True legend of the University of Michigan with his two NCAA finals (2013 and 2018), John Beilein had clearly not made the transition to the NBA. On the Cleveland bench, he had been unable to impose his ideas, his methods and his speech on the Cavaliers.
So much so that, now 69, after his departure during the season, it was thought that his career would end at these 54 matches in the league. But last summer he bounced back with an assistant role in Detroit.
Behind his title of “senior advisor on player development”, the former coach was there to help young people progress. Without really knowing how he was going to do it.
“I didn’t know what to expect other than to do my best to support Dwane Casey and his staff”he tells the Detroit Press. “I was in the unknown, until we started talking about it. I talk to the players or to Casey to reinforce certain things. And I want to be on the cutting edge of what’s happening in basketball, which is new in the NBA. I speak little, I watch a lot of videos. »
The sense of detail to make up for the lack of time to work
John Beilein thus works in the shadows. He is several rows behind the players and the coach during matches, taking notes and giving them to Dwane Casey at half-time. After the meetings, he continues with e-mails and texts sent to the coach and the staff.
Among his missions, he makes an inventory of each shot taken by the players, match after match. He then studies the results, makes statistics and thus tries to help the players progress.
“There are players who, depending on their way of shooting, shoot at 45 or 20%”analyzes the former Michigan. “I keep that in mind. There is also depending on the dribble, whether it is left hand or right hand, the shooting percentage that changes. These are statistics, a short dribble or a long dribble for example, which are probably not in the databases. It’s not in the data, but I can get it and that’s how we rectify things. »
These details end up counting over the months. Because the moments to really work and correct yourself are rare in an NBA season. John Beilein knows he can speed things up that way.
“We have so little time between matches to work and refine the qualities of 20-year-old players, when it is so necessary. We can’t do it during matches obviously. In the NCAA, we play on Saturday, we have Sunday to rest and Monday and Tuesday to train, before a new game on Wednesday. So we have two training sessions and we can make great progress in a month. In the NBA, you can have two practices in a month…”
More comfortable in this shadow role
The Pistons need to improve at 3-pts as they are up to 32% this season, the second worst percentage in the league. Nevertheless, it has been better for a month.
“He has a big influence on the shoot, especially on the supports”confirms Killian Hayes. “He’s always on my back, so that I have the right support when I shoot, that I’m well prepared. If I don’t do it in a match, he tells me about it immediately afterwards and we work on it the next day. It’s a daily routine. He gives me advice, shows me pictures so that I can improve. He always tells me that he believes in me, he gives me confidence. »
While his physical training had not been accepted by the Cavaliers, and he can no longer bear the idea of losing, John Beilein seems more comfortable, even more peaceful, in this less exposed role.
“He is so positive”assures Dwane Casey. “When I get angry, he tells me that we are progressing, that we are improving even if it is not visible. He’s an excellent teacher, a well of science, who’s been doing this fundamentals work for quite a long time. »
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|Isaiah Stewart II||68||25.7||51.2||24.3||70.1||3.1||5.5||8.6||1.1||1.2||0.3||1.1||3.0||8.2|
|Derrick Walton, Jr.||3||36.1||23.1||23.1||100.0||0.7||2.7||3.3||7.0||3.7||2.3||1.3||2.7||6.3|