I spend a vast swath of my time watching, playing and pondering the game of basketball. In the almost forgotten words of Faith Hill, “it matters to me”, and when people screw it up, at any level, I get pissed. This is somewhat predictable when considering that I view the game as a lense into the soul of every man, woman or cripple that chooses to play. Consequently and for the betterment of basketball, I offer the following guidelines to be applied judiciously by all.
1. Unless you are on a team, do not show up anywhere in full uniform to play.
2. Unless you are uncontested or holding a position of great leverage, do not automatically throw an offensive rebound back up. Kick the ball out and make the defense chase the ball.
3. Good things happen when you force defenders into close outs.
4. If a teammate is ahead of you and clean in transition, throw it ahead.
5. Contested shots are bad shots.
6. Never post up in a position already occupied by a teammate attempting to post up. Not only is this strategically ineffective, you look like a jackass.
7. Everybody likes to play with a good passer.
8. Defense is always a five man operation. Shutting your guy down at the expense of help and rotation is an act of selfishness on par with suicide.
9. Dribble only with a purpose. If there is no purpose, pass the damn ball.
10. If the team moves the ball to get you an open look, shoot without hesitation. The defense and floor balance is in your favor and failing to shoot craps in all the work of your team. See also, jackass and suicide.
11. Play to your strengths, but work like hell year round to expand those strengths.
12. One handed players suck.
13. If you defend, pass without turning the ball over and run the floor, there is always a place for you.
14. If you struggle to score, but persist in trying the place for you is called hell.
15. Passing the ball relieves pressure.
16. Defense breaksdown the more it has to move and make decisions. They don’t have to do either if you hold or dribble the ball in place.
17. Defense doesn’t start until the advance of the ball stops.
18. Defense defends actions as much as it defends people.
19. Winning is a byproduct of playing the right way.
20. Make your opponent uncomfortable.
21. Spacing and passing are essential to effective offense, but often counter to player’s inclinations.
22. The dark arts of screening and boxing out are the nutrients of victory.
23. You will not shut the other team out so you ultimately play the percentages of the game to bend the outcome in your favor.
23 guidelines is a tribute to Michael Jordan, A Life by Roland Lazenby which I regard as a must read for anyone who loves the game of basketball and aspires to be anything above mediocre.