“Nobody says nothing about defense. Nobody thinks about the defense. It’s so important for our team. When we play defense, we are hard to guard because we get stops and then we’re one of the best fast-break teams.”
Archive for Defense
On playing defense:
“You either play it or you don’t. You do or you don’t. It’s a mindset, it’s a way you see the sport and we need to see the sport from that lens or we’re going to have those types of nights. We think that we’re going to do something offensively to get back in it and we’re getting tricked, we’re going to get caught and then that’s it. Until you approach the game to where scores are a problem . . . You have to feel it is a problem. Until you feel like every score is a problem, you should want to seek answers, you want to have an accountability where it’s a group thing, a team thing. Until you really do that you are going to have these types of nights from time to time.”
“We have to play better defense, but I’m tired of hearing myself. I think a layman says that you just [have to] try harder, and it’s so not true. My parents try hard, but they’re not going to come out and play great defense. There’s a lot more to playing an NBA defense than trying.”
“We’re in the wrong floor spots, we miss rotations, we foul shooters, we throw the thing away, our pace catches up with us. We go through patches where it’s deflating, you feel like you’re playing hard and somebody scores. I think the defensive intelligence and how we’re guarding, combined with the effort they give most nights, I’m proud to be their coach most nights. But at the end of the day, that all sounds great. We have to do a better job of playing defense because we’re going nowhere down the road unless we do.”
On Jeremy Lamb:
“We expect him to give us great energy on both ends. He can score the basketball. He can help our team score the basketball. But we like what he does defensively. We want him to continue to improve in that area because that’s what we build our success on.”
“I think as a team standpoint, we’re taking pride in our defense now. It’s not just me and Aaron … it’s everybody now. The fact that we’re all taking pride in that makes it a lot of fun for us to play defense and hopefully we can keep doing it in the Big Ten and keep going from there. Coach Matta talks about it a lot, about every game, that we’re the best defense in the country. We really want to have that in our heads that nobody should be able to score on us … From a viewpoint of other teams speaking of us as a problem on defense, we really want that to happen. We want them to be scared to play against us. As long as we can keep doing that, it’s going to make our game a lot easier.”
“Everybody has defensive responsibilities. We can’t have four guys playing and one guy watching.”
Last season ESPN’s Jay Bilas wrote a great piece on ‘toughness’. I thought it was a great read; one of the greatest pieces of advice on the game ever! Everyone raved about it; coaches all across America printed it and posted it in their locker rooms. They also passed it around as a hand-out.
Bilas did a great job breaking it down on what it took to get things done on the court, especially on a toughness level.
The game of basketball, especially at the highest level, is not for the weak. The higher in level you go, the tougher you need to be. (When I say tough, I don’t mean fist-fighting)
Here’s my take on toughness. The next few days I will break down different aspects of the game and where toughness factors in.
We all know about Allen Iverson’s ‘practice’ rant, one of the most played video clips of all-time; regardless of what A.I. said, practice is the backbone to a player’s success. It’s where you get your extra shooting in, you work on conditioning, and most of all, you get to spend time with your teammates running the offense and working together on the defensive end. It’s where you learn defensive principles, concepts and where you see who can help you on game day.
I once read a great quote about Michael Jordan being the greatest practice player in the history of basketball. I also found this from Adrian W. of Yahoo Sports on Jerry Krause.
“Michael absolutely killed Scottie in practice every day for his first two years. Mike just tore Pip up. He made Pip learn how to compete and forced him into playing hard. Had there not been someone to challenge Scottie like that, I’m not sure what would’ve happened to him.”
What if Jordan had not went after Scottie Pippen hard in practice every day? Would Scottie have been as great as he turned out?
You need to compete every day in practice; regardless if your best friend or roommate is guarding you in a scrimmage game or even if you are competing against them in a drill.
Here’s a piece on Jordan from ESPN’s Melissa Isaacson.
“We’d run a three-man shooting drill in practice,” longtime assistant Johnny Bach recalled. “And Michael always made sure he had the threesome he wanted. Not Trent Tucker, not Johnny Paxson, not Craig Hodges [among the best 3-point shooters in the league].
“He’d say, ‘I’m calling my pigeons up to shoot.’ They were shooting for some remuneration. He’d force himself to shoot under pressure. He needed a challenge to beat [Scottie] Pippen. He knew Horace [Grant] had a nice shot. He’d also throw some wicked passes to [his shooters]. You’re supposed to honor the code to throw a good pass to the shooter, but he had a way of throwing screwballs and sinkers. Not that he would have tolerated that. That was imperial Michael at his best.”
“Run it back, run it back,” is what Michael yelled when his team lost. It is what he said whenever he had lost.
Run it back, run it back is something that needs to be said over and over in practice if you expect to improve. Is it any wonder the greatest player in the history of basketball was arguably the greatest practice player of all-time?
Here are a couple of practice tips that all players can use:
Come prepared to practice hard every day. (Focus)
Take meaningful shots to warm up
Run the floor hard
Pay attention to the coaching staff
Challenge your teammates
Stay after practice and work on your offensive moves.
Get in extra shooting
Happy New Year!
Here are a few resolutions basketball players should really think about to start the new year off on the right track…
1-Become a better teammate (share the ball, be happy for your teammates success, encourage others, lift teammates up, don’t be late and go hard in practice)
2-Play with energy (this should be a given but there are still some guys who don’t go as hard as they should at both ends. Be active, be alert, be enthusiastic)
3-Spend more time in the gym (before and after practice; get up your shots! Work on your shooting. Lift weights, run and embrace the presence of being in the gym)
4-Defend (get down in your stance, pressure the ball, help-side, help and recover, close out and rebound! Talk, get over/under screens, sprint back in transition)
5-Appreciate the opportunity to suit up (it’s an honor to step on the court and play the greatest game in the world. It’s not who you’re playing against or where you’re playing, most important is that YOU’RE PLAYING!)
“The less motivated and the less determined weed themselves out.”