There’s a notion that the smartest players on the court are those who know their own playbook (as well as their foes’) from cover to cover. This knowledge, coupled with their inherent expertise at the game, makes them almost an unstoppable force. All of this is true. But there’s another brand of basketball intelligence, according to Duncan Robinson of the Miami Heat. And this is exemplified by his teammate Kyle Lowry and Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul.
Robinson shared his observations on Lowry, particularly on how the guard literally takes every possession seriously. Lowry believes in the adage that every point counts. And it would be best if you got them by any means necessary.
“Kyle is what we call unbelievable at next play speed. You’ll see it throughout the course of his career. As soon as there’s a dead ball, he’s running to the referee trying to get the ball, trying to pitch it out. He’s trying to take advantage of those relief baskets throughout the course of the game. Obviously, in the regular season they happen more frequently because there’s a little bit less of urgency. In a playoff game, if you can get six, eight, 10 relief points throughout a game, it is huge. It makes such a difference in the game because points are so hard to come by.Duncan Robinson, via Duncan Robinson Podcast
Speaking on Chris Paul, Robinson described how the Point God influences calls to his own advantage. Apart from this, the 11-time All-Star has a hyperawareness of the game, enabling him to be in control at all times.
“Chris is just great at understanding when it’s a bonus situation. And manipulating a whistle in the variety of ways that he does it: sweep throughs, rip throughs, stopping behind screens, having his defender run into him. He’s so creative in those types of settings. As a result, often times in games, once again particularly in playoff games, if you get to the free-throw line, you control the pace of the game. You’re getting free points, you’re stopping the game, you’re putting other players, other teams in foul trouble, and you’re getting to the bonus faster.”Duncan Robinson, via Duncan Robinson Podcast
Players always say that what separates the good ones from the elite is the latter’s immense attention to detail. That could refer to the playbook or the mere fundamentals. For Lowry and Paul, it means everything on the basketball hardwood.