This article is a facsimile of an earlier publication on The Basketball Writers (TBW), which recently closed its doors.
At this point, it's pretty well known: coaches all steal stuff from each other. Few are complete innovators, but most just take concepts from elsewhere and incorporate it into their own system. The NBA has become so cut-and-paste in many ways that the offenses we watch are hardly discernible from one another.
Then a talent like Zion Williamson comes along and defies conventional wisdom.
Such a unique, gifted skill set requires some outside-the-box thinking. Alvin Gentry, the New Orleans Pelicans and that whole organization were gifted a unique athlete to build around, and the utilization of that gift meant stretching the confines of what they would consider normal.
Gentry's staff appears to have stolen a lot from the game of football, though this isn't the first time we've seen such a theft.
Erik Spoelstra used to visit Chip Kelly at Oregon to borrow some spacing concepts from his infamous Spread offense. Pete Carroll and Steve Kerr have collaborated so frequently that they started a podcast together. Opening up horizons to athletics concepts beyond the confines of our own sport can allow us to try something new without fear that it cannot be successful. That in itself is a blessing.
Football fans often hear about runners getting north-south through the line of scrimmage. Announcers heap praise on "downhill runners". Such ball carriers keep their vision towards the endzone and their hips aligned to their target as they more quickly build up the needed combination of power and speed.
Head Boys Basketball Coach, Boys' Latin School (MD).