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90'sNBARocked
07-21-2011, 01:48 PM
Each week, HOOPSWORLD NBA analyst and coach Anthony Macri opens his notebook and offers an assortment of observations on games, players, and teams from throughout the league. Coach Macri serves as a player development consultant for the Pro Training Center and Coach David Thorpe, working with a variety of NBA players on their skills and game understanding. The Coach's Notebook appears on HOOPSWORLD every Thursday.


This is the third part in a series of articles on offseason player development at the NBA level. Right about now, every year, players contact trainers and skill development coaches to help them take their games to the next level for the coming year. This may be even more prevalent in this "lockout-enhanced" offseason. The majority of players that contact us at the Pro Training Center are about to enter a contract year, and are looking to put themselves in the best position to maximize their value for future negotiations. For this series, I will examine how we might put together an offseason skill development plan for players at the five positions on the floor, utilizing players who will enter the free agent market in 2012 as examples. Let's get to it…

Developing a Power Forward

In many ways, the role of a power forward has changed significantly in the last 15 years. The position has evolved to include the ability to do more and more away from the basket, and as players have gotten bigger, faster, and stronger, we've seen even more specialization at the four spot. The success of stars like Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki has made skilled perimeter play valuable for power forwards, but it is their ability to retain the "power" moniker that helps a player stick in the league for a long time.

Two players coming into contract years for their respective teams are Ryan Anderson and Marreese Speights. In many ways they could not be more different from each other and still play the same position. However, similar to the way we approached the offseason development plans at the center and point guard positions, Anderson and Speights would go through a very similar progressive workout plan. The areas we emphasize may change for each, but the fundamental approach to playing the power forward position would remain the same.

One of the critical areas of focus for any player (regardless of position) who walks into our gym is improving their commitment to rebounding the basketball. It is a simple way to increase one's value, because being a voracious rebounder is possible whether you are putting the ball in the basket or not. With players like Anderson or Speights, helping them recognize the value in devouring the glass would be huge for their careers.

While we want every player to work hard to get a hip on an opponent, locate the ball and release to retrieve it, smart scouts and coaches see the player who rebounds out of his own area. A great deal of time would be spent drilling the ability to track down balls outside of the six-foot radius a player occupies. We want rebounders to see a potential rebound on any shot, and to be selfish, greedy rebounders, taking it away even from teammates. A player should not assume his teammate will get the rebound – he should get it himself. This is a key trait good scouts look at when evaluating prospects: how well does he rebound when the shot caroms to the other side of the rim?

Going along with that idea, we would want players to value tracking down "orphaned rebounds." Missed shots bouncing into dead areas of the floor and would stand a reasonable chance of going out of bounds should be tracked down and gathered. Imagine a player adding just one or two of those orphaned balls each game: it has a sizable impact on their box score stats, their rebound rate, and the way that additional position for their team is recorded. Over a season, this has a huge impact.

The easiest way to see this type of play at work is in the career of Udonis Haslem. Haslem finished his time at Florida as a big-time scorer, but had to change his body and the way he played to be a successful professional. The idea of dedicating himself to being the best possible rebounder was the ticket for him and he bought into it completely during his offseason preparation. Is it possible for a Marreese Speights to make the same transformation and commitment? We would find out.

In my last article on point guard development, I discussed the way we might approach teaching the ball screen from the perspective of the guy handling the ball. The screener would also have some pretty specific teaching points to take in. The first thing would be teaching the screener to "sprint to set." In other words, we never want a screener to loaf or move slowly into position to screen. They should be sprinting into a position to set screens – putting pressure on the defense to adjust rapidly and giving them a chance to make an error in communication is huge.

Most power forwards are encouraged to look for pick & pop opportunities where they can get to an open area from which they can consistently make shots, though some are also encouraged to roll toward the rim for chances around the basket. We would work on both variables throughout the summer, but both Anderson and Speights would spend a lot of their shooting time with us in pick & pop situations. Our goal would be getting them to set the screen, providing an attack angle for the ball-handler to use. Then, they would sprint to a spot on the floor from which they are confident in shooting, and turn to receive. The real point of emphasis here (aside from running to a spot they are comfortable shooting from) is to gain separation from the ball-handler. The more separation they can gain, the more pressure they put on the entire defense, especially their defender who is typically asked to hedge and recover.

This emphasis would be particularly important for Anderson, who has been successful as a pick & pop player. The more it can become what he is known for offensively, the more valuable he becomes. Teaching a variety of options off the catch would be important, as well (and there will be more on face-up attack dynamics in a future article).

For Speights, while we would work on his ability to pick & pop, a separate area of emphasis would come to the forefront. His ability to be effective in the high post and pinch post areas (around the elbows and free throw line) is huge for his continued development. In many of today's offenses he would be stationed on the weakside opposite the ball and called on to flash to the high post area when defenses dictate. From this area we would work on a lot of his rip and go game, his turn and face game, and a variety of ways to make plays with cutters who rub off his shoulder after he receives the ball. Many players do not use this area of the floor as well as they should – and since defenses are designed to keep the ball out of the middle of the floor, the better a player is at attacking from the middle of the floor, the more valuable he can be on the offensive end.

A final point of emphasis for both would go along with how I introduced the article on development of the center position. Both Anderson and Speights (along with at least a dozen other power forwards in the league) need to embrace the enforcer mentality. While power forwards have become more skilled over the last fifteen years, there has also been somewhat of a dropoff in the general "edginess" of the position. Centers need a disposition to dominate, and power forwards have to embrace the enforcer mentality to truly be successful. If Anderson and Speights were to focus on the major areas above, the results in their games would be enormous and very visible for the rest of their careers.



Read more NBA news and insight: http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=20440#ixzz1SlMvNkam

pacer4ever
07-21-2011, 01:51 PM
you cant teach rebounding IMO. You either have a nose for the ball and the motor for it or you don't. 80% of rebounding is done on the floor not in the air athleticism doesn't matter much IMO just the desire and want to get the basketball.

90'sNBARocked
07-21-2011, 01:53 PM
you cant teach rebounding IMO. You either have a nose for the ball and the motor for it or you don't.

You can make a Roy Hibbert into a Dennis Rodman, I agree

But I believe , like anything else in life, if you practice hard enough at it you can improve onn the current skill

pacer4ever
07-21-2011, 01:58 PM
You can make a Roy Hibbert into a Dennis Rodman, I agree

But I believe , like anything else in life, if you practice hard enough at it you can improve onn the current skill

name one guy who improved his rebounding from college drastically in the NBA or name one guy who couldn't rebound and suddenly learned? (i honestly cant think of one)


on the other hand name one great re bounder who got much worse at the next level?

rebounding is all mind set IMO and you either have it or you don't IMO.

troyc11a
07-21-2011, 02:07 PM
You can make a Roy Hibbert into a Dennis Rodman, I agree

But I believe , like anything else in life, if you practice hard enough at it you can improve onn the current skill


Players can get better or worse at something depending on how much work they put in. Just about every NBA player has the ability to rebound and play defense (especially in a team concept as opposed to one on one).
What separates these players is their work ethic.
Larry Bird couldnt jump over a piece of paper yet he was a really good rebounder. He wasnt the most athletic guy but yet was a decent defender and was constantly taking guys off the dribble.
Some guys have more ability than others, but every NBA player is an outstanding athlete or they wouldnt be where they are! So yes, drive and work ethic is probably 90% of rebounding and defense.

OakMoses
07-21-2011, 02:09 PM
They name one in the article: Udonis Haslem. His numbers haven't dramatically increased, but he averaged 8.3 rebounds per game his senior year of college and 8.1 rpg over his 8 year NBA career.

pacer4ever
07-21-2011, 02:13 PM
They name one in the article: Udonis Haslem. His numbers haven't dramatically increased, but he averaged 8.3 rebounds per game his senior year of college and 8.1 rpg over his 8 year NBA career.

:confused: they are the same he was a good rebounder in college and is a good rebounder in the NBA

microwave_oven
07-21-2011, 02:45 PM
:confused: they are the same he was a good rebounder in college and is a good rebounder in the NBA

Rebounding numbers in the college game will generally be lower because the game is 8 minutes shorter.

Gamble1
07-21-2011, 02:46 PM
name one guy who improved his rebounding from college drastically in the NBA or name one guy who couldn't rebound and suddenly learned? (i honestly cant think of one)


on the other hand name one great re bounder who got much worse at the next level?

rebounding is all mind set IMO and you either have it or you don't IMO.
The competition makes your question a bit dubious IMO. Really I just would hope that a guys rebounding in the NBA doesn't drop off a lot like Haslems.

Boozer college stats were 7.2 rpg and in the NBA he averages 10. I am sure I could find more.

Edit: To answer who has droped off would be Milsap. He went from 13 rpg in college to 7.6 rpg in the NBA with almost the same playing time and Tim Duncan droped by around 2 as well.

Swingman
07-21-2011, 04:49 PM
If rebounding is a mindset then why can't one improve?

Changing your mindset isn't mission impossible....unless you're on a message board vbg

90'sNBARocked
07-21-2011, 04:55 PM
As I said earlier I believe most ANYTHING can be improved with practice

Why do elite sprinters like Usain Bolt still work on the 100 meter dash? Because even though his speed is world class, he can still improve it

Hibbert for example may never be a great rebounder , but through practice and determination he can get better

I know what you are saying is basically talking about God Given Talent

beast23
07-21-2011, 11:46 PM
I would totally agree with the opinion that very few NBA players significantly improve their rebounding skills throughout their careers. However, I would strongly disagree that is not possible for players to markedly improve their rebounding skills.

The vast majority of NBA players rebound using nothing more than athletic abilities. With dedication to blocking out, an individual player may not make much of a difference in his own personal rebounding stats, but would likely make a difference in his team's rebounding percentages. Five players on the floor willing to block out their men would lead to much better rebounding percentages.

I've always believed that there are certain things done on the court that may never show up in a box score, but contibute signficantly in a team's likelihood of winning games. Boxing out is one. Contending shots and setting timely/hard screens are other examples. All of these are skills that are highly important for any successful PF.

ECKrueger
07-21-2011, 11:47 PM
You can definitely improve rebounding. There are techniques, etc. you can pick up. They may never be as good as someone with "a nose for the ball," but you can definitely teach rebounding to a degree.