Playing in the NBA is a dream for many young ballers. However, reaching the pros requires more than just dreaming big. Here, 11-year NBA coach Paul Silas lays out some tips for making it to the top.
“When you reach the pros, your competition is so much stiffer [and] players are so much better,” Silas says. “You think you’re good right now, but they’re even better.” That’s why Silas suggests learning and understanding the NBA’s style of play early in your basketball career—to bridge the gaps from high school to college to the pros.
“I haven’t really seen a lot of kids that come into our league [who] understand our game [and know] how to play it until they’ve been [here] about three years,” Silas explains. “It takes that long observing, training, talking to people, and getting a better understanding of what the program is all about.”
Silas thinks the biggest problems among rookies are that “they don’t know when to shoot, they don’t know when to pass, they don’t know how to run the pick and roll and they don’t know how to defend it.”
Understanding the pick and roll is crucial, Silas says, “because all NBA teams run it in some way, shape or form. When the play breaks down, they go right to it.” Thus, players must know how to execute it and how to defend it.
In the end, fundamentals are paramount to a player’s success in the pros. To illustrate his point, Silas refers to Steve Nash, a two-time MVP who exemplifies the benefits of skill development. Silas says, “[He’s] not quick and doesn’t jump very high, [but he] has every shot in the book. When he goes to the hoop, he’s going to figure out how to score a lay-up because he’s proficient with both hands.”
Learn fundamentals like that, Silas says, and you’ll be one step ahead of the game.