• Finalizado
    FINAL
    2015-09-12
    Argentina 71
    Venezuela 76
  • Finalizado
    BRONCE
    2015-09-12
    Mexico 86
    Canada 87
  • Finalizado
    SEMIFINAL
    2015-09-11
    Argentina 78
    Mexico 70
  • Finalizado
    SEMIFINAL
    2015-09-11
    Canada 78
    Venezuela 79
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-09
    Mexico 95
    Argentina 83
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-09
    Uruguay 69
    Puerto Rico 80
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-09
    Dominicana 103
    Canada 120
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-09
    Panama 62
    Venezuela 75
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-08
    Mexico 73
    Canada 94
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-08
    Panama 71
    Puerto Rico 78
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-08
    Venezuela 75
    Uruguay 77
  • Finalizado
    Ronda 2
    2015-09-08
    Argentina 92
    Dominicana 84

The Expert: steals statistics in Lega Basket Serie A

Marco Sodini, assistant coach and former Virtus Bologna, tells us about defensive systems and their influence in the high steals-per-game average in Italian Lega Basket.
The Italian League, throughout its history, has been affected in a positive manner by great coaches, great game teachers (Giancarlo Primo, Dan Peterson, and most recently Ettore Messina, Simone Pianigiani, Luca Banchi) that undoubtedly left an imprint in the way of playing of all teams. If, in attack, there were periods in which the wide-open game was favored, and others in which the control of the pace of play was the norm, in defense, speaking coherently, the teachings of both individual and team defense were suitable.

The keyword for defense in the current Italian meaning is: SYSTEM. Each top-level team has a complex organization with clear rules that tend to make every player on the field knowing what else to do, knowing what their responsibilities are, and as a result, there is no excuse to hide respecting to a given game situation. This has resulted in increased attention to their responsibilities by all players, either they have normal capabilities or those who have top talent.

This aspect of building defense systems has been even more important in recent years, with rising number of foreign players on the league from different realities, different technical schools and different educational experiences. After an initial difficulty in learning, they open instead a new opportunity for improving their own way of playing and different players, by participating in a system with well defined team rules have then improved their individual performance, making a decisive qualitative leap.

Emblematic in that sense has been Shaun Stonerook, a player with a very high basketball IQ that took advantage of a system who became the defensive guide of his own team, drove the pace and took advantage of the technical aggressiveness of his teammates to be always present where an opposite player finished a cut or where a forced shoot became a rebound.

Another player who has profited from the "Italian" system has indeed been Emanuel Ginobili, coached by Ettore Messina at Virtus Bologna (Ed note: my former team). The decision that the coach asked him to denying the opposite players passing lanes and prevent them from playing in preferred areas, coupled with the constant pressure on the player with the ball, allowed the talent of Bahia Blanca exponentially increase the number of balls stolen transformed in counterattacks. Obviously, serving the system, was a player with immense talent that later would become an absolute star in San Antonio, but his dedication and willingness to give importance to the defense system has certainly been a contribution to its immediate burst into a reality so different as the NBA, where one on one situations in isolation are prevalent compared to the European game.

In conclusion, in order to read a statistic like steals in the Italian Lega, we must take into account that the construction of a defensive team that has strict rules and wipes out excuses from players has determined the game also in the defense half from great offensive players of great talent or intelligence, that realizing the advantages that each individual has, they put in the service of his teammates, raising the efficiency level of their game and in some cases masking gaps in his own offensive technical background.

Live example of this was Riccardo Pittis. In the middle of his career, and after a series of physical problems, he found it difficult to make long distance shots with percentages below 30% on three-pointers, however due to their own ability to retrieve balls and defend like nobody (in fact it is the highest thief Italian Lega history with 1,811 steals, 2.8 career average) remained in the field in the best teams almost always. For something under his belt has two Euroleague titles, two Korac Cups, 1 Intercontinental Cup, 2 Saporta Cups and 7 Serie A titles.
Marco Sodini (marcosodini@mac.com)

Lecturas: 453 - 2014-10-29