It can be hard being a role player in the NBA. Sometimes you are called upon, and sometimes you aren’t.
I was doing a workout after practice with a young player that was in his second full year out of the G-League. The player wasn’t right that day, and you could tell something was bothering him.
“What’s up?” I asked, “you don’t seem yourself”
“I’m just frustrated. I should be playing more.”
These are tough positions to be in as a skills coach. On the one hand you have to support the organization and your head coach. And on the other hand, a player is opening up to you and you can’t leave them hanging either.
“It’s tough” I said, making sure not to agree with him. “But I’ll bet you, two years ago when you were in the G-League, you said to yourself that if you ever made it to the NBA you’d never complain about playing time.”
“That’s the truth.” At that moment his body language changed. He seemed to remember how fortunate he was to being doing what he was doing for living.
“Well, since we don’t really control how much someone else wants to play you, what do you say we go back to work and get better so one day they won’t have a choice?”
That was all it took.
Sometimes we can get overwhelmed with some of stuff that is out of our control and we forget that this is a game. Sure, we are competitive and want to beat people, and sometimes its our job. But if it is your job to play or coach basketball, just keep in mind, you have already won.