The fans are on their feet and the students’ section is going crazy, anticipating a last second, game winning shot.
Their team is down by one point 62 to 61, with two seconds left. Their best player, Williams, has only played 28 out of the 40 minutes because he picked up his third foul early in the second half, but he has still managed to score 25 points.
The ball is inbounded to Williams, the half court shot goes up…brick!
All of the fans go home unhappy. But this didn’t have to be the way that the game ended. The flaw was all because of one fatal coaching error.
Although this game did not really happen, many other games have ended the same way, and more are soon to come.
If a player is in foul trouble, and the coach would normally keep the player in the game at the time, then why should the coach take him out now?
Every minute counts the same, right? Even if the best player on your team is known for getting into foul trouble, wouldn't the team still want him to play his maximum playing time?
If a player gets benched for a period of time because he is in foul trouble, then those are just wasted minutes on the bench. Let the player play, and even if he fouls out, at least the team knows that they got the most possible playing time out of him.
If the teams benches the player in the situation and he doesn’t foul out, those are just wasted minutes that the player could have used until he fouled out.
Don’t get me wrong, benching a player for a period of time because he is tired makes sense. A player is more valuable when he is fresh.
But sitting him when he is in foul trouble can just lead up to the situation described in the beginning.
Leaving the player in will make your team have the lead at the end instead of having to play catch-up, and the fans will be able to leave happy.
Coaches need to stop acting as if the last part of the game is the most important part, because it is not.