Really good article on how New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach Darren Erman (who Alvin Gentry hired to be the team’s “defensive coordinator”) began working to fix the Pelicans’ D long before training camp. I love the idea of incorporating defense into your players’ offseason workouts. There’s also some really good stuff in here about the danger of overcomplicating things. I first heard about Erman when reading Adrian Wojnarowski’s “The Miracle of St. Anthony” which detailed Bob Hurley’s 2003-04 St. Anthony team in which Erman served as a volunteer assistant coach for after leaving a high-paying job with a Chicago law firm.
“Closing out to a live dribble is probably the hardest thing to contain in the NBA, but the more you do it, the better you’re going to be,” Erman explained, before using an analogy from the offensive end. “If you shoot 400 threes a day, you become a better three-point shooter. If you don’t work on close-outs or guarding the ball, you’re not going to be good defensively. So (as a coach) you have to come up with drills that are game-like, that they can use in the summer to make themselves better.”