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Separating Great Players (and teams) from the Good

Do you want to be a great player? Do you know what that entails? According to Real Madrid Head Coach Ettore Messina, it involves making your teammates better:

Alongside with that, players learn how to make their teammates better. This is something that separates great teams from the pack, by the way. Every player on a great team is capable of and at least puts in effort to make guys around him better. And the only way of making your teammates better is through understanding of where and when to pass them the ball. For example, if you pass the ball to a shooter who’s out of his range, for sure you’re not making things easier for him. Or if you pass the ball to a big man in a position where he can attack the basket without dribbling, he’ll be definitely more aggressive as compared to a situation when he has to make one or even two dribbles to attack.

When people attempt to describe the difference between a combo guard and a point guard, they often describe the timing of the pass, even if it takes them many more words. A great point guard understands when to deliver the ball and has the patience to wait an extra second or the anticipation to pass before the player is even open, like a great quarterback anticipating his wide receiver’s break.

The timing, the anticipation and the patience – the ability to visualize the play perceptually and conceptually to make the best decision – separate the great players from the good players.

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