7 Leadership Lessons from Bill Belichick and 6 Other Championship Coaches

Character matters and it always will.


The only sign we have in the locker room is from the Art of War, ‘every battle is won before it’s fought’
-Bill Belichick

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James Harden – Life & Basketball

“James Harden has become Steve Nash—if Steve Nash were on steroids.”
-Anonymous NBA Head Coach

“Clint sets the high screen, so I know the guy guarding me is gone,” Harden begins. “I’ve got a big in front of me, one-on-one, and I’ve got my head up trying to figure out who is going to come open. My first read is Clint for the lob. My second read, if one of their defenders sucks in, is the corner man for three. My third read, if no one leaves a shooter, is to go all the way for the layup. But if somebody rotates over, I’ll swing it, and try to get the three that way. It’s all decided in a split second, but it’s never predetermined. It seems fast, but when it’s happening, it’s so slow in my head.”
James Harden, Point Guard for the Houston Rockets

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The Hustle

“It takes energy”
-Draymond Green

“Thanks to a new NBA initiative, the game’s biggest intangible—hustle—is now tangible. And what has a season of tracking stats such as deflections, charges and loose balls taught us? That basketball’s most talented team, THE WARRIORS, is also its scrappiest”
Lee Jenkins, Sports Illustrated 

“This is about energy. You can get an assist without expending energy. You can score a point without expending energy. Sometimes you can even get a rebound without expending energy. But you don’t set screens without expending energy. You don’t contest shots without expending energy. You don’t get deflections—unless you walk into one every now and then—without expending energy. These are the things in basketball you have to really want to do.”
Draymond Green, Forward for the Golden State Warriors

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All-Access with the Denver Nuggets

“Every team in the NBA utilizes some form of video analysis, so getting a leg up on the competition can be challenging.”
-Travess Armenta

“You just try and find weaknesses in teams… I do this thing called ‘Play Edits’ where we’ll have every play they run in the edit, and coaches will go skim through it and organise it as they see fit. So if we’re playing Houston tomorrow, we’ll cut their five most recent games before the game tomorrow and then separate it and organise it by half court defence, transition defence, pick and roll defence, post defence, that kind of stuff. Then our coaches are really good at looking at it and seeing what is the best way that it was covered and then what they think is the best way we should cover it.”
-Travess Armenta, Head Video Coordinator of the Denver Nuggets

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The Beautiful Chaos Of The Warriors’ Offence

The Golden State Warriors set screens differently than any other team.

“Golden State obviously uses pick and rolls, too, but the club relies on them less than any team in basketball. Instead, the Warriors prefer to confuse their opponents by setting screens away from the ball, a strategy the Dubs used 400 times more in the regular season than the next-closest team.”
-Chris Herring, senior sportswriter for FiveThirtyEight

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Brad Stevens’s philosophy on loose balls is: Floor it!

“Coach believed firmly that whoever got the most loose and 50/50 balls was going to win the game and he got us to buy into that belief.”
-Matt Howard

“If you want your guys to play hard, get hard-playing guys.”
-Jeff Van Gundy, Ex NBA Head Coach & ESPN Analyst

“If you want guys that dive all over the place, get guys that dive.’’
-Brad Stevens, Head Coach of the Boston Celtics

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