Behind the Lens: Boston Celtics’ Matt Reynolds Offers Video Coordinator Advice

Learn how one of the NBA’s most icon­ic fran­chis­es stays ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion in our inter­view with a key mem­ber of the Boston Celtics video staff.

Behind the Lens: Boston Celtics’ Matt Reynolds Offers Video Coordinator Advice

Learn how one of the NBA’s most icon­ic fran­chis­es stays ahead of the com­pe­ti­tion in our inter­view with a key mem­ber of the Boston Celtics video staff.

When you work for Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, known for his atten­tion to detail and inno­v­a­tive in-game tac­tics, his empha­sis on video quick­ly becomes clear. 

Coach Stevens is a video junkie. He’ll watch as many oppo­nent scout games as he can,” said Matt Reynolds, the organization’s assis­tant video coordinator. 

Working for one of the game’s most respect­ed coach­es, not to men­tion the win­ningest fran­chise in NBA his­to­ry, might be seen as a daunt­ing task for any video coor­di­na­tor try­ing to break into the league. But Reynolds was more than up to the chal­lenge. His unique rise to the NBA and his firm grasp on video analy­sis con­cepts made him a valu­able addi­tion to Stevens’ staff. 

Shipping out to Boston

Reynolds’ exten­sive resume — includ­ing a stu­dent man­ag­er posi­tion under bas­ket­ball hall of famer Jim Boeheim at Syracuse University, being the de fac­to direc­tor of bas­ket­ball oper­a­tions for UNC Asheville, and work­ing as a grad­u­ate assis­tant at Eastern Michigan University — ensured he was equipped to take on any chal­lenge the Celtics threw at him. 

Although Reynolds was well-accli­mat­ed to the bas­ket­ball life, his past expe­ri­ences sur­pris­ing­ly didn’t include in-depth video analysis. 

I had nev­er done any video work before, so the first cou­ple months were rough,” said Reynolds when asked about his tran­si­tion to the Celtics. I think I’m pret­ty tech­nol­o­gy savvy and had a lot of expe­ri­ence with Mac prod­ucts, so that helped.” 

Based on his past expe­ri­ence, Reynolds knew he had to focus his learn­ing on the analy­sis soft­ware the Celtics used and how they did things on a day-to-day basis. 

I knew that it would be help­ful to learn Sportscode as much as I could in order to nav­i­gate our work­flow inside and out­side of film,” said Reynolds. 

After three years, Reynolds is still learn­ing, but he’s turned him­self into a key mem­ber of one of the most respect­ed video staffs in the NBA

Round-the-Clock Review 

The NBA game is so fast mov­ing that you think you see some­thing live and then you go back and check the tape and you may be cor­rect, or maybe there were a cou­ple things that weren’t even in your line of sight that affect­ed a par­tic­u­lar play,” said Reynolds. 

From the front office on down, the entire orga­ni­za­tion ful­ly under­stands how video can uncov­er insights and con­firm hunch­es, which is why video review is part of the team’s pre-, post- and in-game workflows. 

All of our coach­es will watch our games either the night of or the imme­di­ate morn­ing after,” said Reynolds. We do a lot of film on the oppo­nent before the game, we do a lot of self scout after the game. Some of our play­ers get a lot of film after the game and some of our play­ers study up on the oppo­nents before the game.” 

When asked to pro­vide a detailed account of his team’s day-to-day rou­tine, Reynolds quick­ly rat­tled off specifics of how his col­leagues and play­ers con­sume video. 

We can do film ses­sions the day or two before, the day of, or the day after a giv­en game,” said Reynolds. We do a pre-game edit right before the team leaves the lock­er room and we’ll review some film at half­time depend­ing if there is a par­tic­u­lar thing the coach­es want to com­mu­ni­cate to the players. 

Before games, we show our play­ers what makes the oth­er team good and how we want to stop and key on their strengths. After a game, whether it’s good or bad, you want to high­light or empha­size the key fac­tors that were at play that con­tributed to the game result.”

In addi­tion to team video review ses­sions, the Celtics also des­ig­nate coach­ing staff mem­bers to review game footage with spe­cif­ic players. 

The coach­es will watch film with their assigned play­ers before a work­out, before a prac­tice, on the plane, pret­ty much wher­ev­er,” said Reynolds. All the coach­es have every game on their lap­top and they’ll put togeth­er cus­tom edits and go through what­ev­er they want to high­light with a par­tic­u­lar play­er or posi­tion group dur­ing these ses­sions. Whether it’s point guards talk­ing about an upcom­ing matchup or one par­tic­u­lar play­er just review­ing what’s made him effec­tive in the last few games, we cov­er a lot.”

Areas of Focus

With how pow­er­ful the Sportscode soft­ware is and the abun­dance of insights coach­es can gain through review­ing hours of game footage, it’s easy to expe­ri­ence paral­y­sis through analy­sis”. That’s why Reynolds and his team focus on a defined set of stats and pro­vide video edits deemed most impor­tant by play­ers and staff. 

We have a gen­er­al set of edits we dis­trib­ute before and after every game,” said Reynolds. Some play­ers request addi­tion­al edits such as their min­utes, field goal attempts, what­ev­er it may be. It’s real­ly just on a case-by-case basis and that’s just some­thing we’ve account­ed for in our workflows.” 

As for stats Stevens and staff place the most val­ue on, Reynolds explained that effi­cien­cy was the name of the game. 

We ana­lyze as many effi­cien­cy stats as pos­si­ble,” said Reynolds. Whether it’s offen­sive effi­cien­cy, defen­sive effi­cien­cy, turnover rate, all that stuff.”

Reviewing advanced stats is vital in today’s NBA, some­thing the Celtics orga­ni­za­tion has tak­en to heart.

Advanced stats are obvi­ous­ly impor­tant to us as well,” said Reynolds. That’s why our front office has con­struct­ed a very com­pre­hen­sive data­base that is updat­ed dai­ly. We can go in and take a look at our progress through­out the year.” 

In regards to the code win­dows that the video team uti­lizes to gath­er advanced stats, Reynolds explained that sim­plic­i­ty is key.

Our code win­dow is very full, but it’s pret­ty sim­ple in my opin­ion,” said Reynolds. There’s a lot going on, but we’re not get­ting too stat heavy. We have play­er, result, type of play and then play call on our win­dows. For play type, we have things like tran­si­tion, pick and roll, drib­ble hand­off, catch and shoot. For per­son­nel, we track play­er makes and misses.”

Although Reynolds and his team pro­vide the coach­es and play­ers a vast amount of insights, Reynolds advis­es to not get too far in the weeds with advanced stats. 

Our coach­es look for these type of stats on an indi­vid­ual game basis, but you don’t want to read too much into advanced stats for any giv­en game. We can go back and do that lat­er on, but imme­di­ate­ly after the game we’re more focused on per­son­nel, play calls, and just whether or not we’ve stayed with­in our sys­tem. We also want to know how we forced the oppo­nent out of their sys­tem, things like that that real­ly can’t be quan­ti­fied statistically.” 

Words of Wisdom 

Throughout the inter­view, Reynolds had key insights for video coor­di­na­tors and coach­es at any level.

Be Flexible

There are always pre­dictable and unpre­dictable aspects to your work­flow. Whether it’s a game day or non-game day, you have no idea how the way that the last game played out is going to affect what you do on a giv­en day. That’s the nature of the busi­ness. Every day is different.” 

Arrive Early

In the morn­ing, we get in and try to have as much work done as pos­si­ble before our coach­ing staff gets in. The staff gets in pret­ty ear­ly, so we’ll get that stuff done hope­ful­ly before they arrive because we’ll want to get them games right away. You also have to fac­tor in that they’re prob­a­bly going to have edits that they want us to pre­pare in antic­i­pa­tion of an upcom­ing prac­tice or film session.”

Optimize Your Facilities

We have TVs in the lock­er room and on the court, which gives us options to present video to the play­ers. This set­up allows us to incor­po­rate film into a par­tic­u­lar work­out or just have every­body in the lock­er room watch­ing one screen. It has worked well for us.” 

Spread the Work

The coach­es and video staff watch film from a micro per­spec­tive. If one or two fac­tors stand out to us, we like to go to our ana­lyt­ics staff and have them expound on those fac­tors on a larg­er lev­el. See if there’s some­thing to draw off of.

In regards to the video staff specif­i­cal­ly, there are three of us in the video room. (Coaching assis­tant Brandon Bailey has been with the Celtics since 2011, and assis­tant video coor­di­na­tor Alex Barlow since 2016.) This past sea­son, Brandon logged our games, and Alex was pri­mar­i­ly respon­si­ble for log­ging oppo­nent scout games. There are some nights where we have a lot of oppo­nent scout games, and I’ll help Alex with a game or two.” 

Build Relationships

I know how impor­tant your net­work is in this indus­try, and it ben­e­fit­ed me down the road, but I know peo­ple and my peers my age have much larg­er net­works than I do and I’m still work­ing on that.”

Plan Ahead

Video staffs at the col­lege and pro lev­el need to start putting togeth­er a detailed check­list of what needs to be done before the sea­son starts. For exam­ple, as soon as the NBA sched­ule comes out, we put togeth­er a scout­ing calendar.” 

Are you a video coor­di­na­tor or coach with insights on how to effec­tive­ly imple­ment stats and video to your every­day work­flow? Drop us a line at @hudlanalysis with your advice.