By Rich Winter
By now everyone has seen and or seen the replays of the J.R. Smith blunder at the end of game 1 of the NBA finals. Tied at 107-107 with the Golden State Warriors with George Hill at the free-throw line for the game-winning charity toss, Hill missed and J.R. Smith grabbed the offensive rebound with 4.7 seconds remaining.
What looked like a clear, put-back opportunity, or at the very least an opportunity to get the ball to an open teammate for a game-winning shot attempt, Smith dribbled the ball to the perimeter, the clock ran out and Golden State owned the overtime and won game 1 going away.
EVERY POSSESSION MATTERS!
It is always easy to look at a situation after it is over and say I would have done this (hind-sight is 20/20). But, if you were J.R. Smith, and you grabbed that offensive rebound, what would you have done?
A. Grab the rebound and put the shot up over a looming KD?
B. Called timeout because the Cavs had one left?
C. Looked for an open man for a game-winning shot attempt?
D. Grab the rebound, pump fake and try to get fouled?
As we head into the summer months of practice, league play, tournament play I'd like to encourage players to become situation ready.
When you are sitting on the bench during summer-league games are you watching your buddies play or are you dialed into how much time is left, what the score is, what the shot-clock says, how many team fouls have been committed.
Are you watching the guy you might be guarding when you get in the game? Are you looking for tendencies, a weakness or just watching the guys run up and down the floor?
Like more playing time - Dial in on game situations and be ready when your opportunity comes!
For you starters, you upperclassmen and the next leaders of your high school teams, are you being a leader? Are you talking to your teammates and reminding them of the game situation? Are you communicating with your coach in a tight ball game about how many time-outs are left? Are you communicating with your teammates in those tight game situations and reminding everyone what the score is, what the options are and in reality what to do?
Want more playing time...Play like Larry Nance
For anyone that wants to get on the floor more in 2018/2019 what are you doing about that?
It is pretty easy to get caught up in the NBA finals and watch what LeBron and KJ and Steph Curry are doing, but is everyone seeing those players that come in and hustle, give effort and make contributions that keep them on the floor.
Game 1 - Larry Nance 19 minutes - 4-6 from the floor (9 points), 11 REBOUNDS, 4 on the Offensive Glass.....Yeah, now the Cavs are talking about starting him in Game 2.
Isolate this guy, watch this guy Sunday in Game 2. He hustles, he grabs loose balls he plays defense...Junk-Yard dog guy that is suddenly a big part of any hope the Cavs have of winning this series.