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On the NBA Finals and “Summertime”!

Fall 2013, I had the chance to be sent by FIBA for an NCAA apprenticeship as a coach at Saint Joseph’s University. During my stay, I was more than happy to be invited at several practices of Brett Brown and the Philadelphie 76’ers. During the final phase of preseason, Coach Brown was finetuning a playing style, called “Summertime” with his players. “Summertime” was a playing mode, where everybody on the court should have plenty of fun, mostly by sharing the ball very quickly and insisting to make the extra pass.

Coach Brett Brown and me

Coach Brett Brown and me

A couple of days ago, I’ve read an excellent article by Jackie MacCullam for ESPN on “How Spurs’ majestic 2014 Finals performance changed the NBA“. To me, the victory of the Spurs over the Heat was mostly the victory of one of the most impressive and most beautiful types of TEAM BASKETBALL ever seen over the dominance of the most complete athlete in the world, Lebron James. I am sure that plenty of youth coaches all over the world, in different languages, used this story to convince their kids that sharing the ball is most effective on a basketball court. At least, I hope everybody seazed the opportunity, since too many isolation plays for Lebron might crown the Cavs this year. What to tell your kids then? 🙂

The ESPN-article describes more detailed the playing style of the San Antonio Spurs during the 2014 NBA-Finals:

Pop had his own name for it: Summertime,” Brown says. “It’s when you’re playing. Just playing. The ball’s moving, and the game’s flowing. You make a decision to shoot it, pass it, drive it. ‘Point five.’ That was the directive. You’ve got half a second. You’ve got a good shot, but he’s got a great one. So you pass him the ball, and there it is. It’s Summertime.”

Reading the article made me grab to my notes back in Philadelphia. It describes exactly the same principles Coach Brown was trying to install in his team. Which shouldn’t surprise, since Brown was for 7 years the assistent of Greg Popovic in the Spurs organization.

David Blatt and me

David Blatt and me

To be honest, I hope to see some more Summertime during the 2015 Finals from tonight (Game 5) on. The confrontation between a handicapped Cavs-team that runs too many isolation plays for Lebron and a struggling Golden State, hasn’t given many glimps of Summertime basketball yet. Allthough I have to admit that I am enjoying so far every single second of this Mastermind-game between Steve Kerr and David Blatt. Two new faces in the NBA, who were drinking a coffee together on an airport in June ’14, where Blatt practically agreed on being Kerr’s assistent. A couple of days later, he received a phonecall of the Cavs… I am thrilled to see them meet again tonight … in Game 5 of the NBA Finals!

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Recently I did a podcast with Chris Oliver of Basketball Immersion.