Art of Playing Point Guard

Here are 5 musts for point guards according to ESPN’s Monday, Feb 20th telecast of the Iowa State/Texas Tech game:

1.Eliminate emotional fogs

2. Decision maker vs. Risk taker

3. Don’t be shot happy but make open shots and timely shots

4. Defend your position

5. Make your team and teammates better

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Grumpy to Gold: Don’t Forget 2004

AI and TD

With Team USA’s dominance on the international basketball stage since their return to the 2008 Olympics, it is easy to forget their failure in 2004.

Here are some articles that chronicle the 2004 team and the organization’s resurgence.

Red, White and Bronze: The death and rebirth of USA Basketball

Dunk’d: An Oral History of the 2004 Dream Team

Rio Olympics: Ranking the seven U.S. men’s basketball teams of Dream Team era

New details on what went wrong for USA Basketball in 2004

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

The Fine Line

I love this response by Steve Kerr in regards to Curry and Thompson and their shooting ability and shot selection.

Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors Head Coach – Game 6 Postgame Interview

I think at all levels “what is a good shot” is discussed by coaching staffs for each player. Time, score and momentum are all factors in what makes a good shot.

Coaches, let’s get the conversation started as to what is a good shot for you and/or your offensive system. Please leave feedback below.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener: More Than Just Championships

Thunder Road – Sports Illustrated – Lee Jenkins – May 30, 2016

This article by Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated show’s why Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook may stay in Oklahoma City no matter what their fate is this season in their quest to the NBA Championship.

It just goes to show that despite the yearly coaching carousel, the mass exodus by transfers every year in college basketball and NBA free agents bolting for the money, maybe, just maybe, Durant and Westbrook are mature beyond their years.

Sometimes the grass is not always greener and quality of life and building a lasting legacy will mean more down the road.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

 

 

 

NBA Conference Finals: Open Court

Here are a few thoughts on the NBA Conference Finals:

– Isn’t it amazing how fast momentum can turn in a series? A famous saying in baseball is that “you are only as good as today’s starting pitching”. Maybe basketball’s version should be “you are only as good as you are when you are making shots”.

– All the pressure is now on the Thunder. If they lose game six, all bets are off. Durant and Westbrook could go from dominating a the best regular season team ever in a short series to losing a 3-1 lead in dramatic fashion. If they lose a 3-1 lead, the narrative will certainly change to “still can’t get win the big one” instead of “it’s their time and they are the most explosive duo to possibly ever play together.”

– If you are Coach Billy Donovan, you have to like the effort his team played with in Game 5 last night. It would have been easy for OKC to mail it in and say let’s win Game 6 at home. Instead, even with under a minute left, Westbrook rebounded his own free throw miss and kicked it to Durant who had a clean look at a 3pt shot, which would have cut the lead to a one possession game. It was great to see OKC’s bench reaction to Durant’s miss. They all gave him five and knew they were just a few plays away from stealing the game and closing out the series.

– Why does Draymont Green feel the need to kick everytime he jumps for a rebound/shot?

– The Raptors have been in this situation before. You know after Gam 2 when nobody gave them a chance to win. It should be interesting to see what kind of resolve they come out with tonight at home vs. Cleveland.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

No Repeat

With the “Big Papi farewell tour” officially underway it got me thinking how the most recent farewell tours have ended.

Peyton’s season was his worst statistically and was turbulent at best. Peyton was hurt, benched but rose again to play good then average in the playoffs. He was such a shell of himself, the Broncos basically took the ball out of his hands and let the defense win Super Bowl 50. Nevertheless, Petyon hoisted the Lombardi Trophy for the second time in his career, despite his less than stellar contributions. Peyton also had to deal with accusations of performance enhancing drug use and sexual misconduct during his time in college at the University of Tennessee.

Kobe’s goodbye started with him under performing mostly on a very bad Lakers team. In fact, his last two seasons the Lakers had the worst season in both wins and winning percentage in their storied history. With his body deteriorating, Kobe announced on November 29th, 2015 that the 2015-16 season would be his last. Kobe went on to have some memorable game during the year showing glimpses of his former self and dropped 60 in his last game. Although he was cheered at every home and road contest, it was hard to watch at times, but all in all I think basketball fans appreciated the chance to see Kobe one last time and respected that he went out on his own terms.

Likewise, David Ortiz announced before the season began that the 2016 season would be his last. Ortiz, arguably the most clutch athlete in Boston sports history, had a solid 2015 season batting .273, driving in 108 RBI and hitting 37 homers. This season in 16 games, Ortiz is batting .286, has drove in 14 runs, is slugging .589 and has hit 3 home runs.

So which will Papi’s send off be like: Peyton’s or Kobe’s?

Hopefully sports fans will see a mix of what Peyton’s and Kobe’s final seasons look like. A splash of Peyton’s team success with a dash of Kobe’s legendary finish.

Maybe though, Ortiz and add his own ingredient of how a larger than life sports hero is supposed to walk off.

In a perfect sports ending, Ortiz will give fans statistical consistency coupled with flashes of brilliant performances, remain healthy and continue to be the club leader on a competitive/successful team all while appreciating in his career and smiling until his final at-bat.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

Basketball and Technology: A SOLID Bet

Anyone who is watching the Pistons-Cavs series can see that Detroit is competing every possession in this series. They have a solid young nucleus of talent and an experienced coaching staff that the fans of Detroit will be able to support for years to come as the Pistons look to return to their glory days.

Actually, if not for a few clutch shots, a stop here or there and being able to keep their best player, Andre Drummond, on the floor as much as possible, this series could look much different years ahead of schedule.

Most concerning are Drummond’s struggles from the line. Drummond’s free throw line woes (he shot a NBA all-time worse 35.5% from the charity stripe this season) have kept him on the sideline in this series more than Head Coach Stan Van Gundy would like. However, it is not because of SVG’s lack of creativity and coaching approach.

Van Gundy recently used some outside-the-box thinking with Drummond as he turned to SOLIDshot, a high-tech basketball solution company that’s slogan emphasizes: “Instant feedback for instant improvement.” (see Ananth Pandlan CBS Sports article and SOLIDshot video).

Of course if the NBA changes its “Hack-A” rule this offseason, then this change may also be a way for Drummond to see the floor much more. The “Hack-A-Shaq/Drummond/Howard/etc.” strategy has been used more widely (according to the Pistons-Cavs ESPN broadcast last evening) this season and makes for the NBA game almost impossible to watch when the strategy is employed for certain players. Even if there are rule changes, teams may still continue to put Drummond to the line with a less obvious off-the-ball approach if he cannot increase his free throw percentage.

Either way it looks like the SVG and SOLIDshot will be rooting for Drummond’s free throw percentage to improve. If it does, the NBA could see the Pistons rise to the top of the Eastern Conference and SOLIDshot could be a staple in NBA, NCAA and high school gyms across America.

In addition, NBA fans may no longer be subjected to the dreadful march to the free line but instead can watch the game flow as it was intended.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo