Leadership on the Court

Sports Illustrated named The Golden State Warriors their “Sports Person of the Year.” The article details a dynasty being built around strong leadership on the court and an equally strong culture that binds the coach and front office.

Stephen Curry’s leadership on the court is highlighted:

Curry is the anomaly: a skinny point guard who has dominated in spite of his size and athleticism, rather than because of it. And yet he’s changed the game as much as any who’ve come before him, so dangerous as a shooter—the greatest ever, we can now all agree—that he’s as valuable off the ball as on it, creating a vacuum of defensive attention wherever he is not. And he does it all with a joy and humility that, while much celebrated, also happens to be genuine. “The reason for all this,” says Andre Iguodala. “The soul of the team,” says guard Shaun Livingston. “Our universe revolves around him,” says GM Bob Myers. Says Kerr, who won titles as a player with Jordan and Duncan and is fully aware of his current good fortune: “I cannot stress how much he’s meant to everything we’ve done, the humility and joy.” Then Kerr suggests that SI just give the Sportsperson Award to Steph.

It’s a good reminder of the lessons learned in the book  The Captain Class, which tells us that it’s all about the leadership on the court or in the field.

The other underappreciated variable is the relationship between the coach Steve Kerr, and the GM Myers. They are friends and operate with mutual respect and similar focus.

Says Myers, “That conversation rarely goes that way. Usually, it’s me saying, ‘You could have done something different,’ or Steve says, ‘You didn’t leave me many options here.’ And that 10-second exchange has now ruined our relationship.” To Myers, this is key to all the Warriors do. “That’s the trust we need,” he says. “There have been many subtle and overt attacks on us. I look at it like getting a sliver in your finger. You have issues. You don’t quite get it all the way out and it gets infected. Then all of a sudden you went the wrong direction.”

Read: Sportsperson of the Year


Russell Westbrook In Pursuit of the Triple Double

Russell WestbrookI missed this last week.  The New York Times did a feature on Oklahoma Thunder basketball player Russell Westbrook.

Sam Anderson unpacks Westbrook’s genius as a player, his famous basketball relationship with teammate Kevin Durant who has departed for the Warriors, and his personality.

It’s a great read.

Continue reading “Russell Westbrook In Pursuit of the Triple Double”

Calipari Takes the Blame

Last week I featured an article from the New York Times about Kentucky basketball in which Calipari takes the blame for his team’s mediocre season. I was impressed by the coaching tactic of accepting responsibility for the team’s troubles.

But curious about his prediction that if they won the next game all would be solved.

It seemed too easy.

They did indeed win the next game. But then they lost the first round of the SEC tournament to Vanderbilt.

Today they were not included in the NCAA tournament. Last year they won it all.

Calipari takes the blame

On another note, you have to be impressed with Miami’s Jim Larranaga, who has only been at the school two years, but was voted ACC Coach of the Year and led his team to an ACC Tournament championship.

He gets his teams focused and prepared:

“This league is so good, that your next opponent is always very, very good, so you have no choice but to stay focused,” Larranaga said. “If we worry about our win streak or rankings, or gloat on our last victories, our minds won’t be focused on the present task. So far, we’ve been very focused no matter if we’ve been home or away, and that makes coaches very happy.”

They are a number 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and on a path to meet Indiana should both teams play as predicted.