Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Training Camp Is Essential for Nine New NBA Coaches

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Training Camp Is Essential for Nine New NBA Coaches

Article excerpt

OAKLAND, Calif. * Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers made an impromptu visit to Steve Kerr's office last week and couldn't stop staring at the walls.

The new coach and his staff had diagramed plays and philosophical points on every crevice of every whiteboard. Myers was amazed at the amount of advanced planning.

"Hopefully it works, right?" Kerr quipped.

For Kerr and the rest of the NBA's new coaches, finding out the answer begins now.

Training camps have opened. It's time for teams to bond and build chemistry and consistency on and off the court. It's even more critical for rookie coaches and their players to find a rhythm.

Kerr, who replaced the fired Mark Jackson, is one of nine new head coaches four of whom have no NBA head coaching experience. The foursome includes Kerr, Derek Fisher with the New York Knicks, Cleveland's David Blatt and Utah's Quin Snyder, who coached the University of Missouri from 1999 to 2006.

While Fisher and Kerr are former point guards on NBA championship teams, Snyder's experience is limited to college, Russia and as an NBA assistant. Blatt has had successful stints internationally, but now he's managing the world's best player in LeBron James and the mountain of expectations that come with that job.

"I feel like Marvin Gaye up here. I just want to get started," Blatt said.

The challenge for the first-time head coaches will be as much about Xs and Os as managing people, personalities and relationships.

"I will for sure have to learn how to observe this team, this group of players," said Fisher, who played for Oklahoma City last season before new Knicks president Phil Jackson hired him as New York's coach. "All players are different, guys recover at different levels and different speeds, and I think the idea behind it in the NBA is it's a journey."

Blatt believes "less is more" for a new coach. He said his goal is to not overload the Cavaliers in camp, but rather to integrate information slowly so he can make subtle adjustments as he understands his personnel.

"I think sometimes in the face of many options, the best thing to do is to be simple," Blatt said. …

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