Coach’s answers #5

Georgis DikeoulakosHi guys, first I want to apologise that it took me so long to answer to some of your questions. I don't like excuses so lets start answering some very good questions!

Guy Anchelovich (Israel): Hi coach! I think that in the last decades we can see how the basketball players positions changed. I mean once a good center was a nasty beast who played most of the time in the post but recently we see more and more centers who are good passers and good shooters from all ranges. That's why I thinks the SF position is the most important position on court even more than the PG. I wanted to ask you if you see anymore changes in the classic 1-5 court positions that we're about to see.

Georgis Dikeoulakos: Hey Guy, are you sure you're not a coach? Don't you think you have to start on this job?

Yes, whatever you mentioned is true. Pictures in basketball change every 2-3 years. As you mentioned the big dinosaur center doesn't exist anymore. There are many reasons, maybe the rule of the 24 sec is more responsible. I don't know if you noticed but during the last 8 years the Greek National team has made a huge change at the position of the point guard. Papaloukas and Diamantidis are over 202 cm, and they can play from positions 1-3, sometimes even at the 4. That can be the worst dream of any opponent. But this kind of players is really tough to find or to create, so I believe that at the next years coaches (even Obradovic and Messina that you hate) will play more transition offense, I mean faster at the offense. I believe that the model of pointguard + shooting guard + scorer, all in one player, will be created, and I also have the feeling that the model of the "beast" center will come back, as long as this kind of players will become more athletic.
Luke (England): Hey Georgis. I'm guessing you follow NBA as well as the Euro Leagues? Kobe Bryant got the MVP after some great performances. If you hadn't of given it to him, who would you choose? Garnett? LeBron? Or someone else? Thanks.

Georgis Dikeoulakos: Kevin Garnet!!!! For me that's the player who should had earn the MVP award!
Tim Mayer (USA): If you were offered a decent contract (a few years, a couple million dollars a year) by an NBA team, would you leave Europe?

Georgis Dikeoulakos: There are some marvelous books from a great Greek author (his name is Nickos Kazantzakis), but anyway I don't think that you know him, who once wrote… "… it's not the destination… but the trip who makes me excited…" Try to analyze this and you'll have my answer.
Azuolas (Lithuania): Hey coach. I'm playing basketball for 4-5 years. Im 15 years old and I'm 177 cm height. I want to improve my vertical jump. Do you have any suggestions how to improve my vertical jump?

Georgis Dikeoulakos: Well I do, but it's not so simple. The best thing that you have to do is to ask a strength coach, and start working with him with a serious PROGRAM! Because if you start practicing and jumping just like that, there is a big possibility to harm your back. Before you enhance the strength of some specific muscles that are responsible for the vertical jump, you have to enhance the strength of some other muscles. So, go to the gym, and start working with someone who is specialized as a strength and conditioning coach!
utku (Turkey): What are the main problems caused panathinaikos' relegation before reaching even quarter final and how do you consider Sarunas Jasikevicius' role in this nightmare? Efharisto poli.

Georgis Dikeoulakos: Hmmm… you put me in a tough position to criticize a great coach (Obradovic). But I'll tell you the true and believe few people know it. The biggest problem of Panathinaikos was that although their basic philosophy is a) pick n rolls and b) post up game, almost all the big guys of Panathinaikos were facing huge problems during the season with injuries. Another problem was that Panathinaikos was never a team of stars, but a team who always achieve big things through a team work in offense as in defense. And Sarunas Jasikevicius and Obradovic were in conflict for this part of the game, and I mean the defense. I also think that a small role played the fact that last year almost at every difficult moment, Siskauskas showed how great player he is and he took Panathinaikos from the hand and led them to the victory, something that this year Obradovic was expected that from the American player Winston and Jasikevicius. None of them managed to do that, each one for different reasons.
Maurizio (coach, Italy): Coach how can you defend the triangle offense which has so many options?

Georgis Dikeoulakos: Hi Maurizio, I don't know if you watch our last friendly game against your country. Italy was playing excellent the triangle offense and it took us some minutes to read their offense and set our defense against triangle defense, and I 'll explain you what I mean. 99,9% of the teams (that I know), when they run triangle offense they have 2 entry moves.

a) dribble entry
b) pass to the side.

We deny the pass to the side and we force the point guard to start running the play with a dribble. Some teams have also a third entry pass to the post who moves from the middle post to the high post. We also deny that pass because there is a big danger of a back door. So, point guard has the ball at the side. Now he has 4 options.

a) Pass to the guard who is at the corner
b) Pass to the big man to the middle post
c) Pass to the other guard who is at the top of the key
d) Pass to the other big man who comes at the high post

Depending on where the point guard passes the ball, different moves start executing with some tremendous possibilities of back doors. We can not allow to our opponents doing whatever they want in offense. We demand from our defenders to ACT and not only to REACT!

So, what we do is the follow:
We allow only one pass, and we deny the other passes. In that way our opponents fo the whole game are indebted to run only one way of offense. For example if we deny the b-c-d situation that I mentioned before, and ball goes to the guard at the corner,  the big man of the same side sets a back pick to the point guard, and then a corner pick n roll, so we only have to defend this kind of offense during the whole game, and not million of options that a triangle offense offers. So my opinion is, read their moves, find their best moves and their weaknesses, force them to do one and only move by denying some passes, and get ready to defend it.
Nic Potter (England): Hi. I used to play for at least 3 hours a day when i was younger, but at 16 I was in a car crash and have been unable to play since. I hated not being able to play but I got over it but now all i want to do is play again, Im left handed but as my left arm is the problem I've started shooting right handed, I hit about 1 shot in 5 and I hate not being able to make shots. Can you help me improve, with my left shooting was natural easy but with my right it feels awkward.

Georgis Dikeoulakos: Nick, the only thing that you have to do is practice and be patient. Remember the practices that you were doing when you were kid, or the style of play that you were using as a child (you know, more drives and lay ups than jump shots) and slowly you'll find your confidense, and if you keep working with the properly technic, then you'll forget that once you were right hand shooter. But as I told you, it needs a lot of work, and maybe the most, a lot of patience!