During pregame warmups I was visiting with the coach of our rival opponent. The opposing coach has had a long and very successful career. Personally, I always enjoy competing against his teams because I know I will have to be at my best. As we were exchanging typical small talk I had mentioned to him how impressed I was with how his team ran their half court offense and sets when I scouted them a week earlier. He actually started to laugh, which surprised me because I was sincere with my comment. He then continued and said, "Yes, we might be able to run our offense and our sets well, but it doesn't matter how well you run your offense, or what offense you run if you can't put the ball in the basket." Hmm...
This was a "wow!" moment for me. We had always dedicated time during our in-season practices to offensive skill development, but I will admit I was more of a drill coach that liked to break down our offense and defense to keep working on getting better at each. And I think back to how many times I wished we could shoot a few percentage points better. And I think back to how many times I wished we had a few more quality ball handlers on the roster. Or maybe said to an assistant, "They just didn't work hard enough on it during the off-season." FINALLY, I recognized I needed to make a change instead of just admiring a problem. A coach always wants their team to improve, right? Hoping for improvement is one thing, but taking action to fix it is another.
What I had been doing was admiring the problem instead of trying to take control and help fix it. The decision was made to then dedicate more of our in-season practice time to skill development. Dedicating more in-season practice time to skill development will obviously improve the offensive skill of our players. The result of this becomes less hoping by the coach for a few percentage points increase in shooting percentage.
Offenses and set plays are a big part of basketball. But those offenses and set plays will look much better when your offensive skill is better. Sounds simple, but it's true.