Wednesday, July 23, 2008

John Thompson: Some rookies need to understand they're audtioning for bench spots

Many thanks to Bob Rathbun for giving me a heads-up on this great post over on David Friedman's blog, 20 Second Timeout.

It's the transcript of an interview NBA TV did with legendary coach John Thompson during a recent NBA Summer League game. Some highlights:

-- "When you are trying out or working out for these [NBA] teams you are also showing people what you cannot do. Most people tend to think that they are showing what they can do but these scouts try to find out what you can't do and hopefully you have enough intelligence to understand what you can't do and try not to do it. You need to go to the man who is auditioning you and say, 'Sir, what are you looking for?' and then try to determine whether you can do that or add that to the team because what you may be doing best he may have six guys who can do that better than you."

-- "This summer in Orlando, [Patrick Ewing] had an opportunity to coach in the summer league. You've got to go through that experience because there is a total difference between possessing knowledge and motivating other people to do it."

-- "Most of these [NBA rookies, incoming freshmen, etc.] come in trying to convince you what they can do as opposed to finding out what you want done and then doing it. You see that here with all the big guys outside throwing up three point shots when their team may need a post guy. You have got to determine what these folks want or you are just fooling yourself. You may make 100 threes but if can't rebound and block shots you are going to get cut."

-- [Rookies who are] smart enough to know that if I defend, rebound and do the energy things for a coach then there will be a spot for me on the team. I can't come on every team and think that I am going to take the role of Kobe. Some of these guys better grow up and understand that they are auditioning for bench spots, not to be superstars."

--"A lot of times [trades and roster moves are] purely money decision(s) made by ownership and a not a decision being made by [coaches or GMs]. These guys are smart enough to know the game. 'Down the line,' 'potential' -- what that does is get the coach fired. All these guys who make these money decisions never factor that into the Ls and Ws that some poor coach has to sit there and work for. Those decisions don't relate to his judgment as far as a person being able to play or not being able to play."