Inside NBA Play-Calling

Linked below is a terrific article published last week in the Boston Globe about Brad Stevens’ Boston Celtics coaching staff’s efforts to decode opponents’ play calls. The article is a really cool peek into the chess match that occurs during nearly every NBA possession. Micah Shrewsberry, a Celtics assistant that Stevens brought with him from Butler, has some interesting insight into the game-time communication between the coaching staff and the players on the floor. Thanks to Mike Swets of Towson University for passing this article along.

“You have to shorten it down to what’s going to happen that will affect you the most,” Shrewsberry said. “I can’t say, ‘Hey, your guy is going to pass it to the wing and he’s going to cut to the basket. He’s going to set a cross screen, cut across and go here.’

“So you just shorten it down. I may say, ‘Hey, Avery, step up.’ So he knows, ‘All right, my guy’s going to get a step-up here eventually.’


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