ON RUSSELL WESTBROOK

From Kobe Bryant:

“When I turn on the TV and I watch players play, the player that plays with the same kind of emotion and grit and competitive intensity is Russell [Westbrook].”

“When I was young and playing, that wasn’t the perception. The perception was that I was headstrong, obsessive about the game of basketball, but as time has gone on and people have been able to see how obsessive I’ve been about winning, then that’s kind of become, they’ve kind of come to know me as that, right. So there are certain young players out there, I’m sure, that have that mentality, but over time we will be able to see who is who.”

“Russell is going hard. Doesn’t matter who he is playing against, doesn’t matter what the odds are, he’s going, that’s a guy, he is going 110 percent every single time.”

Source: http://clutchpoints.com/kobe-bryant-sees-himself-in-russell-westbrook/

JUSTIN ANDERSON

Entering his second season with the Dallas Mavericks:

“I think the best thing for me is to kind of be mature about this process and figure out what this team needs me to do this year, and go out there and try to practice it and try to put some of these things into play. With that being said, also having a high level of aggressiveness. But at the same time, just doing it the right way. Just playing the game the right way is what I’m focused on.”

STATS

Everyone is into numbers.

Happy to see the NBA is keeping “hustle” stats.

-Contested Shots
-Charges Drawn
-Deflections
-Loose Balls Recovered
-Screen Assists

I love this.

These are all traits of “playing the right way.”

PROGRESS TAKES TIME

Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees is on fire.  He’s got 9 home runs in his first 19 games with the club. Here’s a good story on his journey. This past Spring, things didn’t work out. He stayed in the minor leagues and was able to play and develop.

“When he got back here, he got to work right away. I think he knew it was just a matter of time for him. There wasn’t a letdown or a funk; he just got to work right away, picked up where he left off last year and in spring training and added to it. He was committed right from the beginning. He was able to focus more on the game-planning, the pitch-calling, his receiving.”

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/gary-sanchez-didn-spring-woes-yankees-article-1.2765941?utm_content=buffer5765b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=NYDNSports+Twitter

 

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

Good stuff from Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson:

“Isn’t player development coaching? Helping players improve?  Putting them in a position to succeed?  That’s the difference between a ‘workout guy’ and a ‘player development guy.’  A workout guy is doing mindless reps and ‘hey, you’re getting a good sweat.’  I think player development is really linked to coaching and figuring out the nuances.”

Here’s the entire interview.

http://www.netsdaily.com/2016/8/23/12603444/kenny-atkinson-roster-not-system-will-dictate-brooklyn-nets-offense

ARON BAYNES

Watching Australia in the Olympics I came away very impressed with their team. I loved their backcourt of Delly and Patty Mills but the guy who stood out to me was Aron Baynes. Loved the way he rebounded, defended and set screens. Here’s Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy on Baynes’ play at the Olympics:

“He played very well, very steady basketball. The guy is just a good basketball player. Aron gets it. He plays good, hard team basketball. Aron’s the kind of guy who is never going to complain or make an excuse. You give him a job to do and he’s going to do it as well as he possibly can. I thought he competed well.”

USA BASKETBALL

I watched every single game. Watched every second.  Even replayed a few possessions from both ends of the floor. ( I love DVR)  I came away impressed with Team USA men’s basketball.

I did not buy into all the “slippage” talk. Or the, “they have the right/or wrong unit out on the floor,” that’s weak.

Players struggle, it happens. Plus, I don’t think we give the opponent enough credit.

If you have been around this game long enough, you will experience struggles at times as a coach or a player. No one is perfect. We learn to keep battling, keep fighting and of course, you learn to work it out.

How about the “This team hasn’t been together long enough to practice” excuse. That drives me crazy when the announcers say that. For all the ballers out there; when you go to a spot to play pick-up ball, most times you are stuck with teammates you have never played with before. That never seems to matter. If you play the right way, you win. Share the ball. Cut. Defend. Rebound. Play hard.

cropped-usa-basketball-pic.jpg

The pundits look for any little negative when things go wrong. Especially when it comes to American basketball.

As a coach, at times, I am guilty of it. We want to fix it; but we don’t “fixate” on it.

Team USA crushed Serbia on Sunday in the Gold medal game, 96-66.  It was just a few days before where the entire world watched the Serbs take USA to the wire, losing by three.

“OH NO! THE WORLD IS CATCHING UP…”

Serbia had a chance to tie the game with an open three from the left wing but the shot missed. A WIDE OPEN JUMP SHOT!

It’s all good. USA won. That’s most important.

Just win baby…

There’s too much spirit with guys like Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and DeAndre Jordan; American players who play the right way.

We see it every night here in America.

Kudos to Jerry Colangelo for taking control of USA basketball and bringing in the right mix of players.

Durant scored 30 points in the gold medal game on 10-19 shooting including 5-11 from distance. Remember when they said American players couldn’t shoot from the outside? Yesterday Serbia shot 19% from distance.

Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving did a tremendous job in the Olympics. After winning the NBA championship in June, Irving led Team USA by sharing the ball, not turning it over and making clutch shots.

Much respect to Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks. Melo became the first male basketball player to win 3 Olympic gold medals. He could have said I’m not playing, I’m staying home to rest but no, Anthony made the trip and committed to winning once again.

Loyalty.

Credit USA’s defense.  Another area of the game USA has been criticized for over the years. USA shut down Serbia’s M. Teodosic, holding him to  4-11 shooting, 0-5 from distance. Teodosic is a really good player. I love his game.

Three straight gold medals for Team USA; 6 of the last 7. Give other countries credit, they are getting better. The coaching has improved, they compete and of course play the right way. I have come to enjoy how well Australia, Argentina, Serbia and Spain all play the game.

But for now, basketball in the USA is pretty good.

Matter of fact, it’s the best.

Like Diana Taurasi said about basketball players in America, “we bleed basketball.”

-Coach Finamore

Hoops135@hotmail.com