"Guys who know how to play"
That's a quote my brother says a lot when referring to basketball players.
Now, why am I quoting my brother? Simple. Because he knows a crap load more about basketball than I ever will. Some background? Beyond a select few guys here I would actually give you his name and you would be able to google him and see some of his stats. No, he didn't play CIS, played OCAA and was a pass-first PG. He knew how to run an uptempo offence and a half court offence. Heck, if he really wanted to, he could've played pro/semi-pro in some European country (Finland, Denmark, Sweden etc.) but well he didn't want to. I speak of him, because I just want to provide SOME context as to why I trust his opinion. He knows this game.
Anyways, when we were watching a few weeks ago (beyond his dismissal of Kyle Lowry) he mentioned talent helps you but you don't win because of talent alone. It's about having a bunch of guys who know how to play. I asked him what he meant by that. His reply?
"The game becomes more 'fun' because you're not worrying about when you'll get your shot, or if you'll get the ball back. You know they'll help you on offence and you know they understand their role."
When we spoke about last year's team, we talked about how last year's team maybe didn't have talent, but everyone knew how to play. No one tried to do too much and everyone played to their perfection. They wouldn't win many games (because of a lack of talent) but they competed because of who they were as players. There was trust among the guys.
That brings us to this season. Talent doesn't win. It helps, but these guys just don't trust each other. Not on offence and not on defence. And when you don't trust each other, you're not willing to play that much harder. You just kind of let your talent do the work. The last few games, I don't see that extra effort. That isn't on the coaches. That's on the players.
So, when all of us are clamouring to fire the coach, understand, its the chemistry of this team that's off. It's not having guys who know how to play. It's a bunch of guys who don't trust each other and really, it's only getting worse. Don't let the close games fool you.