These are in no particular order, but are some of the things you hear in the media, or on message boards, that people SAY or THINK are really important to winning, but in my view aren't nearly as important as most fans think:
1. "Off floor chemistry". You hear this alot from losing teams and franchises.....often you'll hear something like "This guy is good in the lockerroom or clubhouse." Now, Im not saying that you want your entire team fighting with each other and stabbing each other in the back in the media, not at all. I'm just saying that how players communicate and get along ON THE COURT is much more important than if they get along away from the arena. I always have believed and told teams that I don't really care if you all get along with each other or not, but it would be more FUN for all of us if you do....but either way we are going to do things on the floor the right way.
Chemistry is tricky anyway.....lets say you have 8 players on your team that laugh and joke alot, all get along, and in general are fun to be around but are average players. You get a new player who plays harder than they do, works out extra hard, watches more film than they do, and because of that gets to play ahead of some of the guys in the 8 player "clique."...The 8 returning guys don't like the new guy that much, so therefore you might say the "chemistry" is bad now on this team.....you tell me, is there really a problem here? If so, who is the bad apple in this case? Chemistry problems and solutions arent always as apparent as they seem....
2. " We don't have enough experience." Thats an excuse usually....the best players are the best players, and thats who should play. Too many decisions are made based on who has 'experience" and who doesnt. How many times have we seen a coach bring in an older player in a clutch situation, even though in reality that player is worse than the guy he replaced? You see that in baseball all the time, when some idiot manager takes out a young pitcher for some old reliever who sucks, but has the elusive "experience", and you see it in basketball too often as well.
3. Coaches off season favorite quote: "We want to play more uptempo."
We are going thru this here this summer, but it isnt just us. Almost every college and pro coach tells his fan base this each summer, to persuade potential recruits and alumni to get on board, and to excite the fans enough to start buying tickets. No one ever announces this: "This year, we are going to try and slow it down, maximize each possession, because our defense still sucks and we only won 25% of our games last year." I know in our case we are making personnel changes that would indicate we really ARE going to play a little faster, but all 30 teams are saying that I promise you, and few of them will follow thru.
4. Timeouts. In generally, these are overrated. Most of the time there is actually very little done during a timeout other than just get a rest...there is very little actually strategic changes or anything, yet every time you see a 6 point spurt by someone, the opposition coach jumps up to stop the run. This always amuses me especially if its right out of a quarter or halftime break.....15 minutes to discuss things werent long enough? LOL....Im not saying they arent effective in some cases, but in general, they are overused. Also, I guarantee that at the end of games when coaches diagram something on their board, that more often than not the play designed isnt what happens......and i'd also tell you that generally whats being drawn isnt something new, but its just a reminder of something thats been done in practice time and time again. No coach becomes a genius by something he instantly comes up with at the spur of the moment in a 20 sec timeout.
5. Halftime pep talks. These don't work over an 82 game season, especially with experienced professionals who already have pride in their performance. Actually, Id bet you that the coaches only address their teams about 2 minutes total during these breaks.....
6. "Revenge" as a motivator. People don't play well just to spite someone else....they have to play well for other reasons, be it pride, or desire to achieve great things, or whatever.....being motivated to gain revenge on someone because they've beaten you isnt a strong enough of an emotion to carry you long into games.
7. "Confidence" for a player. Thats crap basically when you hear a statement like this :"Johnny is a better shooter than he is showing, he just has lost his confidence." Or you might hear " Tommy was doing so well, but then the coach yelled at him and he lost his confidence." I hate that as an excuse, I really do. My statement to that is " I could care less if you have all the confidence in the world, or if you have none....when you play or, or make a move, or take a shot I WANT TO HAVE CONFIDENCE AS YOUR COACH it will work!" For instance, for our team what good does it do for Stephen Jackson to have confidence that he can make a 22 ft jumper off the dribble with a hand in his face, if indeed he can't? I hear the confidence argument on other players too....I say, especially at the NBA level, if you are so weakminded that a little adversity or failure hurts your so called "confidence" to the point you can't play effectively, then you are too weakminded to be here....quit feeling sorry for yourself and get better, so I personally have enough CONFIDENCE to put you back out there.
8. Blocked Shots....now, Im not saying they aren't nice to have, im just saying they arent as important as CONTESTED SHOTS, i.e. shots taken while being guarded with a hand up in the shooters face. If some player blocks 3 shots a game, but 7 other times he gets faked out and gives up a driving layup, then is this guy really as big a help as he seems to be defensively? Or if while hunting for a block he leaves his man open to get a rebound putback, or if he blocks it violently out of bounds and gives the offense the ball back....does any of that really help you?
9. 3 point shots early in the game, especially if all by one guy. This can become "fool's gold" for a team, and if they forget to get the ball inside, or drive and get foul shots, early success for the 3 can often breed a lack of movement and a reliance on difficult shots that often can get you in big big trouble in a game.
10. The starting lineup is way way way overrated. I know its fun to talk about, but just think about it: is who plays the very first 6 minutes of the game more important than who plays the last 6 minutes? Of course not....right now we have threads discussing who will start for us on opening night, but does it really matter? I think it would be smarter to worry about who is going to play in the last quarter of the game, with winning or losing on the line. Who do we want in up 8 with 3 minutes to go? Who do we want in if we are behind and have the ball late? Who do we want in if we are up 2 with 10 seconds left and they have the ball? Who do we want to take the last shot for us, and how do we want to get it to him? These are the things coaches worry about, and consider key decisions. They are really the things we should think about too.
Sorry for the rant....those things have been on my mind while reading some message boards this past week, not just here. I'm sure there are other overrated things too that you all may want to post as well.