Pass the Exam Or Shut Up
by Seth Partnow (@SethPartnow) – Nylon Calculus
Hey you. Yes you. With the keyboard. I have something for you. It’s a simple exam. Just three questions. If you answer them right, I’ll let you back on twitter or that message board or that call in radio show.
What did Monty Williams shoot from the foul line last night?
How many turnovers did Scott Brooks have this season?
Why did Byron Scott tell Kobe to stop shooting? Ok that one was a trick question.
Still if you said “zero” to the first two, you’re right! They did none of those things. Because they are coaches. Coaches coach. Players play. The things the players do go onto the scoreboard. The things the coaches do don’t. I hope this help, because to follow along with the games in popular discussion, it really seems like Doc Rivers is out there stripping the ball from Blake Griffin at crucial times while Terry Stotts sets crushing ball screens that Dame Lillard just can’t get through despite his best efforts and flawless technique.
And of course, Monty Williams single-handedly blew a 20-point lead by instructing his players to get out-hustled, out-muscled and basically out fought for every rebound and loose ball down the stretch. Because it’s not like by virtue of having all the best players save one, Golden State is likely to flat play better.
How did they build that twenty point lead?
“They scouted us well. They were able to shut down a bunch of the stuff we were running.” That’s Steve Kerr by the way, talking about how the Pelicans built that cushion in the first place. He’s just another know-nothing though, did you SEE him letting him team foul off the ball with 10 seconds left. Who does that? (Sorry that’s another trick question. Klay Thompson, a player, you know, on the floor made that mistake.)
My goodness, that sounds almost like preparation! Can’t be true, he’s just the worst. Somebody with more followers than me on twitter said so, it must be true.
In all semi-seriousness, the guys on the floor decide 95% of the games. It’s that simple. You see a player make a dumb play, it’s more likely because that player makes dumb plays than because he was poorly instructed at the NBA level. NBA coaches are middle management, not bosses. They certainly aren’t gamer-gods holding the PS4 controller and simming to the end of the season when things go poorly.
But they do do things. Preparation. Motivation. Strategy. Planning. Stuff there’s about a 95% chance you have little experience with and even less knowledge of. The kind of stuff that doesn’t show up on the screen. But hey, you watched this game for 45 minutes or so, so you probably DO know better than someone who has spent a lifetime getting to this position and 15 hours a day on it.
That’s probably the next great revenue stream for the NBA – the GameTime App will include in-app purchases that let only the most knowledgeable and committed fans make substitutions and play calls for only $1.29 each. It will be amazing, and you’ll all finally get exactly the coaching performance you deserve.
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