As many of you know I spent the last three days at the NBA Summer League in Orlando. First I would like to thank the Orlando Magic for putting together yet another successful and organized event. To sit and watch hoops essentially court side for three days with my father was such a great time of bounding and talking hoops. While there I received numerous texts that read, “Hey I see you on tv sitting behind the bench”, let me clarify that I am not that guy and sat there to get air time; while I have always wanted to be in Hollywood that was not my intent! I love sitting behind the benches so I can listen to the coaches talk amongst themselves and discuss defensive coverages throughout the game.
I could write for days about everything I learned over the three days at Summer League, but I really wanted to do was debunk some myths that I hear quite often about the NBA.
“They don’t play any defense in the NBA.”
That statement could not be further from the truth. There is constant chatter amongst the players and coaches on the bench and the players on the floor; and it is LOUD chatter. They also have game plans for every situation and player. For example, on a side out-of-bounds play if there is a shooter in the opposite corner they will Top Lock to prevent a wide pin down. Furthermore, the talk on pick & rolls in regards to the weak side help is very impressive to see and hear. Lastly, the players are so gifted offensively that sometimes they can make great defenders look mediocre, don’t let this fool you!
“They don’t play very hard in the NBA.“
If you are ever fortunate enough to attend a Summer League event or sit close to the floor during an NBA game you will quickly learn this is also not true. The physicality of the players, especially the bigs, is very impressive. If you are not a very strong player, you probably will not last long in the NBA. Whether it is screening, rebounding, or attacking the gym, there is a large amount of contact that these guys play through every time down the court.
Additionally, (and this was no surprise to me) NBA players are much bigger in person than on television. I cannot tell you home many times this week my dad said, “Man that guy is huge!”, often referring to Adre Drummond.
“They don’t run many plays in the NBA, it’s all isolations.“
I will somewhat agree with this statement because isolations do occur in certain match-up situations. However, I know first hand from my position with FastModel that these teams have hundreds of plays in their systems; with many actions to counter defensive takeaways. I will also say this, with the exception of special situations and certain coaching philosophies, plays in the NBA are not that in-depth. They are usually very simple reads that are well executed; there is so much focus making contact on screens, the angle of screens, timing of cuts, and running counters.
Bottom line, any basketball fan who says they do not enjoy watching the NBA has yet to appreciate the skill and attention to detail in the league. It is the best players in the World being coached by the best coaches in the World, how could you not enjoy watching that? Anyone who lives out on the West Coast and can make the drive to Las Vegas for a day or two, I highly recommend you take advantage and try to sit as close to the benches as possible.
Before I go, last Summer I discussed several topics in-depth after the NBA Summer League, you can read them all here: Red, Ice/Blue/Weak, UCLA vs Hawk Cut, Slice Cut. If you ever have any questions please comment below or feel free to email me anytime!