Alvin Williams gave a fantastic interview during the second quarter of last night’s scrimmage against the Blazers. He commented on a few things of interest, two of which stuck out.
First, when asked about what the team might be missing, instead of focusing on the X’s and O’s he mentioned the psychological impact on the players. Specifically, he related his experience in the lockout shortened 1998 season when he got shipped to what the players might be going through today. He alluded to the idea that competitive advantage in the bubble may come from how a club supports its players who are playing without families present, in mental isolation and may have concerns beyond basketball. He urges teams to tap more into the “human side” and how in the NBA today that is sometimes lost in the analytics of basketball when seeking performance gains (around 4:45 mark).
Second, he spoke about Nick Nurse being a coach that gives the players confidence and how unique that is. He said confidence is something that a player is generally expected to develop on their own and that Nick Nurse is special in his approach on how he partners with his players. When accomplished veterans like Serge Ibaka make similar statements it carries great weight. He draws on his experience being around the NBA and seeing players “shut down a coach” and how that has never happened with this group – he makes this point by giving examples of Nurse’s play calling and how it is adhered to by the players (7:00).
He also speaks about racial injustices and gives his thoughts on how the Raptors and the league have responded.
He does stop short of picking the Raptors to repeat.
The full audio is here: