Category Archives: NBA

Coaching Advice from Mike D’Antoni

Coaching AdviceHearing about Mike D’Antoni’s resignation from the Lakers a couple days ago reminded me of some coaching advice he once offered while coaching the Phoenix Suns.

These ideas were originally published in Pat Williams’ Ultimate Coaches Career Manual.

  • You have to be careful how many times you yell, because players will tune you out. I always played better for a coach who worked with me.
  • We’re all insecure, especially when we are losing. Stay true to who you are and don’t try to be someone you’re not.
  • Put your ego in your pocket and get ready to navigate through the tough waters.
  • Follow your gut feeling. It is usually right. Listen to advice from others but don’t let it make a difference in how you manage. Stay true to your core values and stay with what got you there.

Knowing how difficult it’s been for D’Antoni the past two years while coaching the Lakers I wonder how many times he’s had to follow his own advice?

Did the Heat Really Get The Top Spot by Finishing Second?

Top SpotEvery season there is always talk about at least one of the NBA’s worst teams “tanking” the end of the season in order to hopefully improve their position in the upcoming draft.

But it’s not often that one of the TOP teams can be accused of tanking games!

Is it possible that is exactly what the Miami Heat did this season?

With last night’s Miami loss to the Wizards, the Indiana Pacers clinched the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference and guaranteed that they will have home court advantage if and when they meet the Heat in the Conference Finals.

However, the Heat, now in the #2 spot, will have a much easier road to the conference finals than will the #1 Pacers. And usually easier means a quicker series which means more rest going into the last series with Indiana.

Add that to the fact that the Heat only have to win one game in Indiana to regain the home court advantage and its easy to see why LeBron and company are not too disappointed in how they finished.

It seems that every night for the last month ESPN has analyzed the Heat and Pacers battle for the #1 seed when in reality they may have been battling for the coveted second spot!

KG’s Work Ethic

GEOFF BURKE-USA TODAY

GEOFF BURKE-USA TODAY

Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, Ray Allen, and Kobe Bryant have all been known for their legendary work ethics. Another player who belongs in that elite group of focused workaholics is Kevin Garnett, currently of the Brooklyn Nets.

The following, written by  J.P. Clark, an Assistant Skill Development Coach for the Boston Celtics, offers a little insight into KG’s approach to the game.

When you talk of work ethic, the perfect player example is one of our players, the ultimate competitor, Kevin Garnett. Kevin is fanatical about his daily routine, shooting the same shots from the same spots with the same movements every single day.

As you can imagine, KG works extremely hard at all times. There are no days off, no plays off and certainly no practices off. The stories of KG during shoot around breaking a full sweat are widespread, but what people do not realize is it’s every single shoot around he’s in a full sweat. Tape/no tape, it doesn’t matter, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, it doesn’t matter.

To KG, shootarounds are games and he must get himself in the exact positions and coverage situations that he will find himself in that night. And to do this realistically, KG must go game speed and this is how he treats every practice, every shoot around and every walk through. Coach Doc Rivers commented on KG when he first got to Boston, “You knew (Garnett) has great intensity.

You didn’t know he had it full time on and off the floor. His intensity in shootarounds and practices spread to our entire team. Our shootarounds were phenomenal. They listened to every word. There was no talking. They were focused. That was all from Kevin Garnett and that changed our team.”  The best athletes outwork the competition.

Larry Legend All Star Trivia

3 Point ContestI’ll admit that I’m a huge old school NBA fan and while NBA All Star Games like the one played last night are definitely entertaining, I miss the days when the players played hard and the games were actually competitive battles from start to finish.

One of my favorites to watch was Larry Bird who was always more concerned with winning than with looking good. Here are 5 NBA All Star Larry Bird questions to see how well you know “Larry Legend.”

In his 13 NBA seasons, how many All-Star teams did Larry Bird make?

  1. 10
  2. 11
  3. 12
  4. 13

In his 13 NBA seasons, how many All-Star teams did Larry Bird actually play?

  1. 10
  2. 11
  3. 12
  4. 13

How many All-Star Game MVPs did Larry Bird win?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

What was the most points Larry Bird ever scored in an All-Star Game?

  1. 21
  2. 22
  3. 23
  4. 24

Bird won three consecutive Three-Point Shootouts from 1986-1988.  Who is the only other player to win three consecutive times?

  1. Steve Kerr
  2. Craig Hodges
  3. Mark Price
  4. Dennis Scott

Bonus Question: What did Larry Bird allegedly say when he entered the locker room just before he won his third consecutive All-Star Weekend Three-Point contest in 1988?

(answers: 12, 10, 1, 23, Craig Hodges, “Which one of you guys is finishing second?”)

What Does LeBron Think of Jordan?

MJ and LebronOther than opening night and the playoffs there’s probably not a more exciting time for the NBA than Christmas time.

Of course, LeBron James and the Miami Heat were on television and his every move, both good and bad, was thoroughly analyzed.

In the October 2013 issue of ESPN Magazine LeBron talked briefly about Michael Jordan and whether or not he would have been just as successful in today’s social media world where every single flaw is seen and critiqued by everyone.

MJ wasn’t perfect. He had bad games. He had turnovers. He had games where he thought he should have been better. But the greatest thing about MJ was he that was never afraid to tell. And I think that’s why he succeeded so much – because he was never afraid of what anybody ever said about him.

Never afraid to miss the game winning shot, never afraid to turn the ball over. Never afraid. I think his drive and never being afraid to fail is what made him and he would be unbelievable still today because of that.

What about you?

Do you play because you love the game and love to compete or do you play for the recognition and the hope someone will mention you on Twitter or Instagram?

John Wooden once said that “Success is never final and failure is never fatal.”

It would help all of us to remember that!

 

Please Santa, Not Another Penny Hardaway!

Not Another PennySonny Giuliano recently posted his NBA Christmas list and it’s a pretty good list of you are an NBA fan. However, item #7 really grabbed my attention and I want to share it here.

7: I want don’t want Derrick Rose to be Penny Hardaway. –Penny Hardaway in 319 games pre 1st knee injury: 19.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.9 steals, 48% FG, 4 All-Star appearances, All-Rookie Team, Two Time 1st Team All-NBA

-Derrick Rose in 279 games pre 1st knee injury: 21.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 0.9 steals, 46% FG, 3 All-Star appearances, Rookie of the Year, 2011 MVP, All-Rookie Team, One Time 1st Team All-NBA

-Penny Hardaway in 385 games post 1st knee injury: 11.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 43% FG

This is more of a gift for Derrick Rose and Bulls fans. You’re welcome, city of Chicago. I’ll always have your back, if only because of Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bears, Chicago style pizza and ER.

I had kind of forgotten just how good Penny Hardaway was before he got hurt and the kind of future that we all thought was inevitable for him. I hope he doesn’t mind but I am going to add Sonny’s #7 to my list too.

You can see Sonny’s entire NBA Christmas list here.

Image Source: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nba/photos/1205/beating-the-draft-lottery-odds/

Lebron on Creating Team Camraderie

Team Camraderie“It’s not like before the season starts I map out a plan or a blueprint about “How do you create camaraderie?

How do you create brotherhood?” I think it’s just part of who I am. I’m an unselfish superstar, and I work my butt off. I think that’s what creates it.

I’m not saying “Let’s work hard, let’s do this, let’s sacrifice” and then on the other end I’m not doing it myself – not working hard at practice, not sacrificing. I’m doing those things that I’m preaching and that creates it.”

The above quote was taken from the recent NBA Preview issue of ESPN Magazine

 

Meniscus Surgery Basics

Derrick Rose InjuryWith the recent revelation that Derrick Rose has suffered a meniscus tear and will require surgery here is a some general information on what he may expect.

The meniscus is a type of cartilage in the knee whose function is to help distribute weight and to improve the overall stability of the knee joint.

When injured, the meniscus usually either needs to be surgically removed or surgically repaired. When removed the recovery time can be as little as 6 weeks but over time the knee is going to wear out faster because of diminished stability.

This option would allow someone like Derrick Rose to get back on the court quicker but may shorten his career in the long run. On the other hand, meniscus tears that are repaired instead of removed could take as long as 6 months to heal to the point of where it’s fully functional again.

However, the long term function of the knee is much better. This option would allow someone like Derrick Rose to miss most of the current season but could possibly let him have a longer career.

It’s a big decision and I’m not exactly sure what I would do if I were in his shoes. What would you do?

 

Hoping for the Best for Derrick Rose

ACL InjuryBasketball fans everywhere are holding their collective breaths this week waiting to hear the results of a knee injury sustained by Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose last weekend against the Portland Trailblazers.

The injury occurred in the third quarter when Rose’s knee appeared to buckle without any contact of any kind. Those of us who have been in and around the game for awhile know that non contact knee injuries are more often than not torn ACL’s which usually require between 6 and 9 months of rehab. (Rose missed all of last year’s NBA season rehabbing a torn ACL on his other knee.)

Last February I posted several ACL facts on this blog and under the circumstances feel that those facts are worth repeating:

  1. There are an estimated 200,000 ACL injuries every year in the United States.
  2. Female athletes are 5-8 times more likely to suffer an ACL injury than males, but those numbers seem to be shrinking.
  3. 70% of ACL injuries are non-contact, they are a result from improper landing, cutting, & pivoting.
  4. The ACL provides approximately 90% of the knee joint’s stability.
  5. The highest incidence of ACL injuries is in females 15-25 years old who participate in sports which require jumping, quick change of direction & pivoting.
  6. The ACL is located inside the knee joint and stabilizes the joint by preventing the shinbone (tibia) from sliding forward beneath the thighbone (femur).
  7. The cause of most ACL tears is a sudden, abrupt change in force to the knee. This can occur during planting & cutting or when landing from a jump.
  8. No injuries can be completely prevented but a proper workout plan can drastically reduce your risk.

World renown basketball strength and conditioning coach Alan Stein has an excellent training program designed to reduce the risk of season ending ACL injuries that can be found here on the HoopSkills website.

The program was originally designed for female athletes since at the time relatively few men were tearing ACL’s. However, the number of men’s injuries have been on the rise lately and the information in the program can definitely help both and women.

To read more about Coach Stein’s ACL prevention workout click on the link below:

ACL Injury Prevention for Female Athletes

Image Credit: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/bulls/2013/11/23/nba-derrick-rose-bulls-blazers-knee-injury/3684687/

 

Happy Veteran’s Day Elgin Baylor!

Happy Veterans DayLeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durrant Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and many others are obviously great players but nothing they do will undoubtedly ever compare to the year that Elgin Baylor had in 1961

During that time Baylor averaged 38 points, 19 rebounds and 4 assists a game, and finished fourth in the voting for MVP (behind Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Oscar Robertson) even though he missed half the season, and did not practice a single day.

Why? Because during the week for the entire basketball season Elgin Baylor wore green khakis, lived in a barrack in Washington, and served in the US Military!

Then on the weekends he bought a coach ticket on a commercial airline and flew to wherever the Lakers were playing, played in the game(s) and then flew back to rejoin his squad. He went from one uniform to the next and every one of the 48 games he played in was an “away” game.

NBA greats George Yardley, Bill Bradley, and David Robinson all served in the military before they began their NBA careers but to the best of my knowledge Elgin Baylor is the only one who served during his career.

In a day and age when the word “hero” is often used too routinely, we should all take a moment on this Veteran’s Day and appreciate the real heroes of our country.

Elgin Baylor is one of them!