Good Defense, Better Offense

While watching the NBA game last month, a commentator described a play with the words, ” good offense but better defense.” That got me thinking.

With the high-caliber play NBA players are displaying, you never know who will win the game. It seems like NBA players have reached a level of competitiveness that is out of this world.

Growing up I’ve always heard the phrase defense wins games. May not be true all the time now. If you look at superstars like Steph Curry or Jayson Tatum – there will be sequences of play where the defense is so tight yet they are still able to score. I am sure that the practice to make that happen is tremendous.

To be a good offensive player, you need more than skills. You need an upgrade in speed, motion movement, shooting, and reflex. When KD played the Celtics, he relied on his skills but the Celtic’s defense was better than KD’s offense. That got them swept by the Celtics.

Kevin Durant was contained by Celtic’s defense leading to a 4 game sweep of the first round

In the finals, Celtic’s defense could not contain Steph Curry. His stats were incredible except for one game where he was contained yet the Warriors still found a way to win the game. Steph Curry was awarded the 2022 Finals MVP because of his performance.

Curry averaged 31.2 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in the finals. He scored 43 points in Game 4 vs the Boston Celtics.

It’s hard writing this post as a die-hard Celtic fan but I did learn something from that statement “good defense, better offense.” In the world we live in today, excellence in what we do is entry-level. If you are not excellent – then you are not going to create value for people. The marketplace has never been this competitive. Think of any product in the world, and somebody has already produced and made something out of it. The way to stand out is to make yours a little different from the rest. It requires better offense.

In leadership – the same thing applies. With the resources available about leadership out there, one tends to wonder why some stand out from the others. While others have settled to old ways of leadership (good defense), others decide to cultivate their leadership by rethinking models and frameworks to get them ahead of the game. Agility, adaptability, innovation, resourcefulness, and courage are all requirements for a better offense. When the pandemic hit – our defenses were challenged. Some chose to remain the same and let the challenges of the pandemic overwhelm them while others planned for a better offense by rethinking strategies and leadership action.

Celtics played great basketball this season. The defense of the team played a major factor in their success yet in the end the Golden State Warriors also played great defense and had a better offense. Guess I just have to wait until next year as the Celtics work on both their defense and offense.

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