AS a coach I’ve never been one to make excuses. Teams I’ve coached haven’t been in that business either.
If you let it creep into your mentality, it can infect your entire group pretty quickly. It’s why coaches, and leaders, are eternally vigilant in guarding against it.
Sometimes, however, you can be so wary of not making excuses you can become blinded to certain realities that only become apparent when you sit back and really look at things.
It’s hard to do that in post-game press conferences when emotions are still fresh – especially after a loss. Being back at home this week has given me the opportunity to really look at where we’re at.
Obviously all coaches would love to be 6-0 but when I looked at this opening block of the season, I thought 3-3 was a reasonable expectation. In reality, we’re one possession short of that.
This week we’ve got Melbourne at home – again. They’re the reigning champions and they’re legit. They won the championship for a reason and they’ve got the bulk of that squad back.
We play them three times in the opening month. We’ve got Perth twice in the first month. We’ve played Sydney who are, on paper, the best team in the league so you’ve got keep things in perspective at times.
We’ve played legitimate championship teams early in the season and, particularly when it comes to Melbourne, we’ve come close so we’re confident we can get them this week.
We are the best second-half team in the league. I’m so excited because if we put more than half a game of basketball together we’re going to be very, very good.
All that said, I don’t want that to be the story of our season. While you need to be awake to certain realities you can’t ignore others. The glaringly obvious one for us is our starts.
It’s what everyone out there is talking about but the only way to stop that talk is to fix it. For three games in a row we’ve had really poor starts and there’s no excusing that.
It’s a fact and I’d be pretty stupid as a coach is I didn’t make changes. They don’t always need to be wholesale changes. You can be tempted to do that at times but it’s very easy to also throw out what’s working in the process.
We’re giving up 30 points in the first quarter so we need to look at who our best defensive players are to address that issue. It’s not ‘benching’ players like some people will no doubt look at, it’s about finding what our best combinations are.
Right now we’re a work in progress with eight new players, but there’s no question our guys still believe in themselves and that we can be a playoff team.
At the end of the day though, that’s just talk. We need some action and we need get these two games this week on our floor to prove something to ourselves and our fans.