The NBA’s most innovative teams do one of two things: They either come up with new ideas first, or they find ways to execute old ones better than anyone else.
Strategic trends develop at a breakneck pace among the league’s competitive, copycat clubs; as soon as someone comes up with en effective scheme, 29 other teams go to work on figuring out how to defeat it and add it to their own game plans.
And keep in mind that “new” doesn’t always mean “better.” In our analysis, we’ll also be looking at teams for whom trying to do something new hasn’t necessarily equated to success. Staying ahead of the curve is great, but novelty for novelty’s sake is just as damaging to teams as stale thinking is.
Innovation doesn’t just pertain to things happening on the court, either. Sure, it’s easy to notice inventive offenses and defenses, but novel uses of scouting and personnel resources count just as much. In fact, the Spurs’ terrific international scouting and the Warriors’ use of the D-League might be more valuable in some ways than Tom Thibodeau’s defensive principles.
After all, there’s no game tape to study (and copy) when it comes to those things.
Commit some of this stuff to memory so you can impress your friends later. We’re going “next level” as we delve into the NBA’s most innovative teams this season.
*All stats accurate through games played Jan. 10, 2013