The following article comes from current LA Clippers VP of Basketball Operations Kevin Eastman. If you aren’t already signed up for his newsletter you need to do that as soon as you can.
At every level there comes a time in a game or a stretch of games when a player who hasn’t played much will be called on to perform and help the team win. We have all seen instances where a player meets this challenge and instances where the player simply is not prepared. Here’s a list of things I’ve observed from NBA players who sit for entire games, yet always seem to be ready when their number is called:
- Never gripe or complain. We want them disappointed because we want players who want to compete, but we have no need for someone who will strip our spirit.
- Are very focused on the bench. Often they will talk to an assistant about what is going on in the game.
- Are spirit givers not spirit takers. They remain positive and pull for their teammates.
- Treat their practices like their games. They don’t take it easy even when the guy who is logging all the minutes every night wants him to take it easy on him. The practice is their game and their game preparation.
- Pay serious attention to the scouting report, as they may be called on that night and need to know what and how we are doing things that night.
- Get extra conditioning and training. They have to match the cardio challenges that a game presents.
- Get extra game speed shooting work every day. Just “getting shots up” is not acceptable; they must be as game-like as possible.
- Concentrate on the likely match up they will have when they get in.
- Are prepared to offer suggestions to the players in the game. They know their role, however, and will only offer what they know the coaches want.
- Pay strict attention during timeouts, in case they are asked to go in halfway through the timeout.
- Remind others on the bench that they, too, have to stay ready and have to change the game with energy when they get in there.
These are just some things we will talk about with our rookies and our bench players…worth thinking about and adding your own to this list.