Coach Sergio Scariolo verbrachte Die Saisonvorbereitung mit den New Jersey Nets, ein sehr intressanter Einblick in den Trainingscampablauf der NBA

(Oct 10)

Sergio Scariolo from Nets' training camp (Oct 10) - First part of an outstanding report: , New Jersey Nets training camp guest, let us to know his impressions. Starting with the next season projects, plans, intentions. With a particular reference to the Star, Jason Kidd... by Sergio Scariolo East Rutherford, October 10. I have had a really beautiful experience with the New Jersey Nets, during their first Veteran camp's week: the whole club, from President Rod Thorn to the technical staff, to the office-workers, helped me as best as possible to know from inside a very interesting reality, with many situations similar to Europe, and many different. You all know very well the Nets have been through the best season of their (till now not so brilliant) story in the NBA, winning the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, and losong in the Finals with the (again) legendary Los Angeles Lakers. The team this year looks stronger, at least most solid: the trade sending to Philadelphia Van Horn and Mc Cullough for Mutombo adds defensive physicalness and experience, and in the wishes of everything there's the idea to have acquired the only center defensively able of limiting Shaquille O'Neal. The lack left by Van Horn will be filled by the promotion in the lineup of Richard Jefferson, talented small forward at his second season, by the final moveas power forward of Kenyon Martin, a great athlete with good hands, pick #1 in 2000 draft, and by "fishing" Rodney Rogers, a combo-forward with experience and technics. It was supposed to improve also in the point guard position change, with Chris Childs replacing Anthony Johnson, but former Raptor player came with a inflamed tendon, and he is outlined for an unknow time; I don't think the free spot could be anyway filled by both John Celestand, former Fortitudo, willing but limited player, or Brandon Armstrong, another first round pick, untill now disappointing.; it's most probable to return on the free agents' market, if the absence of Childs should be longer, also because the importance of Jason Kidd in the technical and mental balance is so basic, that they can't allow to find hin too tired in the playoffs. My personal sensation is that we are talking about a tough team, potentially excellent on defense and rebounds, very related to fastbreak and offense rebounds to product points, with more shooting coming off the bench than in the lineup, whelr only Kerry Kittles (at the end healthy!) is an outside shots specialist. I can foresee many minutes for Rodney Rogers, I like the back-up center Jason Collins (Jazz starter' twin), pay attention to Brian Scalabrine, a 4-3 with great solidity and concreteness, on the way (through his mother), he says, to get the Italian passport. I was talking about Jason Kidd: rarely it happened to me to see a "star" with better approach on the floor towards his job, the teammates and the coaches; it's obvious the Nets have the greatest respect for him (also because free agent next June...), anyway I think he deserved it, resulting the decisive player to turn an inveterate losing team in a Finalist: by the example of working, the persevering concentration, the positive communication towards the teammates (above all the new and young ones, those needing more hepl to insert themselves). The team, during the 8 days training, is lodged in a hotel 5-minutes far from the wonderful facility-house, in East Rutherford, the same zone of Continental Arena (where they play in front of an allways increasing attendance), close to the Giants Stadium; the Arena is owned by the NHL New Jersey Devils too, represented executively by the same "by-fact" president, Lou Lamoriello. The "big boss" is anyway Rod Thorn, former NBA vice-president and Bulls General Manager: the man who drafted Michael Jordan, the David Stern right-hand man, the creator of sudden success of franchise once of Drazen Petrovic (you have no idea how much regretted and beloved...). The level of European basketball's knowledge is high, the head scout Ed Stefansky asked me informations about player I by myself saw no more than 1 or 2 times; they were telling me thet, right now, they'd suggest their "prospects" to play one or two years in Europe (like first draft of this years, Krstic, is doing), rather than playing in a NCAA team, working half time and mainly in a less stimulating competition. In my opinion the regard for European coaches is very high: the coaches too ask opinions and are available to the technical-tactical dialogue, to give and receive under the same conditions.

(Oct 17)

East Rutherford, October 2002. As I was saying, the level of concentration and intensity during practices is high; a double practice is scheduled for the most of the days, one in the morning (the main and longest one) and the second in the afternoon, an almost exclusively technical session. The athletic session is handled quite differently from Europe: the 75% of the players come at the end of the long summer (3 months and a half) in good shape's conditions, also because almost all the players participated, at least for a couple of weeks, to a work with the athletic coach, in order to "break" the inactivity, to check the conditions at that moment and to receive indications for the remaninig vacation's days. The whole job is on the court, with conditioning drills (almost allways using the ball) after the warm-up and at the end of practice: the strength is attended in a very individual way, someone before, someone after technical practice; who needs an extra work comes before or stays after the common practice. In the morning, almost all the players stay in the club facilities about 4 hours, in the afternoon about three. The practice mainly schedules the transitions and man-to-man offense's construction, themes treated with great care and a logic and coherent progression; the offense system, taken from the traditional Princeton University's "motion offense", stuff "brain" Eddie Jordan's "alma mater", is an almost never ending series of different options, by call or even according to the first moves of the players, on a basis of 4 players on the perimeter and 1 inside. There's a lot of 5 on 0, a lot of 5 on 5 half court and a lot of full court 5 on 5 right from the beginning, with a very little time splitting the work in sections (apart from a little 4 on 4). By knowing the complete system, I'd say that during the first week about a 30% of all the options has been inserted, anyway aloto more than the number of offenses an European team utilizes in the same period. No zone (later a 2-1-2 match up will be added), nore zone offense, just a couple of basic-bounds and a couple of full court press variations, depending on what and by who they want to doubleteam the driver. A few individual fundamentals drills (anyway present), shooting every day, more individually (assisted by one of the coaches) the collectively. The man-to-man defense's construction is fast and essential: a little one-on-one, a lot 4-on-4 reproducing the most frequent situations (pin down screens, low post, side and middle pick and roll), going soon to 5-on-5 where the offense plays one of tipical NBA offenses and the defense uses the analytically fixed principles; I'd say there's the greatest confidence in the good natural propensity by the players to the 1-on-1 defense, ant that the rest will come by scouting the opponents. Generally, the atmosphere of practices is really positive, a good intensity avoiding serious tensions; the program, arranged by the assistant coaches and fixed with the head coach about an hour before the beginning, is printed and delivered to all the players; the electronic score board, manipulated by a couple of guys helping the technical stuff in manual duties for a few dollars, is allways on, in order to scan the drills' length and to show the score off almost all the 4-on-4 and 5-on-5. Around the players an organized stuff of coaches and "auxiliaries" is allways working: apart from the 4 coaches, in a rigid hierarchy and particular duties (individual job, scrimmages' refeereing, special moves' care), the 4 "scouts" attend to the training camp: the director, Ed Stefanski, excellent expert of all markets; the "advanced", studying mainly the next opponents, draws up the reports and gives indications to the "video-man", another full-time collaborator recording, copying, mixing all the images by coaches' request (for instance, the most important parts of each practice). Then, two scouts will start travelling the world very soon, more oriented to youngsters' recruiting. The Athletic coach (Rich Dalatri, formerly in Fortitudo Bologna and Juve Caserta, presently with the Italian National Team during the summer), the trainer, the equipment manager have all an assistant, plus a couple of part-time consultants staying with the team for short periods, in order to take care of a very specific argument (for instance, speedness, free throws, etc.). I ended this "benchmarking"'s experience, short but enough to have a com plete idea, strengthening my technical, organizing, discyplinary concepts, after discovering great syntony with my personal point of view about basketball. After seeing Benetton, Unicaja, New Jersey Nets working, I think, still more than earlier, that the success in the competitions is strictly tied to the quality in the job and the (reasonable) discipline of working groups.