After a great NBA Finals series, I thought about how our players might try to learn a thing or two from the pros. Note, the keyword here is LEARN. I am not making unrealistic comparison, but there are certain things we see on TV that our team can realistically learn.
First off is San Antonio's teamwork. They truly play like a team and everyone knows what their role is, and just execute that role to perfection.
Second is Miami's swamp defense. They don't always do it, but when their back is against the wall and they turn up the defensive intensity, the defensive pressure is downright scary, and they generate a lot of easy points from those fast breaks, which TJohn and RayD can both be good finishers for us.
Now to the individual players:
A.J. Hammons: this one is easy, model your game after Roy Hibbert. Hammons should watch and study the entire Heat-Pacers series and see how Hibbert protected the rim on one end and caused havoc on the offensive end when no defender can combat his height.
Sterling Carter - He is a three-point shooter and claims that his strength is actually his defense. So watch the first five games of the Heat-Spurs series and see how Danny Green perfected the job.
Ronnie Johnson - Ronnie's strength is his quickness and being two frames ahead of everyone in seeing the game, and his weakness is his shooting. Sounds like a Rondo to me. Ronnie can learn from Rondo's toughness and superb defense, while working to make his shot at least respectable that it is no longer a liability.
Terone Johnson - At this stage, TJohn can shoot the 3 but is not a reliable threat, although he can be strong and take it to the hoops. That's what reminds me of the Dwayne Wade of Game 4 in the Finals. Wade has his Euro-step while TJohn has his tear-drop floater. Wade is not reliable on his long ball, but he can still be aggressive to the hoops, rebound and block well for a guard.
Raphael Davis - I think RayD can watch Kwahi Leonard and see how he developed his game. Coming into the league, Leonard wasn't really a 3-pt shooter, but he pretty much just drilled himself so that he can be solid from the corner 3s, and now he expanded to shooting the 3s from the wings too. RayD's game is actually more a scorer like Wade, taking it to the hoops aggressively, but the part I'd like to see him work on is the corner 3s and/or wing 3s. This will come handy with Hammons demanding the attention in the middle.
Donnie Hale / Travis Carroll - When he is not rushing his shot, Hale has a nice lefty jumper. Same for Carroll who has shown flashes of a nice 15-footer as a frosh. They can both model their game after Udonis Haslem. Haslem is almost automatic with that baseline jumper. In the last two rounds, when the Heat finds Haslem and he is knocking down that baseline jumper, the Heat is tough to beat. Donnie and Carroll need to find their spot and be rock solid there.
Kendall Stephens - I haven't watched him play, but from what I've heard, he's a skinny guy with long arms and a beautiful stroke. Sounds like Kevin Durant to me. Of course I am not saying Stephens is the second-coming of Durant, but Stephens could model his game after Durant. Get (healthy and get) stronger!
Basil Smotherman - I haven't seen Basil either. From what I gather he has long arms, very athletic, and has a nice lefty jumper. If he can develop a reliable 3-pt shot he can be Shane Battier, who can guard anyone from 2 (Kobe) to 4 (Duncan, who was defended by Battier when he missed the potential game-tying shot). Or, he could be our bigger version of Oladipo, using his superb athleticism to play smothering defense.
Bryson Scott - I haven't seen Bryson play, but from what I've heard, he's a shut-down defender, so I say he can watch Tony Allen. Watch how Allen and Gasol complement each other to make Memphis' defense top of the league that catapulted Gasol into DPOY. Bryson can do the same with Hammons.
Jay Simpson - He can watch Boris Diaw when he was in Phoenix. Today's Diaw is big enough to guard Lebron James and forces him to difficult shots, which is what Simpson should learn too. Diaw was also versatile enough that he can play the 5 and 4 and still has guard skills like passing and shooting. I remember Diaw carrying my fantasy team back then b/c he's classified as a Center who gives me 4 assists a game, along with some threes in addition to points and rebounds. That versatility sounds like Simpson. Get in shape!
The only one I leave out are Erick Peck. I have not seen Peck play and haven't heard enough about his game to get a good idea. But if he's a hard-working undersized front-court player, then name that jumps out to me is Chuck Hayes, who sometimes played center even though he's only 6-6. He's not the farthest thing from flashy, but you know he will give you his best and is serviceable.
In conclusion, I understand analogies are never perfect, and there are many areas in which the comparison break down. But for certain aspect of their game, it might help to observe and learn a thing or two from the pros who are doing it well enough to make a good living off it.