Generally speaking, if an NBA coach looked down the bench and saw a player with his face buried in a tablet during a game, the coach would be furious. But in the case of the Portland Trail Blazers and coach Terry Stotts, such behavior is actually encouraged.
According to Ben Golliver at Blazers Edge, Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and LaMarcus Aldridge are among the Blazers who use tablets to review game tape while on the bench, often times even watching plays from earlier in the very game they’re playing.
“This video feedback comes almost in real time,” Golliver writes. “Starters are able to watch sequences from their first shift when they check out for the first time, minimizing the delay from action to correction. What might once have been a ‘halftime adjustment’ can now take place before a player checks back in during the second quarter.”
You ask yourself, ‘Did I rush it? I felt like I rushed it.’ (The video can tell me) when I’m in that same situation.
-- Wesley Matthews
The assistance the technology provides isn’t lost on the players, either.
"It does (help) because you get to see it (again), and in the game everything happens so fast," Matthews told Blazers Edge. "You ask yourself, ‘Did I rush it? I felt like I rushed it.’ (The video can tell me) when I’m in that same situation — off a flare screen, when Nic (Batum) passes over the top — (if) I have more time to get the shot off or (if) I have to shoot it at that speed again. Or, could I have driven it?"
The concept of putting playbooks on tablets isn’t exactly new in the sports world, but whereas the NFL prohibits in-game use of the technology — players can be and have been fined for even tweeting in-game — the NBA has no problem with it, so long as the video players are watching isn’t live.
"I get double-teamed a lot so I just have them put my double teams on there," Aldridge told the site. "I want to see how they’re double-teaming me, where they are coming from. Of course (it helps). If I’m getting double-teamed and I can see how they’re doing it. That helps me and all my teammates."
Clearly the Blazers are doing something right this season, what with their 13-2 start that currently includes an 11-game winning streak. And if the use of this method to make in-game adjustments from the bench has even the slightest bit to do with it, you can bet the rest of the league will be soon to follow.
Now, for some links:
— The Vancouver Canucks are sending a special surprise from Jason Garrison to a little girl who had a puck taken from her at a game.