View Full Version : QOD: Can Team-Oriented Approach Work In NBA? {Pacers.com 10.9.06}

10-09-2006, 05:57 PM

Can Team-Oriented Approach Work In NBA?

Monday, Oct. 9, 2006<hr>
<table align="left" bgcolor="#ffc726" border="2" bordercolor="#00204e" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" width="90"><tbody><tr><td align="left">http://www.nba.com/media/pacers/conrad_brunner.jpg
Conrad Brunner</td></tr></tbody></table>
Q. Pacer Nation eagerly awaits the new open-throttle style of play. In general, the league seems to be moving toward (if not bracing for) it. But haven't the World Championships shown that such a style doesn't work against a good team concept? Have the pros simply given up on that? Further, doesn't such a style need an anchor to hold things together? (From David in Austin, Texas)

A. If you're comparing the Pacers' development of a new style and its likelihood of success against the NBA to the U.S. team's struggles against international competition, I'm not sure there's an analogy there. The problem with the U.S. team isn't necessarily the style of play; it's the lack of time the players can spend together to develop any kind of a sense of real team.

The message implicit from the past few years of international competition is that talent will only get you so far against teamwork.

Though it hasn’t been easy to watch the U.S. team struggle internationally, the byproducts ultimately should be good for American basketball fans.

Because international teams tend to play a more free-flowing style that relies more on team concepts than individual, those influences are finding their way into the NBA. The Pacers, while not molding themselves necessarily in the international image, are adopting an approach more in line with that philosophy. They want to run a little more, but not frenetically. In halfcourt situations, they want more movement on both strong and weak sides – more pass-and-cut and less isolation. On defense, they want to extend the perimeter pressure to try to create turnovers that fuel transition opportunities.

Because this is indeed a team-focused approach, it relies less on any particular individual to make it work. That's part of the benefit of having versatile players capable of being used at a variety of positions. At any given point of the game the Pacers will have at least two and possibly three players capable of bringing the ball up the floor and initiating the offense. Defensive matchups will be similarly flexible.

The NBA isn't "giving up" on international-style team play, as you suggest. In fact, the trend is much more towards embracing the basic principles of that philosophy. It will take some time for that transition in style to take hold but teams like the Pacers willing to be at the forefront of the shift should ultimately reap the greatest rewards.

10-09-2006, 06:11 PM
A little off-topic, but did anyone watch the Spurs vs. Maccabi yesterday? Maccabi had some of the best off the ball movement I've seen in a very long time.

I don't think this new style of play is as black and white is Conrad is making it sound. Since it will be a completely new approach it might take quite a bit of time to master, which will actually make it more reliant on the players who master it first.