Insight & Curiosity

I recently received some great questions from a mature prep school student athlete who is curious about the game of basketball. The questions sparked my answers below: 

Why is it that college teams typically run plays that incorporate everyone vs NBA teams that will isolate players or space the floor and run a two man game from the pick and roll? 

1) Why? Talent. You have the best players in the world, the best drive and kick guys, best shooters, best athletes in the world. Some NBA teams play smarter and harder than others, depending on the coach.  At the NBA level it’s a simple game with minor adjustments that make it complex to guard. 

Spacing is the ultimate foundation and when you have the best athletes in the world, with no hand checking rule, it’s virtually impossible to guard players off the dribble. 

2) The two most dominant plays in basketball are the pick and roll or with a great one on one player, teams will run isolations and pick and rolls. 

3) Analytics – it’s proven through analytics that the 3 ball and layups are the higher field goal percentages in the league. Therefore, good spacing, isolating and the pick and roll allows for this to happen.

Skill trainers have magnified this concept to the point where many have become Instagram trainers and influencers. It’s great that they have a platform, but someone needs to teach them how to: 

1) Inspire and educate players to play hard on both ends of the floor

2) Be a good teammate

3) Make good choices on both ends 

4) Life lessons

Why is the game played differently?

College teams run systems or sets because of the talent, skill set and decision making. However more and more men’s teams are starting to run NBA sets, such as Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Duke, etc. 

Should the NBA implement more intricate half court sets or should top college teams consider using a more simplistic approach? 

No – Keeping the game simple and more fun for the players, as well as more entertaining for the fans. 

People forget who created the game of basketball. It was a Doctor. Not a teacher, but a DOCTOR, a man who has taken years of education and schooling to earn the right to be heard. Props to Dr James Naismith.

I bet over half of all the players at all age groups and young grassroots coaches do not know the answer to both of these questions:

Who invented the game of basketball? And what were the two reasons he invented it. 

My point is, honor your life source and then you can access it better. 

Doctor James Naismith invented basketball for two reasons:

1) To bring the community together and fellowship over an exciting and entertaining game. To seek enjoyment. 

2) Something for kids to do inside during the winter. To exercise and have fun! 

Coaches sometimes take the JOY out of the game by being too systematic, dogmatic and bureaucratic. They coach out of control, fear and lack of positivity connecting skills. You can’t coach like that in the NBA, you would be fired within a week. Many can’t coach like that in College, because of the transfer portal. Thus, you see more simplicity in sets. 

Make no mistake, most NBA teams run great stuff. The tweaks, adjustments and counters they run are fascinating and fresh. 

I can list five different options that NBA teams run: 

1) Ice coverage on a SPR (side pick and roll)

2) Elbow horns set 

3) Pistol series

4) Floppy

Those are not SIMPLE to master but once learned and practiced, it looks simple on TV. 



I appreciate students and fans of the game that send me questions out of curiosity and love for the game. 

We have a lot of these types of students in our Mentorship Group. Join our MENTORSHIP and become a STUDENT OF THE GAME!

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