GAINcast Episode 218: The fundamentals (with Ron Adams)

The NBA game has changed drastically over the last few decades. At age 73, Ron Adams is the old guard in the new world trying to adapt classic fundamentals to the evolving game. On this week’s GAINcast he joins us to talk about fundamentals, coaching, NBA trends, and more.

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Notes and quotes

Ron Adams has been coaching basketball for more than 50 years, including two decades as a collegiate coach, and three decades as an NBA assistant. Since 2014 he has worked as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, helping them win 3 NBA titles during that time.

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 3:00 – Background of Ron Adams.
  • 10:30 – Coaching influences and learning the fundamentals: “50 years ago everyone believed fundamentals won the game. Not just individual fundamentals, but basic team fundamentals like staying connected through ball movement.”
  • 14:45 – Current generation of coaches: “You have so many people in the NBA who play the game and become head coaches and work in programs but have never coached a team. They know the NBA but not the game and teaching.”
  • 19:00 – Future trends in coaching and the NBA: “Sport and culture have trended more individualistic. There are two kinds of people in our culture: I people and we people. The givers and the takers. What are you going to be?”
  • 25:30 – Learning from Boyd Grant.
  • 31:00 – The legacy of John Bunn and other influences. “Every one of us needs a coach. I don’t care how efficient we are, we miss things.”
  • 37:30 – What would Adams have done differently in his career: “If I could change anything, it would like to be more me 53 years ago when I started.”
  • 43:30 – Analytics in the NBA: “I reject the whole movement of making everything we do scientifically demonstrable. Only from the standpoint that sport is a human endeavor played by imperfect people, coached by imperfect people, officiated by imperfect people.”
  • 49:30 – Scouting players.
  • 52:15 – What is a good basketball player? “A good basketball player is one that sees the game mentally and can execute it physically. Understanding of the game allows you to use the physical assets that you have to exist and keep getting better.”
  • 57:45 – Book and podcast recommendations.

To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.

Further reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:

  • Our monthly GAIN Master Class Series features speakers from all aspects of performance. We just announced the lineup for next season starting in July 2021 and opened up registration. You can learn more here.
  • The GAINcast is also sponsored by HMMR Media. Join HMMR Media to get access to a vast library of online training resources, video, articles, podcasts, and more.
  • We’ve had a few episodes of the HMMR Podcast about basketball, including Episode 223 with Gonzaga basketball strength coach Travis Knight, Episode 131 with former Golden State Warriors strength coach Lachlan Penfold, and Episode 184 with Joe Abunassar of Impact Basketball.