Eventually, NBA basketball will return. Once the financial animosities are settled, the players will have to get back to business on the court.
Herb Brown knows a lot about getting back to basics. He is a former head coach of the Detroit Pistons and an assistant coach for several teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns, and Atlanta Hawks. As an assistant to his brother Larry, he helped coach the Pistons to the NBA championship in 2004.
"Returning from the layoff will be a very tough situation for rookies who don't know their team's program," Brown said in a telephone interview. "The advantage will be for teams with veterans who report in shape. If they have just two weeks of pre-season action, including one or two exhibition games, it will be a huge challenge for rookies who have never played at the NBA level before."
His best advice: during the lockout, players should be working hard at the gym.
"Cardio work without the ball and drills cannot be stressed enough," Brown advised. "The players, particularly the new ones, should get a lot of shots off under supervision, with groups of other NBA players and personal trainers.
Brown, not currently affiliated with any team but in conversation with several, thinks that the league may try to play an 82-game regular season if the lockout is settled soon. “This would create more back-to-backs, and it's imperative for the players to be in great shape for that,” he says.
The longtime coach will be sharing basketball insights with players even younger than NBA rookies when he conducts two youth basketball clinics for kids grades 4-9 at the Golda Och Academy (1418 Pleasant Valley Way) in West Orange on Sunday, Nov. 13. (This event is open to the public, but advance registration is required by firstname.lastname@example.org .)
At the college level, Herb Brown was head coach at SUNY Stony Brook from 1964-69, earning Coach of the Year honors after the 1969 season. He also served as head coach at C.W. Post from 1972-74 and is the author of three books about basketball.
An inductee into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, Brown runs the Basketball Academy at the NJ Y Camps in Milford, PA (http://www.njycamps.org/tsc/html/basketball.html) each summer. Young players will get pointers on dribbling, shooting, passing, and rebounding from the veteran coach. He also teaches offensive and defensive strategies and the nuances of plays such as the in-bounds pass. Throughout the camp, there are games and tournaments. Additionally, the NJ Y Camps include specialty programs including swimming (taught by Lenny Krazelburg); soccer (Julio Sosa); baseball (Ron Blomberg); lacrosse (Max Seibald); and tennis (Shlomo Glickstein).