Thursday, May 15, 2008

Playing to your strengths

I watched Rick Carlisle's press conference from Dallas. While I was watching it, a friend who was also watching it, called asking about Rick's emphasis on defense.

As I told him, no coach ever lost by playing the wrong defense. Teams lose because they by play that defense poorly. Early on in Dallas, Avery emphasized teaching defense and made it clear what he expected of his players on the defensive end. By doing so, he got his guys to buy into his plan.

In my experience, players want to know about stuff like defensive rotations and where are the rotations coming from and when. You can't be vague about it. It has to be excruciatingly clear. And it has to be emphasized and taught every day.

The same goes for offense. The players need to know where their shots come from in the new offensive system and how they fit in. Understanding a player's sweet spots (i.e., where they're most comfortable shooting from) and developing strategies for getting them shots from those points is the job of the coach and his staff.

As Rick put it:

"You've got to play to your strengths and you've got to adjust."