The Basketball Podcast: EP73 Jay Triano on Special Situations

RELEASE DATE : 18/12/2019

In this week’s coaching conversation, former two-time NBA head coach Jay Triano joins The Basketball Podcast to discuss special situations. Triano is currently the lead assistant coach of the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He previously served as the head coach of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and the interim head coach of the Phoenix Suns. A former Canadian men’s national team player who competed in two Olympics, he also had two stints as head coach of the national team.

Jay Triano has an extensive history with the sport of basketball, encompassing everything from a player to a head coach to an assistant coach. Triano was selected in the 1981 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers but never ended up playing in the NBA. Instead, he chose to compete for Canada while he went on to win a gold medal in 1983 in Edmonton. After playing two seasons of professional basketball in Mexico and one in Turkey,

Triano settled down with a six-year assistant coaching position for the Toronto Raptors. He became the team’s head coach in 2008 and served in that role for four seasons. Triano has since been an NBA assistant coach and the head coach of Team Canada. His extensive history with the sport of basketball has left him with much wisdom and experience that he uses to shape the lives of young adults both in his home country and in the United States of America.

Please check out Jay Triano’s book called Open Look: Canadian Basketball and Me

Learn more about special situations here:

Special Situation Basketball Plays

Jay Triano

Jay Triano Quotes:

“I think it’s sometimes fun to not always show a video of your team . . so maybe there’s a situation from a game the night before . . let’s just pull up that clip and talk about what we would do in that situation.”

“[Playing 5v5 end of game scenarios] is a great way to develop your staff, it’s a great way to put pressure on yourself to make decisions late in the game . . “

“With shoot-arounds and the required rest a lot of teams have . . non-stressful days can be used to teach end of game situations . . it’s not going to be a lot of up and down, it’s not going to be a lot of wear and tear on your body . . we’re still going to accomplish something today, your mind’s got to be ready . . “

“We talk about all that but we don’t teach . . we don’t teach how to foul . . Once we describe our strategy, as coaches, we need to get out there and practice it.”

“In your repertoire as a coach you need to have a strategy at the end [of games] . . a handful of plays . . close games notoriously come down to three different side out of bounds plays that you’re going to need.”

“When do we want to take shots? I think another big thing in the NBA in special situations is when do you shoot to maximize your possessions?”

“As coaches we have to keep evolving with the analytics. We have to keep evolving with the game.”

“How much you involve your [assistant] coaches is how much you are going to get out of them . . It can still be all . . your ideas, your thoughts, your philosophy . . but teach the young coaches how to do that. Give them ownership in it.”

[On the roles of assistant coaches] “We all have different players that we watch individual video with . . we have an offensive scout and a defensive scout, we divide those up and I think it just keeps everybody involved.”

“How are you going to throw the team off balance? . . I’ve seen where teams have played zone . . teams have trapped the ball to take it out of the . . star player’s hands . . we are going to switch everything . . even off the ball.”

“I don’t mind diagramming a play they haven’t practiced but I think the more you can keep it similar to something or a set you’re familiar with, the easier and the faster you can get into it in your timeout.”

“Being involved in social media . . has helped me as a coach.”

[On connecting with players] “Be compassionate about them and their lives outside of basketball . . Care about . . who they are and what they’re going through.”

“They, and we, are only in this business because of how competitive we are, we want to win games. We want to be successful because if we’re successful that means we get to continue doing what we’re doing.”

“How can I help this guy become successful? Well, relate to him number one. Number two, find a way to help him be as competitive as possible.”

Jay Triano Selected Links from the Podcast:

Phoenix Suns

Toronto Raptors

Portland Trailblazers

Terry Stotts

Russell Westbrook

James Harden

Charlotte Hornets

Brad Stevens

Robin Lopez

Damian Lillard

Open Look: Canadian Basketball and Me

Mike Grange

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Jay Triano Breakdown:

1:00 – The “Last Second Play”
4:00 – Sharing the Game
6:00 – Developing Awareness of his Players
8:00 – Understanding Late Game Situations
10:00 – Developing and Exploring
11:00 – Knowing What to Practice
13:00 – Using a Late Game Foul
17:00 – How to Foul
22:00 – One Dribble per Second
23:00 – Conservative Defense
25:00 – Using Analytics to Form Strategies
28:00 – Analytics in NBA Regular Season and Playoffs
33:00 – Best Strategies for Managing a Staff
35:00 – Being a Head Coach
38:00 – Defensive Side Out of Bounds
40:00 – Diagram Plays
43:00 – Ways to Connect to his Players
46:00 – Open Look Book
48:00 – Conclusion

Jay Triano:


Please check out Jay Triano’s book called Open Look: Canadian Basketball and Me

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