While we may hear from coaches in the NBA frequently – usually as they provide insight into team specific matters and games at hand – it’s rare to hear the discussion of the practice of coaching itself.
Coaches from around the Association, including Sacramento’s Dave Joerger, recently appeared on an episode of NBA TV’s Open Court to discuss the intricacies of coaching, from building team culture to finding ways to win and even the formalities of post-game greetings with opposing coaches.
Joeger was also joined by Scott Brooks from Washington, Quin Snyder from Utah, Jason Kidd from Milwaukee, and Mike Brown from Golden State during the hour-long episode.
The group of coaches discussed the evolution of big men in the modern NBA and how their perimeter and playmaking abilities have improved.
“It always seemed like a lot of championship teams had a stretch four, but where’s the next Corliss Williamson?” said Joerger. “The nasty three-man that can play on the perimeter and switch on one end and he can dive in there and kick your tail in the post. Maybe it goes all the way back around. Not necessarily that it’s a four or five power guy, but maybe it’s a big two or big three who can take a switch, as teams are doing, and go down there and beat somebody.”
Joerger also touched on the mentality of grinding out tough wins against good teams and the pitfalls of trying to deceive opponents.
“You can tinker, but to run out trick plays or special things over the course of a long season, players aren’t going to buy in, they’re not going to believe that stuff,” Joerger said. “It’s more about what you want to be about and do it night to night and occasionally run some disruptions.”
The episode also contained some more light-hearted discussion, as Bucks head coach Jason Kidd talked about learning from other coaches and something he wishes he could do as well as Coach Joerger.
“I watch them all. From plays, to how they stand, to how they carry themselves. I wish I could get down like David, I can’t squat down that low,” said Kidd, referring to Joerger’s frequent squatting while coaching games.
“I burn a lot of calories,” said Joerger between laughs.
As the subject shifted to what the protocol is for coaches exchanging handshakes and waves after a game, Joerger followed up with a story about how he was left hanging by Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy.
“I went over to see Stan one time, though. I put my hand out and he walked right by me,” joked Joerger. ”But stuff happens and there is a lot of emotion at that time and you don’t see that somebody even saw you.”
Parts of the episode from Open Court can be viewed here.