Quora Round Up – Questions on coaches

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What skills make Gregg Popovich a great coach? – Quora link

Gregg Popovich

Favorite answer by Pranav Ahuja:

1. Understanding the Game
Pop has an amazing understanding of the game. He’s changed a 10 year defensive powerhouse into an offensive team. He understood the players on the team, changed the centre of the offense from Duncan to Ginoblli to Parker- whoever was in their prime.

2. Playoff Adjustments
Pop is known to take away the opposing teams strengths. He just takes away the 3 things that they do best and asks them to come up with an answer. If you can’t do more than 3 things good against the Spurs, you can’t beat them.

He analyses the opposing team and just makes it tougher for them to play as a series progresses. (it helps having the Big3)

3. Free Thinker
He’s a free thinker who’s not influenced by anyone. Not even by the league. He does what he wants when he wants. A large part of that needs to be credited to Duncan and the Spurs organization as they’ve played a large role instilling the confidence in him.

4. Winning Plays
Pop is also not perturbed by any situation in the game and trusts his players to make the correct plays. He’s also come up with lots of winning plays in crunchtime situations.

Hats off to the man.. A very down to earth guy.

What must Erik Spoelstra do to become a better coach? – Quora link

Erik Spoelstra

Favorite answer by Joe Paul Gerardi:

Spoelstra needs to learn from his mistakes, make a plan and stick to it, and actually take responsibility for losses. The following is an excerpt of an op/ed I submitted to a local newspaper after the Game 2 loss…

So let’s be honest…Spoelstra’s love affair with Joel Anthony needs to stop immediately. And this is not to discount Joel’s effort or work ethic. Joel scored 9 points in Game 1, but it’s utterly realistic to expect 9 point production every game. Joel logged an abysmal 39 minutes in game two, while Udonis Haslem, a proven tough playoff competitor, played a total of 12 minutes but equaled Joel’s production.

Enter into the game Ronnie Turiaf. Lebron and Turiaf connected for baskets off of two consecutive pick-and-rolls in a row, and what does Spo do? He takes Turiaf out of the game, causing Turiaf to look to Lebron and having Lebron scowl toward the Heat bench. To put Lebron with one and sometimes two players who cannot create their own shot on the court at the same time has the effect of collectively stifling the offense.

Let’s not forget that Spo tired Lebron out playing power forward. Why on earth is Lebron playing power forward in the first place? Lebron is all of 6 foot 8 and 250 pounds, with the lightning quickness of a guard. Putting him on David West takes away the biggest advantage the Miami Heat has, Lebron’s ability as a shut down defender. We saw what happened when Spo put Battier on Carmelo in round 1 instead of Lebron…40 points and a loss. Why not unleash Lebron on Danny Grainger, the Pacers’ emotional leader, and see how that takes effect on the Pacer team.

However, nothing is more worrisome than the team’s fourth quarter offensive strategy. The Heat’s offense consists of Dwayne Wade or Lebron James holding the ball until there are 8 seconds left on the shot clock before beginning to attack. When the Heat have two of the greatest weapons in the game, the team must be in instant attack mode. Why put more pressure on the players? As if there isn’t enough pressure already. And when it comes down to the last possession, go with the hot hand. The team is named the Miami Heat after all..isn’t it! The last shot in game two should have been in Lebron’s hands, especially after the magical layup he made. We know that Spo likes to reminisce of the days of Dwayne Wade in 2006, but to bring out a set that other teams have seen for 5 years for the last play in game 2 constitutes an epic failure. The fact that this team does not have even a set rotation shows the coaches lack of preparedness. Mike Miller, Mario Chalmers, and Joel Anthony define inconsistency. It is what it is. Why not go to war with a starting lineup of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, and Ronnie Turiaf? At least then, we know what we are getting. Toughness, defense, and with Turiaf at center, ENERGY!

Who’s the best NBA coach of all-time? – Quora link

Phil Jackson

Favorite answer by Amartya Sengupta:

The two most-often cited answers would be Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach, primarily because of the number of championships they have won (11 and 9, respectively – next closest is Pat Riley with 5).

On the other hand, championships are just won measure of great coaching, and it is sometimes downplayed by pointing to the great players that championship coaches almost always get to coach. For example, Phil Jackson won 11 championships, but with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and Pau Gasol to call on. Red Auerbach had Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, KC Jones, and Tommy Heinsohn. Who gets credit – players or coach?

Some would make a case for coaches who do more with less, or who can build teams from nothing to perennial championship contenders (e.g. Greg Popovich, Larry Brown).

All that being said, I do think that Jackson and Auerbach are the top 2 nba coaches in history. They are #1 and #2 in championships, #1 and #5 in winning percentage, and both have careers lasting 20 years. They have also seen ridiculous stretches of consecutive titles, which is incredibly hard to accomplish. Phil has streaks of 3, 3, 3, and 2, while Auerbach once won 8 championships in a row.

Of the two, I think the edge goes to Phil Jackson. On top of the advantages in championships and winning percentage, Phil did it with two different teams with 3 or 4 completely different rosters. He introduced 2 new coaching techniques – the Triangle Offense and the “Zen” man management system (I know that isn’t very scientific). Also, there were significantly fewer teams in the Red Auerbach era, making a championship a little easier to attain, in my opinion. Finally, although Jackson did have great players to call on, none of them had won championships before Jackson got there, and they all achieved their peaks while playing under him. As you can see with the current Miami Heat, this is significant.

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