This is the part of the season where I think normal NBA fans don’t care much about, training camp. Once the Finals are over, you would wait for at least three months for the season ahead. You won’t see full training camps on NBA TV. You’d only see their “media days” and interviews and maybe some excerpts of practice. However, for me, this is a key factor for every team’s success. Sure, you can talk about personnel- coaches and players, but training camp is where team chemistry and development starts.
I am a big fan of playing games like NBA 2K or even NBA Live (when it was still famous). There’s always game mode where you will take full control of your team by acting like a GM. You’ll schedule their team events, press events, days off, and of course, practice. The first part of the whole game mode is the training camp and once you’ve done well on developing your players’ skills, you’ll see their player ratings go up even for a little and it certainly helps.
With the lack of training camp last season due to the infamous lockout, most teams (especially with the teams with some newly acquired players) suffered. They suffered because they simply look like they lack team chemistry in the playing court, whether in running their offensive sets or communicating on defense. With that said, some teams with a great set of players suddenly look mediocre in the rankings and as a fan, you would often wonder why even if they are very capable of achieving a higher place in the rankings.
One great example is the defending champs, Miami Heat. In their first season with the Big Three (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh), you could see that they simply look that they aren’t used to playing with each other yet. Plus, you add up all the pressure for this team to succeed right away, it eventually led them to their ugly 9-8 start at the regular season. They simply looked lost, confused especially with their doldrums on the offensive end. But I got to give a big kudos to them for figuring it all out and eventually won the coveted title.
With that aside, I hate it when teams and their fan bases become very confident that they’ll win a title right away by acquiring big time players via trade or free agency. Yes, there is a possibility for that to happen eventually but of course you need to build chemistry via training camp.
Defense and a great offense may win you championships, but it takes time, chemistry, and development to build on that.