2008 NBA Draft.
OJ Mayo vs. Kevin Love.
It’s the night before the draft and you and all of your scouts are split exactly down the middle on the two.
If you are drafting in the top part of the draft, a superstar is the goal. Ownership doesn’t care if you find a solid player. They want greatness. Mayo is an ENFP wing. Love is an ISTP big. Knowing that the most successful swingman ENFP in the history of the league was probably Jerry Stackhouse is pertinent information. Stackhouse was a very good player, but not in the class of the list that the historical ISTP list is comprised of. Shaq, Moses Malone, and Ewing are just a few examples. I don’t know if Memphis and Minnesota use certain psychological profiling techniques at all, but I do believe people’s instincts can be fooled by the interview process. Mayo is an emotive and intelligent speaker that you are likely going to be impressed by after interviewing him. You would likely walk out of an interview with Love thinking similar thoughts. Traditional interviewing methods wouldn’t do much to dissuade you from picking either of them. It’s Myers-Briggs personality typing that can give you the more useful side of their personality, aptitude, and potential.
I love having scientific and mathematical information as forms of evaluation and Myers-Briggs personality typing is unfortunately not considered to be in that category yet. Professors in academia are frightened to publish peer-reviewable studies on the subject specifically because it hasn’t really been done yet. An icebreaker in the field is deeply desired. I feel that there eventually will be brain scans that can type a person within an instant based on their brain activity, but that day is not here yet. What I have to go by is personal experience and obsessively watching interviews and body movements. Figuring out my own type and the types of my close circle of family and friends was in important step in this development. I then compared them to the typing done by Niednagel and became extremely convinced. A coach like John Calipari has the same ENTJ type as my father and I noticed remarkable similarities in their coaching style, gung-ho recruiting, and even their apparent arrogance. My ESFP brother can be compared to Lebron James in the way that he can have a very active nightlife, but still show up to the gym the next day and dominate a court full of guys who stayed in the night before. I’d understand skepticism from an outside perspective, but I’d encourage anyone to do a similar analysis on themselves and the people around them to feel more comfortable with it.
You can use the knowledge of someone’s personality type to select a candidate, but there are other uses as well. A player’s development can be aided in a major way if you know their personality type. On a personal level, I received a confidence boost once I knew there were some legends of the game with my type. Feeling dominant players can sometimes feel pressure on a magnified basis. Knowing their predisposition, you can work on those players with ways and preparations for high intensity moments. These things can be coached. It’s also not advisable to ride certain types harder than others as far as criticism in front of their teammates during games or practice. There are other types where that can be beneficial, but typing is a huge part of knowing what buttons to press with which players. Some coaches can instinctively pick these things out on their own, but not as many as one might think.
I’m constantly thinking about personality typing and obsessed with the topic, but I think it should only be used as one of many tools in the toolbox of any decision maker. It’s just one part of the spectrum of factors. What’s unique at this point in time is the blind way that it’s traversed. A frequent theme of many Sloan Sports Athletic Conferences at MIT every year has been that it’s the next frontier in player and team analysis. I believe that this is at least the first step in plugging that massive black hole of the unknown.