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.
The Boston Celtics find themselves in a similar position to where they were in 2007. Lottery balls are the dangling carrot for most of the diehard fanatics as the season comes to a close and an All Star in his late 20s is left to ponder his future with the franchise. Celtics decision maker Danny Ainge has downplayed the upside of this hyped draft in comparison to past drafts, but anything a team executive says needs to be taken with a grain of salt as they could be managing fan expectations for the lottery or the eventual draft pick himself. I do plan to reveal my personality type prognosis for the talents projected to go at the top of the draft closer to the draft, but that’s for another day. Ainge has a similar collection of valuable assets to what he had in 2007 and was able to flip into a perennial contender. Many comparisons can be drawn between the annual All-Star shoe-ins, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo, but you may be surprised to know that they share the same personality type as well. How might that affect the path the franchise and the player take from here?
Differences in the situations between Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo should definitely be noted. They play completely different positions and most teams have varying ideas about how a championship roster should ultimately be constructed. Pierce had also just signed an extension in 2006 and Rondo is only under contract for one more year. Rondo’s ACL tear is arguably more severe from a future performance perspective than Pierce’s stress fracture was. Having a championship ring in the trophy cabinet already is also a part of the equation for Rondo.
You can see the similarities between the two ISFPs if you have closely followed the team for the last decade. Pierce was thrust into the role of captain after Antoine Walker was shipped off and had a lot of trouble coping with it at first. He had some immaturity issues and being a leader day in and day out before being fully ready can be hard to handle for Feeling Introverts. Vocal leadership doesn’t come naturally to them. Pierce ended up under media scrutiny for getting ejected during a major playoff game and showing up to the press conference with a fake bandage. Clashes with Head Coach Doc Rivers also entered the fray. Rondo has come under a bit of heat for not traveling with the team because of a birthday celebration in Los Angeles in February of this year. Overall, Pierce is friendlier with the media and Rondo treats most reporters in an almost hostile manner. One word answers and death stares are a common occurrence when Rajon is talking to the press.
On the court, their games are very different, but some similarities can be seen with a close enough eye on the situation. Pierce is an elite historical scorer from an efficiency standpoint and Rondo is an elite historical passer. Pierce is an above average rebounder and passer for his position. Rondo puts up above average rebounding percentages for a point guard, but shooting has been a black mark against his game since college. Pierce is physically solid and uses deception, strength, and aggression to create his value on a court. Rondo is much more lean and quick and uses deception, speed, and an upper echelon handle to get to wherever he wants on the floor where he’s outstanding at finding open teammates or somehow creates an angle to slide in a layup past a big. Where I believe you can see their similar personalities is on the biggest of stages. They want the ball in big moments and have come through in big moments. Rondo has a reputation as someone who gets up for nationally televised games and the playoffs and Pierce has a long track record of strong playoff performances as well. Pierce and Rondo are both also well renowned for their so-called basketball IQ. They may look like they are rushing a bad shot, but Paul and Rajon have been the 2 most likely Celtics over the past decade to create 2 for 1 situations with the game clock at the end of quarters. Certain other players don’t seem to know a shot and game clock exist while the game is going on.
While Boston may think that Rajon owes them a bit of time since he has already won a ring there, it is not as cut and dry. An xSFP spends their time in the moment and they can perceive anything as a slight. What this means is that anything they might see in contract negotiations as a lowball offer might lose their respect and another situation that captures their infatuation could turn their head. They are not necessarily the most rational and he might not see any way out of this current Boston rebuild. He is sentimental, though, and the ISFP has more of a chance to be loyal to their career-long city and the people that drafted them. If Boston wants to re-sign him it is important that there is perceived optimism around Rajon and the team next summer when he becomes a free agent.