We love to think about how teamwork and sharing make champions….expecially this time of year. From the Spurs to Wichita St to VCU, the story of selfless teams keeps us all warm and fuzzy.
Problem is, it takes Big Dawg to win championships.
The Spurs passed the ball like mad back in 2014. But when they needed a big play it went through Kawhi Leonard. Tony Parker handled the ball a lot and Tim Duncan got his shots, but they would’ve barely made the playoffs without the small forward’s presence. Golden State sliced through the playoffs last year with Draymond Green leading them in assists and rebounds. Klay Thompson was able to spot up for long range daggers throughout. But none of that happens without Steph Curry commanding respect (and often double teams) from opposing defenses. And last year’s Duke team needed the sizeable impact of Jahlil Okafor in the middle to open up possibilities for his teammates on the perimeter. His ability to turn and score on almost anyone who guarded him made everyone around him better.
I LOVE team basketball. Magic has been my favorite player since childhood because passing the ball is so much more entertaining than isolations and pick and rolls.
But, c’mon…….do the Hawks really strike fear in the Cavs? Is anyone under the impression this Celtics squad is contending? Are you willing to turn in a Big Dance bracket with Virginia as the winner?
Think of a team as a company. The coaching staff is a board of directors. They provide wisdom and advice; steering the ship in the right direction. Then you have the COO (Chief Operating Officer) doing the trench work, making sure the loose balls and long rebounds get tracked down. Every successful company has a CFO as well. As the numbers guy, he’s the gunner who can make it rain from anywhere (as long as his feet are set). Don’t look now but here’s the CTO, shutting the opposing team’s best player down, using the edge gained from film study and technique. They all take their cues from the CEO, the Head Honcho, Numero Uno, Tha Don. This dude has a cool like Django and is ruthless as Frank Underwood. There’s no shot he won’t take, pass he won’t throw or charge he won’t commit. He’s Buddy Hield launching a three as the shot clock strikes zero……Steph Curry dribbling through everyone to finger roll with English for an and-one……LeBron taking the inbounds pass after a made basket and barreling coast to coast for an emphatic, locomotive throwdown. That cat makes deals and topples empires because he bends opponents to his will. His team provides the support, but he’s the tip of the spear,.
See, we champion the ‘glue guy’ because that’s who WE are. We are perfectly fine running our TPS reports and hoping we do enough to keep our job but no too much to rock the boat. When the moment comes to drop that shot, close that deal or nail that presentation we choose to pass it to off to the Dude who has the confidence….not to succeed, not to fail, but to do it at all.
So the next time you find yourself admiring the “team-first” attitude of some successful basketball player, check to see what lens you’re using. Is he really the pass-first Mother Teresa of the hardwood or is he simply a Boss keeping his C-Suite buddies happy.