7 Things We're Tired of Hearing NBA Players and Coaches Say
What's the point of an NBA press conference anymore?
Players and coaches answer pretty much any question with a prepackaged, cookie-cutter cliche that just about any fan watching can predict. (The one exception here is Gregg Popovich, who simply shoots questions down dead in their tracks.)
Some cliches are inevitable. It's human nature to repeat what you've seen and heard your whole life, but some of these phrases are getting out of hand now. It's time to rethink the more egregious ones.
Having said that, at the end of the day, it is what it is. (Am I right?)
Let's look at seven cliches that we wish players and coaches would quit using.
"High Basketball IQ"/"Big Heart"
Saying that someone has a "high basketball IQ" or "plays with a lot of heart" is a back-handed compliment. It's how you describe someone when they're not really good at anything but you don't want to dis them.
Luke Walton was the poster boy of the player with a "high basketball IQ." He didn't really belong on a basketball court, but because he was a willing passer who got more assists than any other statistic he was labeled as the guy with a "high basketball IQ." (Though people conveniently left out how awful he was as an inbounds passer in end-of-quarter and end-of-game situations.)
No one ever talks about superstars like this. Think Kobe doesn't have a high basketball IQ or that LeBron doesn't play with a lot of heart? Think again.
"They Live by the Three and Die by the Three"
You hear people say all the time that a certain team is living by the three or dying by the three (or both). In reality, no NBA team actually dies by the three.
Every team designs their offenses to have an available three-point shooter open—especially in the corners—to space the floor and knock down open shots for that extra point.
It's been proven that taking more three-pointers improves your chances of winning. That's why teams like the San Antonio Spurs run sets that space the floor and dot the arc with shooters who can generate those extra points.
"Taking It One Game at a Time"
If you listen to NBA players and coaches, it is all about taking it one game at a time.
This phrase is applied to just about every situation. When a team is on a winning streak, they say they can't get too high and have to take it one game at a time. When a team is on a losing streak, they also need to take it one game at a time and not push things.
I refuse to believe that a team in Toronto has their mind totally focused on that game when they know they're flying to New York immediately after for a back-to-back against the Knicks and Nets (and not just because of the basketball games they have to play in there).
I wonder if Andrew Bynum has expanded this approach to taking it one injured knee at a time?
"We Just Have to Execute/Make Shots/Plays"
This is my favorite piece of NBA coaching expertise. Really, coach?? You have to make shots? I had no idea! What else do you have to do? Play defense? Have five guys on the court?
When asked about what they need to do to get better, coaches just revert to this tiresome cliche. It's basically like saying "I have no idea what we need to do to get better, we'll just wing it."
Where's the hard-hitting analysis I crave from inside sources like coaches?
"The Just Wanted It More"
You might hear this insightful cliche more from announcers than players or coaches, but it's still just as annoying.
Did they, in fact, want it more? How can you tell such a thing? The purpose of playing an NBA game is to win it. Why would one team want it more than the other?
If winning games is all about "wanting it," teams should stop practicing plays and start running desire-boosting drills at practice.
"It Is What It Is"/"A Win Is a Win"
Yes. Yes it is.
I can't stand this one. I mean, what are you even saying??? (Correct answer: Nothing!)
These phrases are such cop outs. When someone asks a piercing question, can you please take the time to give a thoughtful response instead of saying it is what it is? I mean, what is it??? That's the entire point of the question!
As for "a win is a win," well, at least it's not a false statement.
"He Gave 110 Percent"
No, he didn't. You know why? Because it's impossible! You can't give more than 100 percent!
I appreciate the sentiment and complimenting someone who's clearly—to use another cliche—leaving it all out on the court, but NBA players are expected to give their maximum effort every night. So we're basically complimenting someone for doing what they're supposed to do.
And why stop at 110 percent? Can a player give even more effort like, say, 120 percent? How can you tell the difference between the two? Someone get Nate Silver on the phone to statistically disprove this chronically overused cliche.