Earning Your Bones In The NBA

On October 10, 2012, in Sporting News, by Buddy TB

Kyrie IrvingGoing from the Ivy Towers of the NCAA to the posh accommodations of an NBA locker room is sure to make some new comers to think that they have “arrived”, and they have. The rookie NBA player has just arrived at the most difficult challenge of his young life. Here and now is when we separate the men from the boys. This is where the going gets tough and the tough get going. Welcome to the Big Leagues. Welcome to the National Basketball League.

The most difficult transition young players have to make in the NBA is the adjustment to the overall quickness of the game and how it demands that they play with more intensity for a longer period of time. The rookie class of 2012 in the NBA will discover that the word punishment takes on a whole new meaning at this level, but I have no doubt that most will rise to the occasion and be very special players in the league.

We very much look forward to seeing them evolve as players: how they conduct themselves and how they respond to the variety of tests they will have to pass. The first qualification is fortitude while fatigued. The new guys will learn what it’s like to condition themselves, compete, nourish, and rest over the course of a preseason and the 82-game schedule that will place a wall that is made up of mental and physical fatigue that they will have to surpass to keep going.

Moments of change are not all comfortable. The new recruits all have the drive to excel, a healthy work capacity, and the willingness to endure whatever comes their way. Minor aches will tempt him to take the easy path and slow his conditioning. As his mental toughness adapts, he will begin to win those arguments.

Remember that Potential is Nothing; Performance is Everything. Each and every one of the new comers to the NBA has the potential to be a very good, maybe even great NBA player. Potential is a word you don’t want your name associated with on a permanent basis. Eventually you want to arrive. It’s a process and can be a beautiful as we witness a player evolve. How long will it take to be considered legit? Some do it quickly. Some do it later.

The meek will not inherit the lane. Physical contact, rebounding, defending, multiple efforts, and scoring are all parts of the job. If the rookies discover the enjoyment that comes with all of those lane actions, game night will belong to him!

In the NBA, your ability to defend teams is only as good as your off-the-ball defenders and their ability to execute their defensive rotations. Your defense is only as good as your rotating defenders. You are what you take time to become. Gym rats will win games for you, because they spend time in the gym. Gym Rats are addicted to getting better. They block out distractions and lock on to what their goals are. Talent is more common than accomplishment. Earn your bones.

 

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