer analyses of players and teams. Throughout it all, though, my commitment is to quality above all else — I’m not going to push out content just for the sake of it.
I’ve spent my career trying to figure out the best ways to gather, interpret and communicate stats for NBA decision making, and I’ve used that experience to create Cleaning the Glass Stats.
Advanced stats can often seem confusing and overwhelming to people who aren’t used to them. There’s a lot of new terminology to learn, it’s hard to know what’s good and bad, and it takes time to figure out how to assemble the stats into a coherent picture that improves your understanding of players and teams. Cleaning the Glass Stats aims to solve that with a focus on explanations, ease of use, and context while still providing an incredibly in-depth array of stats, some of which are hard to find anywhere else.
As with any other stats site you might experience a learning curve to using it, but my goal is to make that curve as gradual as possible. I will use screenshots of the site in articles and tweets to show you how I use the site to understand players, teams, and games, and allow you to do the same yourself.
I’ve spent a lot of time building what is on the site so far — but that’s only a start. I will continue to roll out features as we go. I have a lot of neat ideas of things that could be added (e.g. specific filters for the stats, dynamic shot charts, nifty data visualization, player comparison tools, deep lineup data, offseason views, and more). The development of the site will be guided by a combination of both my own experience plus input from subscribers.
I’m pretty excited about the Insider discussion board. I love what Twitter has done for NBA commentary, but with character limits and hard to follow replies and the lack of civility from some corners, engaging in real conversations on Twitter is extremely difficult. That’s where I think Cleaning the Glass Discussion comes in.
If all Discussion turns into is a better than normal comment section for Cleaning the Glass articles and videos, that’s great. But I think it has the chance to be much more than that. I’m hopeful Cleaning the Glass Discussion will be the place to go to filter out the noise and just have great in-depth, thoughtful basketball conversations.
When you start working for an NBA team, it gets drilled into your head pretty quickly that privacy is very important. Information is a big competitive advantage, so teams don’t want any of that information to leak to other teams or the public. Posting my thoughts on this site and Twitter over the last 6 months, then, has been a complete about-face from what I’ve been used to.
But I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed sharing what I’ve learned, enjoyed being spurred on to investigate the questions of others, enjoyed having an excuse to dive into depths I wouldn’t have had time to plumb otherwise. And I’d love to keep doing it.
From what I can tell by everyone’s responses, you have enjoyed it as well. So that’s where Insider comes in. For all of the reasons laid out at the start, I want the opportunity to use my experience and knowledge to bring great content, great stats and great discussion to fans. My hope is that the subscription revenue will essentially pay me a salary so that I can focus completely on that goal. And if Insider gets enough subscribers that there’s money left over, the added revenue will allow me to invest more in the site — I have lots of ideas that I think could be really exciting (in-depth SportVU/coordinate stats, anyone?) but obviously we need to get there first!
Why subscriptions? Why not make it free and rely on advertising? Because, for the most part, an advertising-based business needs to maximize clicks — they get paid based on how many people see the ad, so all they care about is eyeballs. And that drives a certain type of behavior and content: catering to a more general audience, hot takes, lightning rod topics, controversy, argument, click bait.
A subscription-based business, on the other hand, needs to maximize passion. It’s not about the number of people you can get to click on your site and skim your article or video. It’s about the number of people who see it and love it and are willing to pay for more of it.
That’s the kind of site I want to run. I want to be beholden to you, the true fans. I want to write with nuance and depth, to engage with complex topics. I don’t want to chase clicks. I don’t want to feel like I have to churn out content even if it’s below my standards of quality. I want to write about the complexity of decision making in the draft, not yell YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHICH HIGH-LEVEL DRAFT PROSPECT IS GOING TO BE A COMPLETE BUST.
From the beginning, the core values of this site have been: quality over quantity, thoughtfulness over quick reactions, nuance over simplification and a goal that every time you visit this site you come away learning something new. That’s exactly what Insider is all about.