I have coached it at the high school level for the last three years. And one thing I have learned is that with just four hours of weekly practice time followed by four games every weekend, if you don’t have definitive, well-drilled schemes on both offense and defense, you have no chance to compete.
However, if you have a group that is committed to a specific style of play on both ends of the floor, you can consistently compete with, and even beat teams that are bigger, stronger, quicker and more talented than yours.
Gregg Popovich has the San Antonio Spurs committed to a system. At its roots, that system is grounded in the fundamentals that are preached – and often ignored – at every level of basketball, from AAU to NBA. On defense, pressure the ballhandler to make things difficult. Commit to playing defense as individuals and as a team. Box out and don’t allow second shots.
On offense, get the ball quickly upcourt and look for early offense. In the halfcourt, set solid picks and make hard cuts. Trust your scheme and your teammates. Give up a good shot to get a great shot.
These are the basics of the game. And right now, with these basics as their foundation, Popovich and the Spurs are making the NBA look like an AAU tournament.