With the news of Juwan Howard’s hire, the discussion has centered around the differences between college and NBA coaching. While there’s far more to the adjustment than the on-court differences — recruiting, alumni relations and scheduling to start — there are critical schematic differences between the two levels.
Here’s a conversation with our resident X’s and O’s expert, Gibson Pyper, about how the differences between the professional and college game could impact Howard’s transition, what sort of offensive schemes to expect and much more.
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Howard was known as the defensive coordinator in Miami. What were the defining traits of Miami’s defense over the last few seasons?
Miami’s defense is always disciplined and typically had a top 10 finish in defensive efficiency (per Synergy Sports). Their overall defense has always been excellent no matter their record and is based on not giving up any easy shots. Easy shots to the Heat meant any open, uncontested shot no matter the shot type. This year they switched from man to zone quite a bit to throw in a changeup for different teams and in different situations.
From a schematic standpoint, what are the most significant changes and adjustments Howard will have to make coaching defense in college versus the professional ranks?
The most significant changes are going to be length and athleticism of players, 30-second shot clock and just the overall pace of the game. NBA games are typically high possession games with a faster, free-flowing game.