Seven Pearls of Wisdom from John ThompsonDuring NBA TV's broadcast of Dallas' 93-71 Vegas Summer League win over Sacramento, Rick Kamla and Steve Jones interviewed former Georgetown Coach/current TNT commentator John Thompson. Here are some interesting observations from Coach Thompson:
1) "One thing that I think youngsters have to realize is that when you are trying out or working out for these teams you are also showing people what you cannot do. Most people tend to think that they are showing what they can do but these scouts try to find out what you can't do and hopefully you have enough intelligence to understand what you can't do and try not to do it."
2) (On Patrick Ewing's stated goal to become an NBA head coach) "It doesn't surprise me at all because I know that Patrick is a very intelligent person. The thing I like about what Patrick has done is that he has not been afraid to go out and be an assistant coach, work with players, learn the game. Now this summer in Orlando he had an opportunity to coach in the summer league. You've got to go through that experience because there is a total difference between possessing knowledge and motivating other people to do it. He is going about this the right way."
3) (On the most difficult aspect of motivating players as a coach) "I think the most difficult part of it is to make kids understand that you can't do what you want to do. You are just like an actor. When you go into Hollywood you don't tell the director or the producer what you are going to do. You take their script and then you act it out. Most of these kids come in trying to convince you what they can do as opposed to finding out what you want done and then doing it. You see that here with all the big guys outside throwing up three point shots when their team may need a post guy. You have got to determine what these folks want or you are just fooling yourself. You may make 100 threes but if can't rebound and block shots you are going to get cut."
4) (On Patrick Ewing, Jr., a rookie with the Sacramento Kings) "The thing that I like about young Patrick is the very thing that I just said. He is not competing to be a starter. He is competing to be a substitute and he is smart enough to know that if I defend, rebound and do the energy things for a coach then there will be a spot for me on the team. I can't come on every team and think that I am going to take the role of Kobe. Some of these guys better grow up and understand that they are auditioning for bench spots, not to be superstars. That is what I like about little Pat: he's a hustle player. How many guys do you know who have been drafted in the second round who were substitutes who averaged four points a game? So he had to be doing something that pro scouts liked and that was hustling, being enthusiastic, rebounding and defending."
5) "What I think is really stupid--and I've said this to a lot of Georgetown guys--you would not go to work at a corporation without asking the boss what it is he wanted you to do. I think that a lot of players make a mistake--and definitely some of the kids that are here (in summer league)--in that they listen to their agent and their agent tells them how to play. You need to go to the man who is auditioning you and say, 'Sir, what are you looking for?' and then try to determine whether you can do that or add that to the team because what you may be doing best he may have six guys who can do that better than you."
6) (On the Nuggets trading Marcus Camby to the Clippers for a second round draft pick) "What is the sense of that? A lot of times fans will look at that and say, 'What is wrong with the general manager? What is wrong with the coach in making that decision?' But a lot of times that is a purely money decision made by ownership and a not a decision being made by those people. These guys are smart enough to know the game...'Down the line,' 'potential'--what that does is get the coach fired. All these guys who make these money decisions never factor that into the Ls and Ws that some poor coach has to sit there and work for. Those decisions don't relate to his judgment as far as a person being able to play or not being able to play."
7) "You have to impress somebody. You are not here just trying to blend in...You have to make sins of commission, not omission--guy wants to get cut, sit out there and do nothing...Red's (Auerbach) motto was 'What have you done for me lately?' and he'd say that to (Bill) Russell, 'What have you done for me lately?' and you know what Russell did for so many years."
posted by David Friedman @ 4:53 PM