Sideline Stories – Basketball Coach Weekly 185

Here is a recent interview that was published in the most recent Basketball Coach Weekly – Issue 185

I appreciate Basketball Coach Weekly’s Editor-in-Chief, Mike Austin, interest in my perspective and decision to step away from the game temporarily due to family obligations.

I am looking forward to getting back to the sidelines very soon.

Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo

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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

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

Hoops 101: Don’t Ask Mr. Cruz

All politics aside, here is a sure fire way to not win the state of Indiana when running for President (see DailyMail.com article).

It’s a basket, hoop, rim, the tin, goal…there are so many synonyms. Just don’t use “ring” when you are possibly the most passionate basketball state in America when explaining the basket, Mr. Cruz.

Coach Bob Knight, a Donald Trump endorser, was quick to criticize Cruz and noted that “a guy that would come into this state (Indiana) and think that we played with rings instead of baskets is not a guy that’s very well prepared to do a whole hell of a lot.”

Coaches, be sure to communicate effectively with your team or the message you may be sending may get totally skewed.

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