Friday, November 21, 2008

"That's Why He's A Great Player"

Once again, the somehow perennially useful reminder that you'll miss 100% of the shots you don't take. (Who first said that, I wonder?) Here it was the other day, voiced in the form of the champion Boston Celtics' coach Doc Rivers commenting on the amazing Paul Pierce. The Celtics' leading scorer had been in a slump recently, but on this night...

"The Raptors... were up by as many as 16 points but fell, 94-87, last night thanks in no small part to the 22-point period Pierce assembled as a part of a 36-point bailout. ...It was, as Doc Rivers said, the kind of night the Celtics had been waiting for out of their captain. Every shot seemed like a big one in a quarter that saw Pierce hit seven of nine attempts and drill two from 3-point range.

"Rivers never had any doubt that Pierce would keep shooting. Mostly because Pierce guaranteed as much in one of their huddles.

"'That's why he's a great player,' Rivers said. 'That's why great players are great players. The average player could not have withstood that. The average player misses shots and he shuts off.

"'The great player misses shots and he starts thinking the odds are on his side.'"

("After playing just 28 minutes against Detroit Sunday, Pierce said he could have played for hours, especially now that he had found his rhythm.")

"Pierce scores 32 in Celtics 94-87 win over Raptors" --
"Their captain became a quarter-master," by Julian Benbow, Boston Globe, 11/11/08

"Paul Pierce For Two" - Photo posted to Flickr by TimDD
(Okay, that pic is from a Lakers game, not this one;
but how much better is one of Pierce blowing by Kobe?)

(...Just like ol' Mr. Hank Aaron, who tipped our hat to early in the year. In baseball terms it comes out as "Just Keep Swinging.")

1 comment:

Val said...

"You miss 100% of the shots you never take." - Wayne Gretzky

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky had to learn early on in his career that it was more valuable to his team if he shot the puck more than he tended to do. He had to overcome his more natural tendency to pass up good shots for himself in order to try to set up possible better shots for his teammates. Ever-the-perfectionist and team player, Gretzky tended to think "pass first, shoot later," eschewing (love that word) shots he didn't think had a high percentage chance of being successful. So, as a youngster playing the game, he had to force himself to shoot more than he felt comfortable with and it was a discipline he had to continue to impose on himself throughout his career. Success in anything is tied to finding the proper balance in managing disparate elements into their most effective combination. And that perfect balance point is constantly shifting. You can be too much of an individualist. You can also be too much of a team player.